of the SECOND Illinois Cavalry, under Major Marsh, and the Forty-NINTH Indiana and the One hundred and fourteenth Ohio Infantry, together with a section of artillery, all under command of Colonel Keigwin, to reconnoiter the country between Perkins' and the mouth of Bayou Pierre, and to examine into the practicability of expediting the general movement by marching troops across the country to the mouth of that stream. The expedition was frequently interrupted by rebel cavalry, but not until reaching a point on the WEST side of Bruin's Lake did it meet any considerable resistance. Here the cavalry of the enemy, 600 or 700 strong, with several pieces of masked cannon, drawn up in line of battle on the opposite side of Choctaw Bayou, made a resolute stand, A desultory fight, however, of four hours served to dislodge him and leave us master of the field. Thence the detachment continued its march to Hard Times, 15 miles below Perkins' and 3 miles above Grand Gulf; thence the cavalry marched across Coffee Point to D'Schron's plantation, 3 miles below Grand Gulf, and on to a point opposite Bruinsburg, the landing for Port Gibson, 12 miles below Grand Gulf, thus demonstrating the existence of a practicable land route from Perkins' to a point opposite Bruinsburg. The whole or a portion of the SEVENTEENTH Army Corps afterwards followed to D'Schron's, and so the Fifteenth as far as Hard Times.
Having concentrated my whole corps at Perkins', on the 28th, without wagons, baggage, tents, or officers' horses, which were left behind for want of means of river transportation, the whole of it, except the detachment at Hard Times and two regiments ordered to remain at Perkins' as a garrison, embarked on steamers and barges, including the gunboat General Price, for Grand Gulf. Arriving at Hard Times that evening, they rested there during the night on boats and on shore.
The ATTACK ON GRAND GULF.
On the morning of the 29th, the gunboats steamed 3 miles down the river to Grand Gulf, and, closely approaching the enemy's batteries, opened fire upon them. The NINTH, Tenth, ISIONS of my corps followed on transports, casting anchor in full view of the Gulf, and holding themselves in readiness to push forward and disembark the moment the enemy's water batteries should be silenced and a footing for them thus secured. General Carr's DIVISION remained at Hard Times, waiting for the return of transports to bring them on, too. At the termination of a daring and persistent bombardment of five and a half hours, the enemy's principal batteries had not been silenced, several of the gunboats had been crippled, and all of them were drawn off. Returning to Hard Times, the NINTH, Tenth, and Twelfth DIVISIONS disembarked, and, together with the Fourteenth DIVISION, crossed over the point opposite Grand Gulf that evening and night to D'Schron's. The same night the gunboats, transports, and barges ran the blockade at Grand Gulf and landed at D'Schron's.
If the attack upon Grand Gulf had succeeded, it would have secured either or both of two objects: First, a base for operations against the rear of Vicksburg, and, secondly, safety in re-enforcing General Banks, at Port Hudson. But failing, it became important to gain a footing at some other favorable point. The reconnaissance made by my cavalry, in pursuance of your order, indicated Bruinsburg to be that point. Hence, embarking on the morning of the 30th, my corps immediately proceeded to that place, and disembarked before noon, only halting long enough to draw and distribute three days' rations.