War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0527 Chapter XXXIV. ADVANCE UPON LITTLE ROCK, ARK., ETC.

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ordered Shelby's brigade to report to me, and ordered me to hold my force in the vicinity of Brownsville, to guard the main approach (Wire road) to Little Rock.

The next morning, at sunrise, the enemy were reported advancing in force. I moved my two brigades (Shelby's, about 700 effective, and Marmaduke's, about 600 effective, with two pieces of artillery) forward to engage the enemy, Shelby's brigade in the advance. At this time Walker's brigade, commanded by Colonel [Archibald S.] Dobbin, was encamped some 10 miles southward of Brownsville, guarding another important approach from Clarendon to Little Rock. A sharp engagement ensued between the Federal force and my division. The Federals were under command of General [J. W.] Davidson, and consisted of about 6,000 cavalry and sixteen pieces of artillery. Being unable to meet the enemy's forces in a general engagement, I withdrew my command, retiring slowly through Brownsville toward Little Rock. The Yankees were exceedingly cautious in their pursuit. My rear guard, under Major [Benjamin] Elliott, a most excellent and brave officer, seized every opportunity to check the enemy's advance. After retiring some 4 miles, my division was ordered into position by Brigadier-General Walker, commanding the cavalry. At this time I was with my rear guard.

Upon my arrival at my new line of battle, I made all necessary preparations to check the enemy's advance. This was an important point, and absolutely necessary to hold, as Walker's brigade, troops and trains, would come into the main (Wire) road at this place, and they had not yet reached the junction. The enemy came upon me and were handsomely repulsed. They then commenced pushing their forces on my right and left, which forced me to retire. No farther pursuit was made. I received orders to encamp my division on and in the vicinity of Bayou Meto. The next day I withdrew my whole force, except scouts and pickets, to the south side of Bayou Meto.

On the morning of August 27, I advanced a light force, engaged the enemy's advance, and after brisk skirmishing my troops fell back to the main force.

My troops were disposed as follows: Shelby's brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel [B. Frank] Gordon, in line of battle above the bridge; Marmaduke's brigade, commanded by Colonel [William L.] Jeffers, (except [J. Q.] Burbridge's regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel [W. J.] Preston, which was held in reserve some half mile to the rear), below the bridge; [Joseph] Bledsoe's battery, on the main road, commanding the bridge, and [C. O.] Bell's section of artillery near the main road below the bridge, commanding the bridge and road leading to it. I should also add that immediately below the bridge and between my two brigades was formed Dobbin's regiment. The whole force, except Preston's regiment, was dismounted.

Davidson (commanding Federal forces) advanced his troops-cavalry and artillery, a part mounted, part dismounted-and came dashing down toward the bridge (which Lieutenant [John] Mhoon, of the engineer troops, had prepared for, and was now handsomely burning) and bayou. Suddenly artillery and small-arms opened upon them with deadly effect and caused a precipitate retreat. Soon the enemy formed their lines, brought up their artillery, and the fight continued until sunset, when the enemy, failing to occupy the river, retired after a heavy loss, leaving a number of their dead on the ground.

I was ordered to retire at dark to within 5 miles of Little Rock. My troops, until after the evacuation of Little Rock by our forces, were engaged in scouting and picketing.