to make a long detour through the swamp. When I reached them it was to find that they had fought their way, step by step, for more than 6 miles, without the support of a single man, with the enemy's constantly increasing force of cavalry in front, flank, and rear of them, so that they would sometimes have to fire in three directions at once; that they had recaptured the entire baggage train of the command, as well as their caissons, which had been started on ahead at the first approach of the enemy; that they had compelled the enemy to abandon a number of prisoners, including their caisson drivers, and that they had brought off everything safely except two or three wagons, upset in the stampede. By burning the bridges behind them they arrested the pursuit of the cavalry.
I cannot praise too highly the cool and gallant conduct of this little band. In this hurried report much that is deserving of mention must be omitted. I crossed in a small flat all the artillery, &c., over Bogue Pheliah on the night of the 23rd and the morning of the 24th, but was there in a position from which I could not retreat with wheels, and where I did not have two acres of dry ground for the whole command, so I procured three flats and one flat-boat; took possession of the steamer Emma Bett, which came up for corn, and got all wagons and artillery on board ready to move at a moment's notice, ordering the portion of the cavalry with me (23 in number and the artillery horses and wagon teams across the swamp to the Sunflower River, at Klein's Ferry. On information, which seemed authentic, that the enemy were advancing on me, I started down the Bogue on the night of the 24th for Colonel Latham's plantation, on Sunflower. When everything was fairly and safely started, I left the boat, with orders after landing to go to Klein's for the animals, and rejoined the cavalry, still on Deer Creek, for important reasons. Finding that the enemy have gone off, I have sent to recall all my force to Deer Creek, but fear the execution of this may be delayed some time from the flood of water which has fallen since yesterday. I have sent a flag of truce to communicate with Captain E. W. Sutherland, and will report more fully at the earliest practicable moment.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
Major J. J. REEVE,
NEAR GREENVILLE, WASHINGTON COUNTY,
February 28, 1863.
MAJOR: Your favor of 23rd instant has just come to hand. I have to report that I am here with a small party waiting to communicate, by flag of truce, with the ram Monarch, instructions of the 20th instant direct from Lieutenant-General Pemberton. My future movements will depend in a great measure on the result of the desired interview.
In the mean time I am collecting scattered cavalry, and have ordered the artillery to camp on Deer Creek, near Colonel Falls', and recruit their exhausted animals. I am so continually in the saddle that I cannot prepare a careful report of the recent engagement. A very hurried one will accompany this.
As far as I can ascertain, my loss is 7 prisoners, 2 men wounded and