In obedience to the above order I left my station at Springfield Landing at 10.30 a. m., and reported to you at General Banks' headquarters t 4 p. m., March 15, 1863.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. L. HALLETT,
Acting Signal Officer.
Captain W. W. ROWLEY,
Chief Signal Officer, Department of the Gulf.
No. 4. Reports of Col. Thomas E. Chickering, Forty-first Massachusetts Infantry, of skirmishes on the Comite River, at Montesano Bridge, &c.
HEADQUARTERS FORTY-FIRST REGIMENT,
Pierce's Cross-Roads, March 10, 1863 - 6 a. m
COLONEL: Your dispatch of last evening has just been handed me. In reply I have the honor to report that I reached this place (Pierce's Cross-Roads) at 6 o'clock last evening, and immediately detached the company of cavalry and four companies of infantry to Strickland and Bogler's Bridges. They returned about 10 o'clock p. m., having completely destroyed by fire Bogler's Bridge. they attempted to destroy the Strickland Bridge, but met with such opposition from Confederate pickets, and it being very dark and rainy, returned to the main reserve.
At 3 o'clock this morning I again dispatched the cavalry and three companies of the Forty-first Infantry, with orders to destroy the Strickland Bridge. The detachment is now absent, but momentarily expected to return, when I shall resume the march to Roberts or Comite Bridge and fulfill my orders at all hazards. I have been compelled in person to remain with the main body, fearing, from reports of prisoners and contrabands, an attack. To the best of my information the enemy are 9,000 infantry, encamped at Roberts bridge, about double my own force, yet I am confident, with my two pieces of artillery traveling over this road last night, whim I hold as prisoners, to prevent their giving notice to the enemy of our approach.
I left Baton Rouge at 2 o'clock p. m. yesterday. I applied without successor one ambulance to accompany the expedition. Three men fell from sickness and exhaustion on the mrch to this place, whom I was obliged to leave by the road-side. About twenty shots on each side last night without loss; was too dark to know if they took effect upon the enemy.
I take up the line of march for Roberts Bridge immediately after having destroyed the Strickland Bridge, to prevent the enemy cutting off our return. I shall hold the post till, further orders.
I would respectfully suggest that at least one ambulance be sent to me. No conveniences for writing on the field.
Very truly, your obedient servant,
T. E. CHICKERING,
Colonel Forty-first, Commanding Reconnaissance.
Lieutenant Col. RICHARD B. IRWIN,