rear with my division, letting the baggage train all preceded me on the march, leaving my division to bring up the rear. At the camp at Elm Springs the same order was continued, which we continued to do with but little disturbance. On our approach near Bentonville our side scouts discovered an occasional Federal spy, a few of whom we captured. In passing through Bentonville 3 of our men came upon 11 Federals. Our men immediately ordered to surrender, which they did without firing a gun, and were brought into our camp.
On the morning of the 7th I was ordered to leave the baggage at camp, near Camp Stephens, and go with my artillery and men and take a position at the cross-roads, northeast from Camp Stephens. On my arrival at the position above named two I found two regiments of the Arkansas troops there to assist men in defending the point, to wit, Colonel Dawson's regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, and Colonel King's regiment of infantry; also Major Crump came up with his battalion of cavalry soon after we got to this point.
Learning there had been some Federal scouts seen east of us, I sent Major Crump, with 100 mounted men, to scout in an easterly direction. In a few hours returned, having come upon several hundred of the enemy's cavalry. Believing it was unsafe for the, to attack, they immediately countermarched, and were pursued by the enemy some distance. Our men came in double-quick time, reporting the enemy approaching. All hands were now looking out, eager for the approach of the enemy; every man to his post, gun primed, and ready. We were not kept waiting long. Soon the enemy's cavalry appeared about 600 or 700 yards distant, but seemed cautions about approaching nearer. Soon they were joined by some infantry, when they commenced maneuvering to flank us. As soon as we discovered this move we let loose the artillery upon them. They immediately retreated behind a fence and commenced throwing shell at us. After firing a few rounds on each side the enemy retreated out of sight. On examination we found our firing had the effect of killing 2, mortally wounding another, and crippling 1 horse.
All was quiet during the night, every man laying upon his arms in position of battle all night. About daylight I dispatched a messenger to General Price, informing him of our strength and situation. Before the return of my messenger I received a message from Colonel Wood, General Price's aide, to bring the baggage up to the army. I consequently put the train immediately on the road, protecting it by dividing my command front and rear, with side scouts on the east. We proceeded in this way, every man buoyant with the prospect of participating in the fight.
When within 1 mile of the battle ground on Saturday morning I met my messenger, bringing an order to return with the baggage to Elm Springs and there await further orders, unless hard pressed by the enemy, in which event I was authorized to continue the march south.
On Sunday at 12 o'clock my pickets were driven in by the enemy. I put the train in motion on the Walnut Grove road, and, in order to protect the baggage in getting out, directed Major Crump, with the cavalry, to move back on the road and skirmish with the enemy, which he did effectually, driving them beyond Bentonville in double-quick. After turning the baggage over I received an order for the ammunition wagons to be sent up. They were accordingly started, with Lieutenant-Colonel Prist and 100 men to guard it. After proceeding some distance difficulties began to present themselves. They accordingly turned back. After furnish back they were run into by a lot of Federals. Our men