howitzers, two days' small rations with hard bread, no tents for either officers or men, and 5 wagons, lightly loaded. We arrived at Chalk Bluff the next morning, having traveled over 40 miles of such roads as only the swamps of the earthquake region of Missouri can turn out.
On our arrival at that point, at 9 a. m., we found that the advance party, which we had sent forward to feel he enemy, had failed to get the ferrymen to cross, and had been exchanging shots across the river for some two hours. We deployed skirmishers, and tried to move the force covering the ferry-boat, but they were well posted and stuck to their position with a determination worthy of a better cause. by bringing up our howitzers, we drove them out with canister and shell, and after three hours' fighting were able to cover a party of five brave volunteers who swam the river, seized the boat, and brought it over. We soon crossed three companies, who succeeded in clearing the hills, burning their store of corn, all the buildings, and a large ferry-boat which was being constructed. In this affair we had 2 men wounded, Blacksmith William J. Dryden, of Company E, and Private Cicero G. Davis, of Company H.
Having thus cut off their exit by this ferry, we marched, at 4 o'clock next morning, against Thompson's fort, at Gum Slough, 23 miles distant.
We came to the slough at about noon. The slough is about 500 yards across, with a narrow road cut through a dense cypress swamp, with water girth-deep all the way across. We drove from this slough 30 well-armed men, a party under Lieutenant [Frederick R.] Poole pursuing them 11 miles, killing 4 and capturing 5 of them.
The fort of General Thompson was at the opposite side of the slough, commanding the road. It consisted of a parallelogram 90 paces on its main face, with a salient angle on its main face, and one of its interior faces to command the encampment and ditch. We could have shelled them out of it from across the slough, or even have ridden over their works.
To our great chagrin, we found the fort without defenders, the garrison having evacuated it on hearing the report of my guns the day before. They had swum the slough, and taken to the island of Saint Francis River, intending to cross into Arkansas in Thompson's mosquito fleet of dug-outs. We were advised that these canoes were in Varney's River, an arm of the Saint Francis, and Lieutenant Poole, with 7 men, pushed on in advance to capture and destroy them. When he got to the river, 8 miles beyond Kennett, he found the canoes gone, the main body of he fugitives having left the night before.
We encamped at Kennett that night, and the succeeding two days scoured the country; captured over 60 of the enemy, including 2 captains and 2 lieutenants; destroyed or took away about 250 guns, of all kinds, and captured 65 horses and mules, subsisting entirely on the country, which abounded in forage, good bacon, and corn bread. We scoured Holcombe, Ten-Mile, Buffalo, horse, and Two-Mile Islands, the scouts traveling sometimes 40 miles a day, often crossing from one island to another in dug-outs and scouting on foot all day. We thus drove the whole force of Thompson and Clark out of the State into Arkansas, or into their hiding places in the jungles and among the cypress trees of the swamps.
The war steed of General Thompson, which proved to be a mare heavy with foal, fell int our hands, and the last that was heard of this doughty hero he was floating down the Saint Francis, the solitary tenant of a dug-out, quite drunk and very melancholy. Upon information that a large force had arrived at Chalk Bluff, and were felling trees into the