General Osterhaus learned from two prisoners, taken by our forces, and from an intelligent negro, who made his escape from the enemy, that the enemy had out three regiments and a battalion of 450 cavalry, for the purpose of capturing our forces at James' plantation, on the Mississippi, below New Carthage, intending to take the picket at Dunbar's by surprise and then to proceed by Smith's and New Carthage and into the rear of our forces at James', which waited the success of the flanking movement by Dunbar's, but his repulse defeated the whole scheme. The enemy is doubtless much annoyed by our holding possession of New Carthage and James' plantation. We had 2 wounded, 1 mortally. We are unable to ascertain the casualties on the enemy's side. One of the prisoners is from Pulaski County, Illinois. They were sent in by General Osterhaus. Three or four men who were suffered by the officer of the pickets to go out of the lines to sleep are MISSING, and are believed to be captured; the matter is under investigation. It is indispensable to our plans to hold New Carthage, and yet it would place it and the two regiments at James' plantation in imminent peril if attacked by the enemy's gunboats.
And while closing this communication, I am informed that a black looking, supposed to be a rebel ram, showed herself for a moment around the point below New Carthage this evening. This makes it vital that the gunboats should afford protection to our position at New Carthage without delay. The major-general commanding has just learned that firing is heard some considerable distance below New Carthage.
Your most obedient servant,
WALTER B. SCATES,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General
Lieutenant Colonel John A. RAWLINS,
Report of Brigadier General John S. Bowen, C. S. Army, commanding at Grand Gulf.
GRAND GULF, April 15, 1863.
Colonel [F. M.] Cockrell had a skirmish to-day, killing 2, wounding 3, and capturing 4 of the enemy, releasing a major and a number of women and children held in their lines; also retaking over 100 negroes; captured 5 or 6 horses and equipage .
No loss on our side.
JNO. S. BOWEN,
32 R R-VOL XXIV, PT. I