December 26. Pursuant to instructions Blair's brigade moved forward on the Johnson road, drove in the enemy's pickets, and bivouacked for the night about 2 miles from the landing.
On the morning of the 27th Blair's brigade was detached and I embarked with the other two brigades, with orders to land above the mouth of the Chickasaw Bayou and advance between Chickasaw Bayou and Thompson's Lake. while we were cutting the roads through the timber to the levee Admiral Porter called for troops to cross the river and disperse about 400 sharpshooters that were concealed on the west side of the rgaer bndouacked, the men resss of the gunboats toward Haines' Bluff. I sent the Seventeenth Missouri Infantry.
After having accomplished the work they returned and I proceeded with the whole command, directed by the negro guide whom the general sent to conduct me, to the bluffs. Our progress was considerably retarded by the timber felled across the levee, on either side of which the ground was impracticable for artillery. We soon came to deep water on the right side of the levee, which turned out to be Thompson's Lake instead of Chickasaw Bayou. About sunset General Hovey, whose brigade was on the advance, came upon an outpost of the enemy. After a short engagement the enemy retired. it was now dark and we bivouacked for the night without camp-fires.
The march had scarcely been resumed early next morning when our skirmishers became engaged with the enemy's sharpshooters, concealed in rifle-pits behind the levee. At this point the levee turned to the left and continued in a curve for about 800 yards, the Chickasaw Creek on our right and a timbered marsh on the left. The pioneers were sent forward to clear some obstructions on the levee, covered by Landgraeber's battery. They were immediately fired upon by a battery of the enemy established on the bluff about 800 yards distant, our skirmishers being at the same time hotly engaged with the enemy's sharpshooters. Both the battery and the pioneers were subjected to a murderous fire and the pioneers either killed or wounded, and also were some men of the battery. The axle of one of the pieces was broken; still Captain landgraeber, nothing daunted in his exposed position, continued to reply to the heavier guns of the enemy . At the same time Colonel Hassendeubel, of the Seventeenth Missouri, was trying to drive the sharpshooters from the rifle-pits to clear the way for our advance. General Hovey exposed himself without our advance in reconnoitering the enemy's position, which was so well chosen that it soon became apparent that we a frightful destruction of life and a probability that no considerable portion could reach the opposite end untouched.
The First Iowa Battery, Captain Griffiths, was brought forward and also opened upon the enemy's battery. After a severe cannonading from our two batteries the enemy deserted theirs. It was then discovered that there was another battery to our left which enfiladed the farther end of the causeway and had a cross-fire on the end toward us. The first battery had a cross-fire on the farther end of the causeway. These batteries were supported by sharpshooters in rifle-pits.
At 4 p. m. I received the general's orders to send him a regiment of infantry if I could not reach the bluffs and follow with the rest with dispatch. My command was occupied all night in re-embarking for Johnson's farm and getting supplies.
Early on the morning of the 29th I moved forward with Thayer's brigade, leaving orders for hovey to come up as soon as possible. At the white house I met General Morgan, who told me that he was building