Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/679

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ture of 200 prisoners, 3,000 horses and mules and as many negroes. Possibly, if these numbers were exaggerated, it would be excusable under the circumstances.

Lee, not being able to reach Starkville in time to participate in this affair, returned to give his attention to Sherman, who had been engaged in the labor of devastation at Meridian and vicinity. It can hardly be better described than in Sherman's own words: "For five days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will in that work of destruction with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars, and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work well done. Meridian, with its depots, storehouses, arsenals, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments, no longer exists." At the same time detachments destroyed sixty miles of railroad on the north and east, burning ties and twisting iron, and about the same amount of road on the south and west. All bridges and trestle-work in this region were burned and locomotives and cars destroyed. On the 20th, Sherman, remembering that he had an appointment with Banks at Vicksburg, abandoned his plan of going on to Selma, not to mention the idea of Striking at Mobile, and started his army back toward Vicksburg. Near Sharon, Starke’s brigade drove in his foraging parties, Pinson’s regiment being particularly distinguished, captured twenty wagons and killed and captured about 200 of the enemy, the last of whom recrossed the Big Black on March 4th.

In his report of the operations during this campaign, Gen. Wirt Adams described a number of gallant performances by his men, among which was the spirited fighting of Colonel Wood's regiment and Stockdale’s battalion, between Baker’s creek and Edwards, against the enemy's advance, which they held in check for several hours. Adams’ 800 men held the Federal column in check here nearly two days, Stockdale and his men being again conspicuous for valor on the second day, well sustained by Griffith and his regiment. While Adams was thus