On the morning of the 26th, Lieutenant-Colonel Young's battalion, supported by General Marmaduke's escort, Captain [J. W.] Porter's company, of Burbridge's regiment, and Lieutenant Bell's battery, were ordered to reconnoiter and feel the enemy while the brigade moved across the bayou, along the bank of which Jeffers' regiment was dismounted and drawn up in line of battle. Burbridge's regiment was ordered half mile in the rear to act as reserve. Lieutenant-Colonel Young firmly contested in many skirmishes the advance of the enemy, and encamped that night on the east bank of Bayou Meto.
On the morning of the 27th, Jeffers' regiment was thrown forward beyond the camp of the night before, engaged the enemy with sharpshooters, and, thus fighting, fell slowly back across the bayou. Young's battalion was placed on the extreme right of the brigade; Jeffers' regiment and four companies under Major [D.] Smith, from Burbridge' regiment, in the center, and Bell's battery on the left in the road, commanding the bridge. The enemy attempting to cross at Shallow Ford, were met and driven back by Young's battalion. They then advanced with their whole force in line directly in front of the brigade, and, when arrived at the bayou, were met with a terrific fire that drove them, crippled and disordered, back. Bell's battery engaged the enemy's artillery with great success, driving it from every position by well-aimed shots, during which engagement the gallant Lieutenant Bell was mortally wounded by a shell. The fight raged more or less intense during the day, and ended in great loss and discomfiture to the enemy. As near as could be ascertained, the enemy's force exceeded 4,000.
On the morning of the 28th, I was relieved of the command of the brigade and ordered to proceed with my regiment to a point across and 8 miles down the Arkansas River from Little Rock. As I was not possessed of a brigade book, in which to note down movements, actions, &c., of the brigade, I have been forced to rely chiefly upon reports of commanders of regiments and battalions, all incomplete and frequently conflicting, which makes it impossible to furnish the facts in detail or make the report as complete as you desire. Believing, however, that the most important facts are properly set forth, I beg leave to submit them.*
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. L. JEFFERS,
Major HENRY EWING,
Asst. Adjt. General, Marmaduke's Div., Missouri Vol. Cav.
DECEMBER 3, 1863.
MAJOR: In obedience to the order from division headquarters, requiring a report of marches, camps, actions, &c., of Marmaduke's brigade during the time occupied between the fight at Bayou Fourche and the arrival of the troops at Rockport, I beg leave to make the following report:
For several days prior to September 10, this brigade was engaged in picketing the different roads leading to the fortifications at Little Rock. At sunrise on the morning of the 10th, the brigade, with the exception of Colonel [S. G.] Kitchen's regiment, which was directed to remain on the north side of the Arkansas River, was ordered to leave the forks of the Brownsville and Shallow Ford roads (at which point we had
*For casualties, see p. 523.