force in ambush to fall back upon. I accordingly took my command again on board the boat.
Proceeding up the river on the 25th instant, Colonel Woods ordered the forces on shore at Bolivar. The infantry was landed at the town, but the banks being so steep that it was impossible to land our horses, and Colonel Woods being on shore, I ordered the captain of the boat to move up the river until he could effect a landing, which was accomplished in about one-half a mile. Lieutenant Crabtree, as soon as landed, discovered the enemy about 300 yards in our front, and at the same time Lieutenant Ballou perceived them advancing on us from the direction of up the river and on our left. Ordering Lieutenant Crabtree to keep those in check in front and Captain Benteen those on the river road, I got the howitzers on shore as rapidly as possible, knowing that if the enemy charged upon us my force would be too small to cope with him. As soon as I could get the howitzers in position I brought one of them to bear on the enemy in front and the other on the left, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing him fall back. Having fired away all my howitzer ammunition, I was re-enforced by Lieutenant Zimmerer, of Hoffman's battery, with one section of artillery, which, although unsupported by any infantry, opened a most effectual fire upon the enemy, causing him to fall still further back into the woods. The gunboat also did good execution by throwing shell over the heads of my cavalry and the artillery, landing them in the midst of the rebel forces. Following the enemy, I became satisfied that his force consisted of some 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry. We followed them some 2 miles, losing 1 man killed and 2 wounded by a flank fire from an ambush in a corn field. We were afterward re-enforced by Colonel Woods and the infantry, and after pursuing the enemy some half a mile farther we fell back to our boats, satisfied that any farther pursuit would have been fruitless and unprofitable. Quite a number of prisoners were taken, besides, horses, arms, &c. The loss of the enemy must have been considerable, though not exactly ascertained.
All of which above report is very respectfully submitted.
W. D. BOWEN,
Colonel Bowen's Battalion.
Numbers 4. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred W. Ellet, U. S. Army, commanding Ram Fleet.
Off Helena, Ark., August 24, via Cairo, August 26, 1862.
I have the honor to inform you that on Saturday, the 16th instant, by previous arrangement made with Captain Phelps, of the gunboat flotilla, I left Helena, Ark., with four of my rams, in company with that officer, and three gunboats, two regiments of infantry, a section of field artillery, and a small detachment of cavalry from General Curtis' command, all under General Woods, in two transport steamers, to make a reconnaissance down the river as far as Vicksburg. When within 25 miles of that city, in Milliken's Bend, we came suddenly upon a boat lying at the bank and an encampment of the enemy on the shore close at hand. We immediately landed and took possession of the steamboat and encampment, the enemy having fled precipitately without firing a gun. The steamboat was loaded with arms--some 5,000 and