The enemy retreated over both these routes, leaving a battery and several regiments of infantry at the former to prevent a reconstruction of the bridge.
One brigade under General Stevenson was detached to drive the enemy from this position, or occupy his attention, and a heavy detail set to work under Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson and Captain Tresilian, to reconstruct the bridge over the others. This work was accomplished; a bridge and roadway over 120 feet long made, and the whole of McPherson's two DIVISIONS marched over before night. This corps then marched 8 miles to North Fork of Bayou Pierre, rebuilt a bridge over that stream, and was on the march by 5. 30 this a. m. Soon after crossing the bayou, our troops were opened on by the artillery of the enemy. It was soon demonstrated that this was only intended to cover the retreat of the main army. On arriving at Willow Springs, General McPherson was directed to hold the position from there on to the Big Black with one DIVISION, and General McClernand on his arrival to join him in this duty.
I immediately started for this place with one brigade of Logan's DIVISION and some 20 cavalrymen. The brigade of infantry was left about 7 miles from here, contrabands and prisoners taken having stated that the last of the retreating enemy had passed that point. The woods between here and the crossing of the Big Black are evidently filled yet with detachments of the enemy and some of the artillery. I am in hopes many of them will be picked up by our forces.
Our loss will not exceed 150 killed and 500 wounded. * The enemy's loss is probably about the same. We have, however, some 500 of their men prisoners, and may yet pick up many more. Many stragglers, particularly from the Missouri troops, no doubt have fallen out and will never join their regiments again.
The move by Bruinsburg undoubtedly took the enemy much by surprise. General [John S.] Bowen's (the rebel commander) defense was a very bold one and well carried out. My force, however, was too heavy for his, and composed of well-disciplined and hardy men, who know no defeat, and are not willing to learn what it is.
This army is in the finest health and spirits. Since leaving Milliken's Bend they have marched as much by night as by day, through mud and rain, without tents or much other baggage, and on irregular rations, without a complaint, and with less straggling than I have ever before witnessed.
Where all have done so nobly it would be out of place to make invidious distinction.
The country will supply all the forage required for anything like an active campaign, and the necessary fresh beef. Other supplies will have to be drawn from Milliken's Bend. This is a long and precarious route, but I have every confidence in succeeding in doing it.
I shall not bring my troops into this place, but immediately follow the enemy, and, if all promises as favorable hereafter as it does now, not stop until Vicksburg is in our possession.
Admiral Porter left here this morning for the mouth of Red River. A letter from Admiral Farragut says that Banks has defeated Taylor and captured about 2,000 prisoners.
Colonel Grierson's raid from LA Grange through Mississippi has been the most successful thing of the kind since the breaking out of the rebellion. He was 5 miles south of Pontotoc on April 19. The next
*But see revised statement, p. 582.
3 R R-VOL XXIV, PT I