War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0237 Chapter XXXIV. SKIRMISH AT MADISON, ARK.

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ceived information that the enemy had collected in considerable force at Madison, and had blockaded the river. Arriving within about 2 miles of Madison, I discovered a load of cotton placed upon a conspicuous point on a high, sloping bank. Believing it to be a trap, I ordered the artillerymen to drop a few shell into the thick underbrush a short distance back of the cotton bales. I soon discovered, farther up on the slope, a large number of saddled horses, which convinced me that my suspicions were well founded.

I continued the shelling process, and, coming within nearer range, I swept the underbrush with canister. I then landed as rapidly as possible my entire force, leaving about one-half on the river bank by the boat as a reserve. The balance deployed as skirmishers and soon came upon the enemy, who had been previously scattered by our artillery. A running fight ensued, which resulted in the enemy retreating to the hills, leaving 4 of their dead upon the field.

In this skirmish Lieutenant [William C.] Niblack, of the Third Iowa Cavalry, received a severe buck-shot wound in the left breast while gallantly leading his cavalry. No other one on our side sustained any injury.

After securing the cotton used as a bait and some horses captured upon the field, I proceeded to Madison, where I found the river blockaded by means of a chain drawn between the piers of the railroad bridge. I landed above the brigade and sent out skirmishers to reconnoiter and cover the operations of a working party sent to remove the blockade. A little skirmishing ensued, and we captured 1 prisoner. My working party soon reported a safe passage through the blockade. I called in my skirmishers and without much difficulty cleared the bridge, which was no sooner accomplished than heavy volley saluted us from a canebreak on the right, where the enemy were posted behind log breastworks. After about 25 rounds from our field pieces, the enemy retreated in great confusion, and we experienced no further interruption between that point and Helena, where we arrived on the morning of the 12th, it being the seventh day out.

I cannot but speak in the highest terms of the manner in which the officers and men of the different detachments conducted themselves throughout. It was truly gratifying and well worthy of imitation.

We captured in all 46 prisoners, 10 of whom I paroled on account of being short of subsistence. The balance I have turned over to the provost-marshal-general.

The following is a list of captured property (contraband) and property seized for military purposes:

Cotton...............................bales.. 4

Sugar.............................hogsheads.. 15

Salt...............................barrels.. 13

Flour...................................do.. 2

Bacon...............................pounds..500

Horses...................................... 23

Mules....................................... 3

Quinine.............................ounces.. 80

Shot-guns, rifles &c., about................ 30

Percussion-caps.............................500

Sixty bales of cotton seized for military purposes, claimants of which were permitted to return with the expedition to represent their claims.

Having nothing further to report, I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

POWELL CLAYTON,

Colonel, Commanding.