our march. We returned their fire by a part of our regiment, and sought to find a new route to return. Covered by the woods, and guided by the descending sun, I led the regiment northward until I reached the bayou we had marched around in the morning to outflank the enemy, and recognizing the position, went confidently around it and got within 1 mile of the starting-point of the morning, but was admonished to take a northerly direction by the continued sound of musketry between us and where our boats were left in the morning and by the heavy cannonading from our own gunboats. We marched northward in rear of the farms on Lucas Bend, a distance of about 3 miles, before returning to the river near sunset, exposed during the whole march to the shot and shell of our own gunboats, which happily did us no injury.
On reaching the river the fleet of gunboats and steamboats were all far in advance, steaming towards Cairo. We marched forward, greatly fatigued, with the prospect of a long night's march. Our wounded men were limping along, and all our horses were surrendered to them. The sun was setting. I met a settler, who had a frank, honest face, from whom I borrowed his horse, and mounted Adjutant Rust upon him to gallop forward, and if possible reach the steamer which was nearest us. The steamer was seen to be halting, floating back to Beckwith's Landing. The adjutant reached the steamer Chancellor, hailed, and was answered by General McClernand that he was halting with the steamer and the two gunboats to take all on board. We soon met you on the shore, happy in knowing you had bravely led the brigade and continued unwearied in securing its safety.
And now how shall I distinguish those of my own command who did nobly? It was our first action. We encountered great odds; the enemy in his fortified position, thee thunder of the heavy artillery from Columbus, the whizzing of rifled cannon; we had no guides. How could soldiers who had only volunteered a few days ago be expect to brave such odds? ut they did brave them. My thanks are due to Lieutenant-Colonel Harrington, to Major Wilson, and to Adjutant Rust, who nobly assisted in forming the line under the fire and rallying the troops and in covering the retreat; also to Captains Schmitt, Parke, Moore, Miles, Southward, Brooks, Merrill, and bozarth, and all the officers under their command; also to Sergeant Jansen, of Company A, and Fourth Sergeant McCormick, of Company B, whom I observed nobly doing their duty, Surg. E. H. Bowman was at his post, dressed the first wounded man, and was the last to leave his post. Happy am I that he is safe. Assistant Surgeon Barrell remained at home by my order to take care of the sick, but obeyed reluctantly. Quartermaster Sears solicited me to accompany the expedition, but as we took no train, I left him in command of the camp at home. Chaplain Rev. Dr. S. Y. McMasters accompanied the expedition, and was unwearied in consoling and dressing the wounded.
We lost 11 killed, 42 wounded, 28 missing, and 14 known to be prisoners. Among the mortally wounded was Lieutenant William Shipley, of Company A, from Quincy, a young man of rare merits. He had for some time been unwell, and was by me directed to remain in camp; but when the column marched he was at his post, radiant with smiles, and was in the battle from first to last, receiving his wound on the retreat within a mile of the boats.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
N. B. BUFORD,
Colonel Twenty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers.
Brigadier General JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Commanding First Brigade Illinois Volunteers.