munication I have been actively employed with the vessels under my command in protecting the troops and transports in this river.
On the 4th instant the fleet left Crockett's Bluff and proceeded up the river. Passing Adams' Bluff we were fired upon by a guerrilla band from the east bank of the river. We returned their shot with a shell. At this place I caused the destruction of a ferry-boat. That night we lay at anchor in the river. At daylight next morning we got under way again, and at 8.30 anchored off the town of Aberdeen. Here Colonel Fitch bivouacked his men. At 6.30 p. m. a guerrilla band from shore fired at the Lexington, instantly killing Chief Engineer Joseph Huber, and wounding severely Fritz Repo, fireman. I immediately caused the woods to be well scoured with grape, canister, and shell. The fatal shot struck Mr. Huber on the right side of his back and came out from his right breast, severing in its passage the aorta.
On Sunday, the 6th instant, Colonel Fitch, with 2,000 men, went out on a reconnaissance in force toward Devall's Bluff. At about 9 o'clock in the morning his advance, consisting of about 200 men of the Twenty-fourth Indiana Regiment, came up with and completely routed a body of the enemy's cavalry, consisting, by their muster roll, of 400 men. The enemy lost, by his own statement, 84 in killed and wounded. A flag of truce was sent in, asking minutes were allowed them to gather up the dead and carry them off the field. At the expiration of that time our forces again moved on, but after a pursuit of 3 miles returned to Aberdeen. The loss on our side was 1 killed and 21 wounded, most of them slightly. Colonel Fitch brought in 6 prisoners, among them 1 lieutenant.
On the evening of the 7th the troops left again to make a feint toward Devall's Bluff, the Lexington and transports going up the river to meet them at or just below the bar at Clarendon. On arriving there I found that the cane and underbrush were so thick that it would be impossible to cut a road to the military road from Little Rock to Clarendon, and therefore concluded to pass above the bar. Although there was less water upon it than the Lexington was drawing, I did do.
The troops came in at daylight, having surprised and routed a cavalry camp under the command of Colonel Shaler. In the evening, about dark, the colonel had his men ready for a march toward a place called Cotton Plant, on the Cache River, where report places a portion of General Curtis' army. At this time a steamer arrived from Memphis, bringing dispatches from General Grant, the tenor of which was that no re-enforcements could be sent here. As it is impossible for either gunboats or heavy-draught transports too ascend the river any farther than Clarendon, and the force that he has at his command is much too small to cope with the enemy at Devall's bluff, the colonel decided to return to Saint Charles, there await until the 10th the arrival of a messenger that he had dispatched to General Curtis, and if he did not by that time hear from him to proceed to Memphis. As the steamer that came down yesterday was fired at only 35 miles below Memphis I consider that I will be acting as you wish by convoying the transports to that place.
Last evening the fleet anchored at Rock Roco. At daylight this morning we got under way, and proceeded down the river until 10 a. m., when we were arrived detained a couple of hours by one of the transports getting aground. Coming down the river I met the Conestoga, Lieutenant Blodgett commanding, who delivered your dispatches to me. We