expedition against the enemy in Arkansas. At my request, Major General Frederick Steel was sent to command this force. At the same time I sent the cavalry division, under Brigadier-General Davidson, with orders to move south, through the eastern part of Arkansas, and effect a Davidson is inclosed herewith, marked A [Nos. 5 and 6]; also copy of instructions for General Steele, marked B [Numbers 9].
General Davidson reached Wittsburg, on the Saint Francis River, on the 28th day of July, without encountering any considerable force of the enemy, and opened communication with General [L. F.] Ross, then commanding at Helena, General Steele not having arrived at that time.
On the 10th day of August, General Steele had completed the organization of his forces, and commenced his advance, via Clarendon, on White River; thence up that river to Devall's Bluff, where he established his base of operations. Considerable time was consumed here in fortifying, establishing depot for supplies, hospital for the sick, who had become frightfully numerous, and in making other necessary preparations for a further advance. These preparations were completed on the 1st day of September.
The enemy, under Sterling Price, occupied an intrenched position 3 miles east of Little Rock, covered by cavalry outposts at Bayou Meto and Ashley's Mills. His force was estimated at about 16,000 men, with thirty-eight pieces of artillery. General Steele's effective force was about 13,00 men, with fifty-three pieces of artillery.
Steele advanced, with the main body of his infantry, against the enemy's position, while the cavalry, under Davidson, crossed the Arkansas River 7 miles below Little Rock, encountering the rebel cavalry, under Marmaduke, defeated him after a sharp engagement, and marched upon the town. Price, finding his position turned, hastily abandoned his intrenchments, retreated across the river, destroying his bridges, and escaped from the town before the arrival of our cavalry. Davidson's division entered Little Rock at dark in the evening of the 10th of September.
The enemy retired toward Arkadelphia, pursued the next day about 20 miles by a considerable force of cavalry and artillery, under command of Colonel Lewis Merrill, U. S. Volunteers, but with no very important results.
For the details of these operations, resulting in the capture of Little Rock, and subsequent pursuit of the enemy, I respectfully refer to reports heretofore forwarded.
Since the capture of Little Rock, the time has been chiefly employed in perfecting communications, including repair of the railroad to Devall's Bluff, the fortification of Little Rock, and the occupation of points necessary to the security of the Arkansas River as a line of defense, and in preparation for an advance to Red River as soon as General Banks' operations should justify. The cavalry of General Steele's command has been actively employed during the time against the enemy's cavalry, and with considerable success in the capture of prisoners, arms, and other property.
On the 25th day of October, Marmaduke, with about 2,500 cavalry and twelve pieces of artillery, attacked a force of about 800 cavalry of the Fifth Kansas and the First Indiana Cavalry, and nine pieces of artillery, under Colonel [P.] Clayton, of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, at Pine Bluff. The fight was sharp, lasted five hours, and resulted in a decisive victory to our troops.
Some cavalry, sent from Little Rock and Camden, under Lieutenant-Colonel [H. C.] Caldwell, Third Iowa Cavalry, pursued the rebel cavalry