point selected for crossing, and to cover the crossing of the cavalry division to the south side of the river. The Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, Stange's and Lovejoy's howitzers, and Sand's Eleventh Ohio Battery were posted on each side of the bridge, around the semi-circular bend of the river at that point, in such a manner as to concentrate the fire of twenty guns on any point from which the bridge or crossing could be assailed by the enemy.
Clarkson's battery was sent to cover the feigned crossing of Colonel Ritter's brigade, at the ford 3 miles below the point selected for the bridge. This ford was defended by a rebel battery of four guns, posted behind a breastwork of cotton bales, and supported by a large force of cavalry dismounted.
The action at the ford commenced shortly after daylight, and continued about two hours, resulting in the retreat of the rebels from their position at this point; Lieutenant Clarkson having, with his four guns, posted in plain open ground, at a distance of less than 900 yards, nearly destroyed their cotton defenses, and compelled their battery to abandon its position with considerable loss.
About 8 a. m. the enemy moved a battery of four guns into position in the woods, about 800 yards from the bridge, and opened fire on the bridge with solid shot, hoping to destroy it. Before the smoke of the first discharge of their guns had scarcely reached the tops of the trees, which concealed their movements, twenty guns belched forth from their concealment on the north side of the river a stream of shell into the midst of their battery, compelling it to retire disabled, after firing only three shots, entirely harmless to us. This ended the opposition to our crossing. Immediately after the crossing of the infantry, for the purpose of taking possession of the woods on the opposite shore, Captain Stange, with his command of eight howitzers, including Lovejoy's, was ordered to cross and report to the commanding officer of the infantry on the south side of the river, until the arrival of Colonel Glover, commanding Second Brigade, cavalry division, when he would report with his command to Colonel Glover. This order was disobeyed, and Captain Stange moved forward toward Little Rock with his command, without any support, exposing his entire command to capture, and was stopped by Lieutenant-Colonel [H. C.] Caldwell, chief of staff, who overtook him over 1 mile ahead of the command, and peremptorily ordered him back with his command, to move with the Second Brigade. The Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery moved forward toward Little Rock at the head of the First Brigade. Clarkson's battery moved up from the ford with Colonel Ritter's brigade, and crossed at the bridge. Fearing some disaster might occur to the howitzers, in the advance, and knowing from past experience that, where artillery was plenty, too much was expected of it, with your permission I sent an order to Captain Stange to fall back to the rear of the Second Brigade with six of his pieces, and leave Lieutenant Lovejoy in the advance guard with two pieces. This order either failed to reach its destination or was disobeyed. Hearing heavy firing in the advance some time after, I hurried forward with the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, and found our advance checked at Fourche Bayou by two rebel batteries, strongly posted, covering the roads leading to the city across the bayou, and supported by a large force of infantry and cavalry.
I found on my arrival at this point that the howitzers under Captain Stange, supported by the Tenth Illinois Cavalry, had advanced along the woods next to the Arkansas River, past the mouth of Fourche Bayou, and taken a position within a short distance of an ambushed