tion and number of the troops and the reported strength of the enemy, but said I would undertake to capture the garrison if the Arkansas could be sent down to clear the river or divert the fire of the gunboats. He promptly answered that the Arkansas would be ready to co-operate at daylight on Tuesday, August 5.
On the afternoon of Monday, the 4th, the command having reached the Comite River, 10 miles from Baton Rouge, and learning by an express messenger that the Arkansas had passed Bayou Sara in time to arrive at the proper moment, preparations were made to advance that night. The sickness had been appalling. The morning report of the 4th showing but 3,000 effective, and deducting those taken sick during the day and the number that fell out from weakness on the night march I did not carry into the action more than 2,600 men. This estimate does not include some 200 Partisan Rangers, who had performed efficient service in picketing the different roads, but who, from the nature of the ground, took no part in the action; nor about the same number of militia hastily collected by Col. D. C. Hardee in the neighborhood of Clinton, who, though making every effort, could not arrive in time to participate.
The command left the Comite at 11 p.m., and reached the vicinity of Baton Rouge a little before daybreak on the morning of the 5th. Some hours before the main body moved a small force of infantry, with a section of Semmes' battery, under Lieutenant T. K. Fauntleroy, the whole commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Shields, of the Thirtieth Louisiana, was sent by a circuitous route to the road leading from Clinton to Balton Rouge, with orders to drive in any pickets of the enemy and attack his left as soon as the action should begin in front. This service was well performed, but for details reference is made to the report of Brigadier-General Ruggles, from whose command the force was detached.
While waiting for daylight to make the attack an accident occurred which deprived us of several excellent officers and enlisted men and two pieces of artillery. The Partisan Rangers were placed in rear of the artillery and infantry, yet during the darkness a few of them leaked through, and riding forward encountered the enemy, causing exchange of shots between the pickets. Galloping back, they produced some confusion, which led to rapid firing for a few moments, during which Brigadier-General Helm was dangerously injured by the fall of his horse; Lieutenant A. H. Todd, his aide-de-camp, killed; Captain Roberts, of the Fourth Kentucky, severely wounded; several enlisted men killed and wounded, and two of Captain Cobb's three guns rendered for the time wholly useless. After General Helm was disabled Col. Thomas H. Hunt assumed command of his brigade. Order was soon restored, and the force placed in position on the right and left of the Greenwell Springs road. I was obliged to content myself with a single line of battle and a small regiment of infantry, with one piece of artillery, to each division as a reserve. The enemy (expecting the attack) was drawn up in two lines, or rather in one line, with strong reserves distributed at intervals. At the moment there was light enough our troops moved rapidly forward. General Ruggles, commanding the left, brought on the engagement with four pieces of Semmes' battery, the Fourth and Thirtieth Louisiana, and Boyd's Louisiana battalion, under the command of Colonel Allen, of the Fourth Louisiana, and the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Kentucky and the Thirty-fifth Alabama, under the command of Colonel Thompson, of the Third Kentucky. These troops moved forward with great impetuosity, driving the enemy before them, while their ringing cheers inspired all our little command. The Louisiana