War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0443 Chapter XXXVI. THE STEELE'S BAYOU EXPEDITION, ETC.

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Numbers 6.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Americus V. Rice, FIFTY-Seventh Ohio Infantry, commanding regiment and SECOND Brigade.


Young's Point, La., March 28, 1863.

COLONEL: Agreeably to your order on March 19, I took command of the SECOND Brigade, SECOND DIVISION, Fifteenth Army Corps, it being at the time on the march from Eagle Bend to Steele's Bayou. I disposed the brigade along Steele's Bayou and Muddy Bayou to the best possible advantage, where we remained until 12 m. March 21. At this time you returned from a reconnaissance up the bayou, and put the FIFTY-fourth and FIFTY-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the steamer Eagle, the Eighty-THIRD Indiana on the Silver Wave, and the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois on the Diligent. That evening the brigade arrived at Hill's plantation, on the Black Bayou.

On the morning of the 22nd, by the order of Major General W. T. Sherman, I again assumed command of the SECOND Brigade. At 8 o'clock, by order of General Sherman, I put the brigade in line of march, following the First Brigade, the FIFTY-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry in advance. We marched up the east bank of Deer Creek about 10 miles, when I heard brisk firing by the advance guard of the First Brigade, also several shots from the gunboats, some 4 miles ahead, replied to by a battery from the enemy. The FIFTY-fourth Ohio, commanded by Major C. W. Fisher, after loading, moved forward in quick time till it came up with the First Brigade, which had now filed to the right in an open woods, and formed line of battle with skirmishers in front. I had the FIFTY-fourth Ohio immediately join the left of the First Brigade in line of battle, and Major Fisher moved forward his right company as skirmishers, until it arrived in a line with the skirmishers of the First Brigade.

At this time General Sherman came up, and by his direction the left of the FIFTY-fourth was placed in the road along the east bank of Deer Creek. The one hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel Eldridge commanding, came close in support, followed by the Eighty-THIRD Indiana, Captain Myers commanding, and the FIFTY-seventh Ohio, Captain McClure commanding. The line now moved forward, driving the enemy's skirmishers, with but little resistance, for about 1 mile, when we came to an open field. The enemy had disappeared to the right in the woods. Company A, FIFTY-fourth, was sent forward to the houses on the plantation which we had come to. The FIFTY-fourth again moved by the right flank and the rest of the brigade followed. On coming up to the houses, we met the Eight and Sixth Missouri, and One hundred and SIXTEENTH Illinois, and the gunboats on their retrograde movement, much pleased that we had come to their assistance, for they were in a critical situation, the enemy having surrounded them. The FIFTY-fourth Ohio was ahead 1 mile, to relieve six companies of the Sixth and Eight Missouri, which were guarding the rear gunboats on their way down the creek. The move down the river was continued. General Sherman ordered me to protect the gunboats on their way down. I placed the FIFTY-seventh in advance, opposite the Louisville, the Eighty-THIRD Indiana and One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois in the interior, and the FIFTY-fourth came up after the