rebel troops said to be located somewhere in the swamp between Little River and the prairie 12 miles west, on or near a plank road extending across said swamp. Upon arriving at Little River, while examining the bridge across the same, we discovered men running into the swamp from a house on the other side. Our troops hurried over and soon captured them. At this point our guide informed me that he had just received intelligence that 4 miles up a ridge on the west side of said river there was a camp of some 30 or 40 rebels. I ordered the force under my command to scour the ridge, but found no encampment. We then proceeded on the plank road to New River, a distance of 4 miles, to a toll-house, where we discovered some 15 or 20 soldiers making their escape on the plank road, having thrown the plank off the bridge before they left, but commenced firing on our troops as soon as we hove in sight, which was briskly returned, though without much effect on either side. Our troops soon repaired the bridge and passed on.
Here, to my great chargin, I found that our guide had remained at Little River. Our troops, eager for the fray, pressed on, but found the bridge torn up in many places over sluice-ways, which they continued to repair. being apprehensive that in the eagerness of the pursuit we might get into an ambush I ordered a portion of Captain Nelson's company to dismount and proceed on foot in advance of the column. They had not proceed far before they were fired upon by persons concealed in the swamp on both sides of the road, soon wounding 4 of our men - 2 mortally. I ordered forward more dismounted men, and could see no alternative but to charge the perfectly-concealed foe, which desperate charge was led by Captain Nelson to my entire satisfaction, and had the desired effect to drive the enemy out of gun range. At this point we captured 2 horses.
The important question was now to be decided whether to return to camp or proceed. It being 4 o'clock p. m. and about 21 miles from camp, and 4 wounded men to bring in, without ambulances or surgeon, two of them, Matthias Cockerel, of Company K, and Amandus Tweedy, of Company A, mortally wounded, I called a council of Captains nelson, Hodge, and Koehler, and Lieutenant Hunting, and it was determined to return, on account of the lateness of the day and the ground being entirely impracticable for cavalry to operate on. Whereupon I dispatched a courier to camp to have the surgeon and an ambulances sent out to meet us. Our attention was now given to the wounded men, who were carried by the men, using blankets and surcingles for the purpose. About 9 p. m. the ambulances with the surgeon met us, and decided at once that the wounded men should not be moved farther till morning. The troops having been under constant fatigue all day, Captains Graham, Nelson, and myself, with some 10 or 12 men, remained. The other troops were sent to camp with 4 prisoners we had taken and 4 horses. Matthias Cockerel died of his wounds at 11 p. m. the 23rd, and Amandus Tweedy at 9 a. m. 24th.
The country after passing Little River, 14 miles from this point, is impracticable for cavalry troops to operate in at this season of the year unless they are supported by a dismounted force until the West or Grand Prairie is reached, as the only passage across the swamp is the aforesaid plank road. It is a single track, and the water on either side from one to many feet deep, and the rebels are represented to have many light canoes (some of which we saw), so that they can glide along the flanks of a force on the road (being masked by old vines that hide them from view), where a small force may from behind trees pour a very destructive fire on persons traveling on the plank without the