and artillery) were marching from Helena toward Cotton Plant, either to capture [Arch. S.] Dobbin's regiment or destroy supplies at Cotton Plant. I supposed the enemy's movements were really intended to attack Dobbin's troops in the field or destroy his trains, which were on the east side of L'Anguille. I immediately dispatched a courier to Colonel Carter, commanding cavalry on Crowley's Ridge, not to cross the L'Anguille, but let the enemy cross the L'Anguille to him, and attack them as far as possible from Helena, and on the east side of the L'Anguille.
At 2 p. m. on the 10th, with Captain [Thomas C.] newton and a guide, [started for Carter's headquarters, and joined him near Mr. Croper's, on Crowley's Ridge, 7 miles from Wittsburg, on the Batesville and Memphis road.
This was about 3 p. m. the 11th. Carter's forces were then on the march toward Seaburn's Brigade. He informed me that his information from Dobbin was that the enemy (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) was about 1,800 men with six pieces of artillery; that they had encamped at Sweitzer's on the night of the 10th, and were marching to cross the L'Anguille at Seaburn's Bridge. Carter had sent a scout to the bridge, who at sunset reported the enemy as having crossed Seaburn's Bridge in force, and had encamped at Taylor's Creek, 4 miles east of the bridge. I advised Carter to dispatch immediately to Dobbin (who was near Hughs' Ferry, on the L'Anguille, and 25 miles below Seaburn's Bridge) to more his command with all possible dispatch up the L'Anguille on west side to Seaburn's Bridge; attack the enemy in rear; cross the bridge if the enemy had passed; destroy the bridge, and fall upon the enemy's rear. At the same time carter would attack them in front. This order was written by Colonel carter and sent to Dobbin by a staff officer. Colonel Carter reported to me that his strength was as follows: of his brigade, about 900 cavalry and Pratts battery (four pieces); [Colton] Greene's brigade, 500 mounted men, and two mountain pieces of artillery. I advised Carter also to order up immediately from the several camps (where his wagons were) all his armed men, mounted and dismounted, also Lieutenant-Colonel Chrisman (who was at Dobbin's wagon camp), with all of Dobbin's armed men. Dobbin reported to Carter that his force in the field was 500 or 600 men. From the best information I could get, I presumed the Federal force was not less than 1,500, and not exceeding 2,000, with four to six pieces of artillery. This information was based upon Dobbin's positive reports to Carter. Carter's Column encamped on the night of the 10th 4 miles from Taylor's Creek, a little town. This camp I reached about midnight.
A little after sun-up, the column moved against the enemy, and, between 9 and 10 o'clock on the 12th, Carter's advance (about half a mile ahead of the main column) engaged the enemy at Taylor's Creek, and were driven back by them. I was between the advance and the main column. The officer in the advance dispatched that he had engaged the enemy (cavalry, infantry, and artillery). I presumed that their whole force was there, and had every reason to believe so. I moved upon the enemy at the hour I did, that Dobbin might have further time to get into position, be ready for a simultaneously attack, destroy the bridge, and insure the enemy's capture, As soon as the advance was engaged, two pieces of artillery were ordered forward to support it and resist the enemy, who were advancing. At the same time I ordered all the other troops, except [D. C.] Giddings' Texas regiment, to dismount and form for battle. The whole was done with dispatch. The indications then were that the enemy knew of the forced movement, and were moving