Ferry. On the road thither I received information through negroes that one party of 20, and later one party of 4, rebels had passed up the same road on the previous night, all at a rapid rate, apparently in a great hurry. On the road to Hughes' Ferry I confiscated 2 guns and 2 pistols from an overseer on Benks' farm.
Arriving at Hughes' Ferry, 35 miles from Helena, about 10 a. m. the 25th instant, men and horses being very tired, I ordered them to encamp right and left of the ferry road, and crossed to the other side with some officers and men to gather information. Received reliable information that no rebels were any more in that neighborhood, all having left at the appearance of a regiment of Union troops at Madison, 15 miles northeast of Hughes' Ferry. A scouting party of that regiment had passed the ferry five hours before our arrival there; have seen their tracks for 1 1/2 miles on the west side of L'Anguille Creek, turning afterward northward. This information was confirmed by subsequent report of men of the same regiment. On this information I marched the command back about 4 miles; left a strong concealed picket at the first cross-roads in rear of the ferry, three-quarters of a mile from it. This picket guarded the avenue to and from the ferry; also the road leading north and south. One single horseman appeared at the picket during the and made good his escape in the darkness.
Went into camp at Benks' farm, which I found plundered by the negroes of the plantation, the two masters being in the army, the overseer under guard with our detachment on account of the weapons above referred to. I ordered the negroes to return the stolen goods, which they did; gave the overseer orders to have bacon and hams and forage turned over to our men and to have corn bread baked sufficient for their use. This was necessary, as a great portion of them had come without provisions.
Had a buggy spanned, took my aide and 1 man escort, and drove down about 10 p. m. to Marianna, 4 miles; found pickets in good order. Received reports of scouting parties at Marianna; also information from a negro that was captive with the rebel company and present at their flight from L'Anguille Lake, all corroborating my impression that that one company was all the organized force of the rebels between Saint Francis and L'Anguille Rivers, and it had left the evening before we arrived and was scattered through the woods running westward. Returned the same night to Benks' farm.
Started about 5 o'clock in the morning (26th instant) with the command to Marianna. Got information of 8 armed rebels seen on the east shore of L'Anguille Creek. At 7 a. m. took a party of 40 men with carbines and rifles, dismounted them at the creek, went over to the other bank, divided the party into three parts, and scouted over the bottom down to L'Anguille Lake, along the river south and north toward the hill to 1 p. m.; found an old deserted and a yawl; brought the yawl to the crossing and returned with the command to Marianna. Started from there at 5 p. m. and arrived with the command at 2 a. m. this morning at camp, Helena.
A small boat scouting up and down the L'Anguille Creek, which can be easily done, as the water is rising, and detachments of a company at Marianna, Hughes' Ferry, and La Grande would effectually prevent communications of the rebels in that direction; also, from experience, I am led to believe that there are but few rebels east of L'Anguille Creek desirous of joining the westward-stationed forces. It is at the same time my impression that it is easier to attack and scatter their