I disclaim any intention of stating that I passed Colonel Hovey or the infantry in line of battle. The principal part of the infantry may have been engaged in the battle before I reached the ground, but when I reached the scene of action no part of the opposing forces were engaged. When I first saw Colonel Hovey he was standing, with the infantry in groups, about 150 yards west of Hill's house. My command was the marching in column, and I saw no infantry line of battle. The cavalry under my command was then on the gallop, and continued to gallop down the Des Arc road, bounded on one side by a corn field and on the other by a forest. When we had proceeded thus about 400 yards I formed the cavalry in line of battle, placing the small rifled guns in the road and two companies of cavalry on their right and two on their left. About this time, and after we had fired several shots from the small guns, Colonel Hovey came up and threw out a small squad of skirmishers on the right and another on the left. The balance of the infantry remained in the rear of our line until the pursuit was abandoned.
In my former report I further stated that we galloped down the road into the woods, where we first discovered the enemy approaching, in the form of a V, instantly forming our line of battle, guns in battery in the center, one squadron of cavalry on the right and the other on the left, &c. On this Colonel Hovey makes two notes of comment:
First, he says the enemy was not approaching, but retreating, when Colonel Wood arrived. Second, that no line of battle was formed by the cavalry at this time.
I must respectfully decline to embody either of these statement in my report as corrections thereof, insisting, as I do, that the enemy was advancing and that the cavalry did form a line of battle, as stated in my original report.
In my original report I also stated as follows:
As the enemy gave way before this terrific fire we followed them closely, giving them no respite, for about 2 miles, sometimes running up our guns within 100 yards of their lines.
Upon this Colonel Hovey makes the following note:
About half a mile. The infantry pursued farthest.
As to the distance, it must, as a matter of necessity, be a matter of opinion. I thought, and still think, it was 2 miles. Colonel Hovey estimates the distance at half a mile. Lieutenant Denneman, of the battery, is of the opinion that it was a mile and a half. As to the other comment, the infantry skirmishers on the right and left flank pursued the enemy to the same point to which the cavalry pursued them, and all infantry and cavalry, except some infantry pickets stationed by Colonel Hovey, then returned to Hill's house. If there was any farther pursuit (and I suppose there was) it was after I had left for Bayou De View, and consequently did not come under my observation.
In my original report I also made the following statement:
When the enemy began to waver, by my directions Major R. M. Clendenning, with Companies E and G, made a furious charge upon their right flank, engaging them in a most gallant style, &c.
Upon this Colonel Hovey, in his notes, remarks:
The order was given by Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, as stated; but he had no right to give the order and gave it before I was ready for the cavalry charge, and, in my opinion, sacrificed life unnecessarily; but I did not countermand the order.