War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0243 Chapter XXV. EXPEDITION FROM HELENA, ARK.

Search Civil War Official Records

enemy on the Vicksburg road. Lieutenant Crabtree, coming up with the enemy about 4 miles from the river, sent back to me for re-enforcements. I proceeded, by order of Colonel Woods, with the balance of my command, and upon coming up with Lieutenant Crabtree I found the enemy retreating through the corn field. Pursuing them rapidly, we took quite a number of prisoners, shot-guns, rifles, &c., scattering their forces in every direction. Colonel Wood's adjutant, coming up at the time, informed me that the infantry would halt, and I should proceeded with my command to Tallulah and destroy the depot and telegraph office at that place.

Approaching within a mile from the town I discovered a large body of enemy's infantry on my right in a corn field. Their intention seemed to be to give us a flank fire on the advance of the column in the road. Bringing the two howitzers to bear upon the corn field and throwing a few shell, the enemy moved off rapidly in the direction of the town.

Moving my command up within 300 yards of the depot, I found that the enemy had rallied in large force in and about the corn field and brush adjacent to the depot and evincing a determination to make a stand. My force being too small to charge them I again brought the howitzers to bear upon them, and after throwing aside their arms and knapsacks and retreating in confusion I then proceeded to destroy the depot, which contained a large amount of sugar and other stores for the use of the army. We also destroyed the telegraph and several cars remaining on the railroad.

Colonel Woods, hearing the firing, brought the infantry up on a double-quick to support us, but arrived too late to get a sight of the enemy, he having entirely disappeared.

We then retired back to our boats, getting on board without accident. Nothing more occurred, in which my command was engaged, until on our return up the river, on the [23rd] instant. We landed at Greenville, and learning that there was a rebel force there I proceeded out on a road leading from the river about a mile, when I found the road forked. Dividing my force, I sent Captain [F. W.] Benteen out on one road and Lieutenant Crabtree on the other, with a part of their commands, to reconnoiter, myself staying at the fork with the two howitzers.

Some twenty minutes after thus disposing of my command Colonel Woods sent an order to me to fall back and proceed up the river, as the enemy had a camp some 2 miles in that direction. After rallying my men I proceeded to join Colonel Woods, and found him halted in sight of the enemy in front. He ordered me to move forward and engage him. I formed my men in order for a charge, but the enemy retreated some 2 miles, when they halted, bringing a battery of four pieces to bear upon us, concealing it behind a turn of the road and awaiting our approach. I halted my command, and sent part of it, with one howitzer, through the corn field to flank them, while I opened fire upon them in front with the other piece. The enemy fell back out of range of our guns without replying to our fire. As they retreated the gunboat Benton discovered them, and threw a shell within ten yards of their battery, on its left flank and in our front, causing me to halt my men, whom I had ordered to charge, fearful of bringing them under the fire of the gunboats.

Finding that the infantry had not advanced to our support, but had gone back to the boats, I thought it prudent to fall back, as my force was too small to pursue the enemy, as I was satisfied they had a large