to Ross Landing and the direct road to Port Hudson, would be ready to advance upon the rear of the works if opportunity offered, or to repel, by a flank attack, any force debouching upon the road to attack the batteries. The remaining brigades of General Emory and the division of General Augur held in reserve 2 miles in the rear upon the Bayou Sara road. Such was the disposition of the main force at 2 p. m. on Saturday, the 14th instant.
While waiting the movements of the fleet the minor dispositions, covering the position we held, were as follows:
The roads leading from Baton Rouge are six in number:
First. The Highland road, crossing the Bayou Manchac and leading to the Pass of that name.
Second. The Clay Cut road, with two intersecting roads crossing the Comite and Amite Rivers.
Third. The Greenwell Springs road, leading direct to Camp Moore.
Fourth. The Clinton road, leading direct to Clinton.
Fifth. The Bayou Sara road, upon which our march was made.
Sixth. The road to Springfield Landing, which was on line of communication with the river.
We had information, which could not be disregarded, that a supporting force, in the event of an attack upon Port Hudson, was at an intermediate point between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and that a cavalry force of 1,200 men was on the Clinton road, with rumors of a force on the other side of the Amite, from Mobile and Camp Moore. The bridges on these roads were destroyed by my order on the day preceding our march, and each intersecting road was covered by a small force by the Highland road to that of Springfield Landing. Our cavalry being weak in numbers, the deficiency was supplied by infantry. In addition to these detachments two regiments, under command of Colonel Chickering, of the Forty-first Massachusetts,were left at Baton Rouge to protect the camp against the threatened cavalry raids of the enemy. The force with which I was enabled to move against Port Hudson did not exceed 12,000 infantry - a force, at the best, far inferior in numbers to that of the enemy.
The enemy's pickets appeared on all these roads, but were promptly driven in as we approached the works, without serious loss or notes on our part. It was my intention to open fire upon the lower works form the Ross Landing road. We had relied for theirs movement upon the maps prepared from this occasion, with great industry and ability, from local county maps and general information obtained from the people. The reconnaissances of the afternoon, however, developed the fact that the Ross Landing road did not exist, and we necessarily were forced to change the direction of our operations to the rear of the enemy's works by the Port Hudson road, and to enter upon new reconnaissances with that view. These were pushed with vigor until dark to within 600 yards of the enemy's works and preparations made for moving our artillery upon that road. Up to this moment it had been understood that the passage of the fleet was to be made in the gray of the morning and not a night; but at 5 o'clock I received a dispatch from the admiral stating that he should commence his movement at 8 o'clock in the evening. It was impossible for me to construct bridges and repaid the almost impassable roads for artillery in season to co-operate with the fleet by concentrated artillery fire. I had just left the rear of the enemy's works in company with General Grover, in conclusion of the reconnaissances of the enemy, when the fleet and batteries opened their fire at 11.30 p. m. Had the original purpose been carried out my batteries would have been in position before morning.