Col. William W. Bullock; One hundred and sixty-first New York Volunteers, Colonel Harrower; six companies of the One hundred and seventy-fourth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Gott, and captain Godfrey's company of cavalry, and followed up the Bayou Sara road toward Newport; stationed on the route at the several cross-roads leading forward the Springfield Landing and Port Hudson roads strong parties to hold in check any force that might attempt to get in our rear, leaving all baggage, forage, and supplies in camp, guarded by four companies of the One hundred and seventy-fourth New York Volunteers.
The column proceed unmolested until the advance came to the opening of the plains, about 1 mile west of the road running from Clinton plank road to Port Hudson, when a brisk skirmish was commenced between Colonel Grierson's advance guard and a body of the enemy's cavalry full 400 strong. This was kept up for a distance of nearly 4 miles at long range. On reaching the cross-roads of the main Port Hudson road information was obtained that a body of 900 infantry and two 12-pounder batteries crossed from the Clinton plank road over the Redwood road last night and took position about a quarter of a mile from the intersection of the main Port Hudson road with the Bayou Sara road. Colonel Grierson sent a battalion of his command up the road, which was very strongly picketed, which, with other observations and information gained, he left assured was strongly supported. This picket was gallantry driven in four several times by the Illinois cavalry. The last time reserves and all fell back to a point without 2 1/2 miles of Port Hudson, when they moved off, taking a northeasterly direction, apparently for the purpose of getting in front of the main column.
While Colonel Grierson was cautiously feeling his way through the pickets of the enemy the infantry were being posted on the numerous cross-roads leading both to Port Hudson and Clinton plank road. Two companies of the Illinois Cavalry, under Captain H. C. Forbes, were stationed to watch the main Port Hudson road, while the balance of the cavalry pushed forward toward the railroad, constantly skirmishing, driving the enemy's pickets before them.
Captain Forbes obtained information from reliable parties that a large force had left Port Hudson to intercept this command on its march. It probably went to the Clinton plank road, as all parties seemed to have received an idea that a large Federal force was on that road.*
The enemy was constantly in sight of Captain Forbes' party during the time Colonel Grierson was moving to the front. When the advance was within half a mile of the railroad Colonel Grierson received your communication, and knowing that I did not consider it proper to move my small infantry force farther to the front than the first cross-roads on the plains which I then occupied, he halted his main force, and sent a company forward to the railroad with instructions to do all the damage possible to the tracks. Captain Pierce, Company A, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, was in command of this party, and most admirably did he and his men acquit themselves of the arduous duty assigned them. In sight of a large force of the enemy on each of his flanks, the one on the Port Hudson side supported by artillery, he succeeded in destroying 300 yards of the road and cut the Clinton telegraph wire in several places. After having accomplished this Captain Pierce joined the balance of the command.
On the return march Colonel Grierson discovered a heard of 200 beet cattle grazing off the road, guarded by a considerable cavalry force of the enemy. He charged on the party, dispersed them, and succeeded