War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0350 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

DIVISION, Thirteenth Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee, Young's Point, La., February 13, 1863, this brigade embarked on transports on the morning of the 14th instant, and moved to Greenville, which place we reached at 10 a. m. of the 16th instant. I immediately disembarked my command, and moved out on the Vicksburg road to the plantation of Smith and Hood, on Deer Creek, 7 1/2 miles from Greenville. At this point I learned that the rebel force, consisting of six pieces of artillery and a force of cavalry and infantry, variously estimated at from 300 to 1,000, had passed this place, going toward Bolivar, 20 miles distant. As the roads were almost impassable, in consequence of rain, which had been falling since we left our transports, the command rested here and returned to the boats next morning.

On the morning of the 18th, I moved the fleet to Cypress Bend, where, but a few days previous, a transport had been fired into, and on the morning of the 19th started a detachment of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, under Major [Bacon] Montgomery and Captain Chambers, and about 50 infantry, mounted on mules. About 4 miles from the river they encountered a small picket force and drove it to their camp, killing 1 and capturing the lieutenant in command. Six miles farther on they encountered a battery, which opened upon them from the opposite bank of Boggy Bayou, which at this point runs nearly parallel with the river, and connects with Cypress Bayou 8 miles from the point where our transports were. There is another bayou which flows into Boggy Bayou at the place where the battery was planted.

Major Montgomery had retired to the banks of Cypress Bayou, and was engaging a small force of the enemy from the opposite bank of the stream when the advance of the infantry came up. I immediately threw the Twenty-THIRD Wisconsin into line and opened fire upon them, but they were not dislodged until a few rounds of canister had been fired into them. I could not ascertain definitely their loss from this fire. Before the infantry came up, they had lost 2 men killed and 3 horses. We lost the same number of horses. I then moved my command to the point where the artillery had been in the morning. I had some difficulty in crossing at this point, as they had taken the skiff and ferry-boat up the other bayou, and I was compelled to send men over after them on temporary rafts. After shelling the enemy from the bank with two pieces of the SEVENTEENTH Ohio Battery, a private of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry attempted to swim it, and reached the opposite bank, but was compelled to return on account of the enemy's fire. Night came on, and I was compelled to halt the command for want of sufficient knowledge of the roads.

On the morning of the 20th, a gun, which they were compelled to abandon, and had concealed in the canebrake, was brought in by the cavalry. The gun is a 12-pounder howitzer, stamped U. S., 1828/

Hearing from three deserters, who came in to us on the morning of the 20th, that the enemy had gone beyond our reach, I returned to the transports, and remained there that night, intending to drop down next morning to Perkins' Landing, 4 miles from Cypress Bend, where I had heard I could, by road leading into the Bolivar and Vicksburg road, cut off the retreat of Colonel [S. W.] Ferguson's force, and compel him to give battle or surrender; but the weather was so inclement that I remained at Cypress Bend, while Captain Sutherland, of the steam ram Monarch, went up to Bolivar to hear of the location of the enemy. He reported that the whole force had left Bolivar the day previous and had returned to the vicinity of Greenville.

The rain continuing to fall, the next day, February 22, I took the