we moved out and on the road leading toward Pine Bluff, and after a rapid march of some six hours, halted near the waters of the Saline River and foraged our animals. After a short rest, the command was again in saddle and moving as rapidly as the shadows of night and rough roads would permit, until near midnight, when the intense coldness drove many of the thinly clad soldiers to building fires by the roadside whenever in halt in front admitted of the delay. Cold, weary and sleepy, the march became tedious and irksome in the extreme. At length the bring burning morning star, blazing through a forest of wailing pines, admonished us of the morn's early coming. Soon the gray which precedes the dawn spread its mantle over the east, then rosy-fingered dawn brushed away each trembling star, and proclaimed the coming of the god of day and the world's bright, tranquil Sabbath morn.
"Close up and move up rapidly," was now echoed along the lines, and by 8 a. m. the command filed to the left, and, under Colonel [J. C.] Monroe, as commander of the division, took position up the river and above town. With any command remaining mounted, I placed one company, under Lieutenant [H. K.] Dollins, of my regiment, as flankers on the right of Colonel Monroe's brigade, which was dismounted, and the remainder took into position on his left, commanding all that portion of the grounds between him and the river. The enemy's cavalry, appearing in front, were hastily dislodged by our sharpshooters, and steadily driven behind their cotton-bale fortifications in and around the court-house. A large encampment was here taken possession of, containing tents, various articles of clothing, &c., with horses, mules, and wagons; also many negroes.
My command was now dismounted and marched to the front and formed in line of battle, resting my right on Colonel Monroe's left; but, being in the rear of a row of large buildings, we could effect nothing more than to keep up a running fire from our sharpshooters. In this position we remained until about noon, when we moved to the right, crossing one of the principal streets leading to and from the court-house, adown which the enemy continually rained a shower of balls from their long-range guns. Their artillery continued to play upon our positions, but without any effect. The town immediately in front of us and between our position and that of the enemy was fired, but by whom I know not. Families escaping from the burning buildings came to us, and were sent to the rear and out of danger. It now became evident from this standpoint of view that the capture the enemy would require a very great sacrifice and slaughter-far too great for sound judgment and discretion to sanction or justify.
At length we received orders to retire, which was done without any disorder or confusion, to the vicinity of the captured encampment, where every tent that could be taken on horseback was taken, besides a large amount of various kinds of clothing, and the remainder piled and burned. Gathering up the captured negroes, horses, and mules, we withdraw without further annoyance from the enemy, only having lost during the day John Beaty, private, Company A, [B. G.] Jeans' regiment, wounded in leg and brought off in safety.
With high esteem, major, I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. THOMPSON,
Colonel, Commanding Shelby's Brigade.
Major HENRY EWING,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Marmaduke's Division.