March 10, 1863 - 11.30 a. m.
SIR: The detachment sent to destroy the Strickland Bridge returned at 8.30 this a. m., having hailed after five hours' trail to reach the said bridge. All the roads to the bridge from this direction are impassable for cavalry or infantry, on account of the deep mire above the men's knees. The troops returned very much exhausted, both men and horses.
At 9 o'clock I started for this place. Arrived near the bridge, I deployed one company as skirmishers to reconnoiter. They were fired at by the Confederate pickets, some twelve shots, without injury that I have yet learned. Upon hearing the firing returned by our skirmishers I brought up the whole force to the bridge, planted my artillery to rake the bridge, and one gun up the river. The Confederates contested the bridge, but after firing thirteen shells skedaddle. My skirmishers pursued them across the bridge and drove them off. My forces are now in the road, with a thick wood on either side. I have just given orders to burn and destroy the bridge as per your order, and shall then take up the march for the city, when, if you still desire to have the Strickland Bridge destroyed, we must approach if from the plank road via Dougherty's plantation. From the best information I can obtain the point is useless to us, as no body of troops could possibly cross the bridge or gain admittance to any of our roads, now that we have destroyed the Bogler Bridge.
After seeing the Comite Bridge destroyed I shall march to the city, unless otherwise ordered. Orders will reach me on the road to the city, which will be faithfully fulfilled.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
T. W. CHICKERING,
Colonel Forty-first, Commanding Detachment.
No. 5. Report of Brigadier General William Dwight, jr., U. S. Army, of expedition from Montesano Bayou toward Port Hudson.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, GROVER'S DIVISION,
Camp near Montesano Bayou, La., March 18, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with instructions from the headquarters of the Nineteenth Army Corps I moved from this camp, which the force placed at my disposal, at about 1 p. m. yesterday, March 17. This delay in moving was due to the fact that the command was out of rations and it required this time to supply it.
Just before moving I instructed Colonel Ingraham, commanding the advanced brigde on the Clinton plank road, to move according to your instructions, and that he should, on arriving at the intersection of the Clinton road with the cross-road from the Bayou Sara road, at which he was directed to halt, send a regiment along that road to communicate with me. I heard of the enemy's cavalry pickets after marching about 2 miles. They had been to that point the day before to get information. At Alexander's house, at the main cross-road leading from the Bayou Sara road to the Clinton road, my advance came upon some