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Water Valley & Coffeeville, Mississippi


Fifteen miles south of Oxford, Miss. Sabbath, Dec. 7th We rested in bivouac. The weather is beautiful and spring like, except the frosty nights.

Monday, 8th. Captain Thronton of our regiment was sent back to Water Valley to learn what he could about the enemy. He learned that we had pressed the enemy so hard that upon reaching Coffeeville they were obliged to stop and fight, or abandon their wagon train. Knowing that our cavalry was about thirty miles in advance of our infantry support, he chose to fight, and threw his whole force against us which resulted in our defeat as I have already stated. Our regiment lost 120 in killed, wounded and missing in the fight.

Tuesday, 9th. We moved five miles and camped on a plantation belonging to Mr. Jones.

Camp south of Oxford, Miss. Wednesday, Dec. 10th. Our baggage train reached us, which is quite a treat after being deprived of our tents so long. John Earley of Co. D who has been missing since the battle of Coffeevillle came into camp this morning all right bringing his rifle and revolver.

Thursday, 11th. I went out with a detail from Co. I for forage, but got but little. I received a letter from home. All well there. The infantry portion of this army is not in motion. General Logan’s division is camped near us tonight. The weather has been fine for a few days, but this evening it looks some like rain.

Friday, 12th. Last night we received orders to march at 8 A.M. this morning, at which time the column moved out on the Water Valley road, which led through a swamp for three miles, and delayed our train. Water Valley was reached at sundown and we are now camped one mile west of town. Sprinkling now.

Water Valley, Miss. Saturday, Dec. 13th. We laid here today, though we have not pitched our tents not knowing how long we will be here. Comrades Cross, Mowery, Thomas and Wood of the 93rd Ill. who are well acquainted in our company visited us. They are in General Boomers brigade, Quimbys division.

Coffeeville, Miss. 14th. Sabbath. We received orders last night to be ready to march at 7 this A.M. with three days rations and without baggage. We moved out on time on the Oakland and Water Valley road, and after marching some distance our regiment and the 4th Ill. cavalry took a circuitous route leading more to the right. The 3rd Mich. left the main road taking the Coffeeville road when they reached it. Just before sundown we reached this place, and found it occupied by a strong rebel picket. We drove them across a creek a mile south of town, where our advance pickets are stationed tonight. Our regiment is in bivouac about half a mile south of town. It has been rather cloudy all day and is quite warm and sultry this evening, and appears much like rain. A flag of truce came in tonight to Col. Mizner from the rebels.

Coffeeville, Miss. Monday, Dec. 15th. Our pickets are within a quarter to a half a mile of those of the rebels and occasionally exchange shots with us but little effect. Col’s Lee and Misner went down to the creek where our advance is posted, and where the rebels have destroyed a bridge. Col. Mizner ordered it rebuilt and Lt. Col. Herrick of our regiment detailed to superintend the job with our regiment and two companies of the 4th Ill. cavalry under his orders. Companies G and D of our regiment were sent dismounted across the river and dislodged the rebels from the opposite hill and held it. The remainder of his force worked on the bridge and completed it in two hours. Then he crossed with Co.A and pushed on with the other two companies. Rebels could be seen all the time and fell back as we advanced from one hill to another. It began raining about the time we left camp, and continued to rain hard most of the time till we got back. This was about 3 P.M. pretty thoroughly drenched. Although our advance has been within hollering distance of the rebels most of the day, but few shots were fired on account of the wet. I may as well say here what I have previously omitted. From the day we left Corinth Nov.4th I have been acting as orderly for the commanding officer of our regiment. My duties are to be with him in camp, on the march and in action, to bear his military orders to any place or person to whom he sees fit to send me. As he remains mounted in action where practicable, I do also. At the battle of Oxford the brush was so thick we were obliged to dismount and to go in with the men. I took my carbine and used it, which was the only time I had occasion to use a weapon on the enemy.

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