in driving the whole number into camp. This evening near this point he burned the camp of a cavalry regiment, destroying all theirs tents, camp and garrison equipage, together with a large amount of corn meal. At this place a considerable mail was captured. On reaching the junction of the main Port Hudson road, returning, they again were met by a large cavalry force, and for some time forced to keep up a sharp skirmish, which result in killing 3 of the enemy and wounding a large number, most fortunately without any loss on the part of the cavalry. The appearance of this large force so suddenly in their midst seemed to create a perfect panic. They invariably fled on the first fire of the Illinoisans.
Having carried out my instructions as fully as possible with the force under my command I retraced my march, reaching camp about 3 o'clock p. m.
There are no less than seven or eight roads practicable for infantry and cavalry between Alexander's plantation and the main Port Hudson road running from the Springfield Landing road to the Bayou Sara road. Each of these roads had to be strongly guarded, which reduced my infantry force so much that I did not consider it prudent to advance beyond the first cross-roads on the plains, which is within 4 miles of Port Hudson. From information obtained from contrabands I had to take precaution against parties across from the Clinton road as well as on the other flank.
Neither Colonel Grierson nor myself have full information as to the strength or character of the forces on the Clinton road; and as the commanding officer directed in his communication of this morning that we should accomplish this object, I respectfully request that I may be furnished instructions whether return to Baton Rouge with my whole command, including the forces now stationed at White's Bayou, on the Clinton road, or proceed to the Clinton road in furtherance of the instructions in letter to Colonel Grierson of this morning.
I cannot close this report without referring to the good conduct of the several infantry regiments of the command.
Compelled to march through the heat of the day over the most dusty roads it has ever been my fortune to travel, the dust ground to a powder by the travel of nearly 1,000 horses, they have kept closed up, at the call of a bugle promptly fell in, and with alacrity and good-will executed every command with the promptness of veteran troops. I am especially indebted to Colonel Paine, Second Louisiana Volunteers, who has aided me in every possible way in forwarding the expedition. Captain Speed, assistant adjutant-general, has also labored hard toward the completion of the object to be obtained, and well deserves my thanks. Captain Godfrey's company has been in the saddle constantly. This young officer seems to be the happiest when annoying the enemy most. While waiting the return of the Illinois Cavalry he followed up the Port Hudson road, drove the enemy's pickets in to within 1 1/2 miles of Port Hudson, went down the Springfield Landing road west side of the bayou, driving all the pickets off the road, and returned by the crossroad opposite the church. This evening he made a scout toward the Mississippi River as far as the bottom, stampeded two pickets, and captured the arms and complete equipments of 4 men.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[N. A. M. DUDLEY,]
Colonel and Acting Brigadier-General, Comdg. Expedition.
Captain HALSTED, Assistant Adjutant-General.