precautionary measures to Smith's place, pushing his cavalry ahead, followed by a force of infantry, deployed a cheval, on the road as skirmishers. In case the pickets were still there the cavalry was ordered to make a bold dash on them, in order to feel the strength of the rebel forces there. The gross of his command, with the section of artillery, was to follow the skirmishers. For the very excellent execution of these orders I beg leave to refer to the inclosed reports of Colonel Lindsey and Lieutenant Wilson.
On the morning of the 10th the transports carrying the First, and Third Brigades left, guided by the Empress, for a place called Mudling's, or Old Court-House, about 3 miles below Arkansas Post. The necessary arrangements for cooking, and disembarking the troops having been made, the landing commenced at 2 p.m., and by 3 o'clock we took up the march for the enemy's works, following in rear of the First Division. By order of Brigadier-General Morgan the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Infantry was left as guard near the transports.
After a very short march I found all the roads crowded with parts of different commands; and my orders being to keep in rear of everybody, and night approaching fast, I gave the order to prepare for bivouac in an open field, whence the river and all the roads in front and on our right could be completely commanded. Before going into bivouac Captain Cooley's light battery (four pieces), of General Smith's division, reported to me for duty, and another order from General Morgan detached one section of Foster's battery to re-enforce Colonel Lindsey. They were carried on the steamer Post Boy to Fletcher's Landing. The night passed without disturbance, the bombardment of the fort by the gunboats having no influence on our movements.
January 11, sunrise, found the roads in front of me clear, and I marched my command forward until we reached the enemy's first rifle-pits. Then, by direction of Brigadier-General Morgan, I left Colonel De Courcy, with the rest of the Third Brigade, as reserve, as well as to support us in case of emergency and to protect our right against any possible attack by the enemy in that direction. The three pieces in charge of Captain Lanphere remained with Colonel De Courcy. I refer to the inclosed report of this officer.
My command was, by the above details, reduced to the First Brigade, Colonel Sheldon, and one section of 20-pounder Parrott guns, under command of First Lieutenant Webster, and two sections of the Chicago Mercantile Battery, 6-pounder field pieces, commanded by Captain Cooley. I kept closed on General Smith's division until we came in sight of the fort. The ground here was exceedingly heavy and it required extraordinary efforts on the part of the artillerists to bring their pieces through the swamp.
My orders being to form the extreme left wing of the investing troops, leaning with my left on the river and with my right on the left of General Smith's division, I improved the delay caused by the passage of the artillery through the swamps by making a thorough reconnaissance of the field to which my action would be limited.
After a good deal of labor my command were, at 10 o'clock, in the positions 1 assigned to them. One of the four bastions and the lower casemate were directly in my front; the distance was about 800 yards, and I therefore concluded to place the 20-pounder Parrott guns in battery, not expecting any great effect from Captain Cooley's 6-pounder smooth-bores, which latter I therefore held in reserve.
The Sixty-ninth Indiana Infantry and One hundred and twentieth Ohio Infantry deployed in line of battle, and the One hundred and