From the best information I can get the enemy, it is believed, left the Mississippi River with about 2,00 men, principally infantry. The point at which they left the river is known as Omega and is in the upper part of Milliken's Bend, 25 miles below Lake Providence and 4 or 5 miles below Terrapin Neck, which is spoken of in the order, and where was a squadron of cavalry and an artillery company.
The whole force of the enemy marched out to Dallas, where the railroad crosses the Tensas River, and from there they sent out a squad of cavalry, numbering 41 or 42, 10 miles to Delhi. This small detachment remained at Delhi several hours, committing various outrages, and as they returned left several of their number, who had become intoxicated, straggling by the way. When they got back to Dallas the whole force leisurely returned to the Mississippi River losing a man except by desertion.
The enemy were permitted to penetrate, the country 35 miles and to commit the depredations I have spoken of, and also to burn one or two gin-houses and several hundred bales of Government cotton, and to steal a number of negroes, mules, and cattle, without any molestation. At the time had within striking distance, in my opinion, from 800 to 1,200 men, principally cavalry, armed with double-barreled shot-guns. We would have had more, but two or three of the companies belonging to the Thirteenth Battalion Louisiana Partisan Rangers were at home under furloughs granted to them as companies and including all from captain down.
An illegal attempt to disband this battalion and to force it to become part of the Third Louisiana Cavalry, and the lieutenant-colonel to become the lieutenant-colonel of that regiment, assisted in producing the confusion which has brought this disgrace upon us. Even as it was, however, knowing as I well do the gallantry of the officers and men stationed in the perished of Tensas, Madison, and Caroll, I am sure if a peremptory order had not been given them to retreat they would have made the enemy pay dearly for their temerity.
I bring the matters presented in this letter to your attention with regret, bun in my opinion some change should at once be made in the commander at Monroe.
Your obedient servant,
Direct Major-General Taylor to investigate the case and give the necessary orders.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
HDQRS. MILITARY DISTRICT OF NORTH LOUISIANA,
Monroe, December 27, 1862.
Captain J. MCKOIN, Commanding at Lake Providence:
CAPTAIN: Bring all your men to this place. Take care not to be cut off. The enemy is at Delhi and may go up to Prairie Mer Rouge to get here. Send word to the squadron at Terrapin Neck and the artillery to join as soon as possible.
Your obedient servant,
A. G. BLANCHARD,