the enemy, resulting in his abandoning his attack upon the city of Vicksburg:
The enemy's transports commenced making their appearance near the mouth of the Yazoo on Christmas day, when, in compliance with orders from Major General [M. L.] Smith, I took charge in person of the defense of the swamp from the city to Snyder's Mill. Between that point and city runs the swamp road at the foot of the bluffs, the average distance of the road from the Yazoo being about 2 1/2 miles. The country between the road and the Yazoo is heavy bottom and intersected by sloughs and bayous, containing the plantations of Captain W. H. Johnson, Mrs. Lake, and Colonel Blake, the first two being below Chickasaw Bayou, which bayou separated Mrs. Lake's plantation from Colonel Blake's. The bayou runs back from the Yazoo and makes the half-way point between the city and Snyder's Mill. a lake and swamp run almost parallel to the road from the city to Snyder's Mill, and at and average distance from it of about a third of a mile, giving but five points through which the enemy could reach the river road from the Yazoo, except by throwing a pontoon bridge across the lake. These points, commencing next to the city, are: First, at the race curse, 2 miles from the city, by a road leading to Johnson's; next at the Indian mound, 4 miles from the city, where the lake is dry for 200 yards; next at the Chickasaw Bayou, on Mrs. Lake's plantation (a good road running along the bayou from the Yazoo); next at Colonel Blake's house, running back from the Yazoo almost to the road, 1 miles beyond Chickasaw Bayou,a nd at Snyder's Mill, 13 miles from the city, where we have extensive fortifications, commencing about 2 miles short of Snyder's Mill in an impenetrable swamp. The abatis of fallen timber at the race course was an almost impassable barrier tot he enemy. My arrangements were as follows: One regiment (the First Louisiana, Colonel [S. R.] Harrison) and two guns at the mound; four regiment sand a battery at Chickasaw Bayou, and a regiment between the mound and the bayou. Rifle-pits were hurriedly thrown up at the mound and at the bayou, and timber felled across the lake for an abatis. The enemy's gunboats had possession of the Yazoo for about a week before the arrival of the transports on Christmas day.
On the 26th they landed in force at Johnson's and at a point 2 miles above (1 mile below Chickasaw Bayou), driving in our pickets. Colonel [W. T.] Withers, with the Seventeenth Louisiana, two companies of the Forty-sixth Mississippi, and a section of Wofford's battery, was directed to hold then in check near Mrs. Lake's plantation. This he did in good style, driving them from the open field into the woods.
Early on the morning of the 27th the enemy appeared in force and attacked Colonel Withers with violence. The colonel retired for a short distance up the bayou to a piece of woods and held his ground against a largely superior force. The enemy also appeared in force in the woods in front of the Indian mound, driving in our skirmishers across the lake. They also appeared on Blake's Levee, at the same time attacking our batteries at Snyder's Mill. They evidently had excellent guides, attacking us at every point where it was possible to reach the road.
On the morning of the 28th the enemy again attacked the woods held the previous day by Colonel Withers, but now by the Twenty-eighth [Twenty-ninth] Louisiana Volunteers, Colonel Allen Thomas, being at least a brigade and a battery of six guns. Colonel Thomas held his ground against this greatly superior force from about daylight until 12 m., when he retired in good order. The enemy were highly elated by their success and followed rapidly, but a volley from the Twenty-sixth