We had waited nearly ten days for the fleet, detained by the breakage of machinery, and lost the opportunity of crossing its fire with that of our artillery in the premature commencement of the action by as many hours.
The reconnaissances were pushed with vigor from 2 o'clock until the opening of the fire at 11 p. m. Whenever the enemy's pickets appeared they were driven in, cavalry or infantry, until it was manifest that they were determined not to venture out of the works to give or received battle.
In the early part of these movements Col. John S. Clark, of my staff, who was near the enemy's lines, was seriously wounded, his horse being killed, by the same shot, under him. A captain of cavalry was also wounded and captured. Several dead bodies were left upon the ground by the rebels and some of the wounded brought into our camp. The entire command was under arms during the night, but no general action occurred.
Information having been received from the signal corps that the Hartford and Albatross had safely passed at Springfield Landing, and the balance of the fleet, with exception of the Mississippi, was in safety on this side, the troops rested upon their arms until Sunday evening, when they fell back near Bayou Montesano, and encamped from 5 to 8 miles from Baton Rouge.
On Tuesday the troops again advanced upon the Clinton and Bayou Sara roads, the enemy's pickets retiring before them, but offering no serious resistance, returning to camp during the night.
It had been understood, in the event of the passage of any portion of the fled, that communication with the river above Port Hudson should be made by the Army. Accordingly two regiments, with a section of artillery nd a company of cavalry, under Colonel Parmele, of New York, were sent on Monday, the 16th instant, to force a passage from opposite Profit's Island, under protection of the fleet, to some point above Port Hudson.
The rebels having cut the State levee opposite Port Hudson, with a view to prevent the passage of the troops by the flood, I sent forward on Wednesday a brigade, under command of Colonel Dudley, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts, with instructions to make a passage by the bed of False River, if necessary, or to ascertain and report definitely the obstructions which should make it impracticable. I accompanies this expedition with several of my staff officers, moving up the river opposite the batteries within range of the enemy's guns. a full view of the batteries was obtained, of which complete sketches were made by the topographical and engineer officers, who advanced to the cut. The crevasse, occasioned by the cutting of the state levee, is about 60 yards wide and had obtained a depth of 2 1/2 feet. This was easily forded by the cavalry and infantry, but the rise of water having swept away the bridges, it was impossible to distinguish the course of the bayous, making the passage impracticable, except for horsemen. Subsequently Colonel paine, of the Second Louisiana Infantry, with a detachment of his command, crossed to the river, about 3 miles above Port Hudson, commanidng a view of the river, but failed to obtain any information of the fleet above. Colonel Dudley to-day makes an effort to reach Waterloo, 6 miles above the forts, after which he will return with his command to Baton Rouge.
Thursday evening three small river steamers came down the river and rested under the batteries. They appeared to me to have come from Thompson's Creek, 2 miles above Port Hundred, and to be intended