War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0571 Chapter XXXVI. EXPEDITION TO HARD TIMES LANDING, La., ETC.

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APRIL 25-29, 1863. -Expedition to Hard Times Landing, La., with skirmishes (26th) at Phelps' and Clark's Bayous, and (28th) at Choctaw Bayou, or Lake Bruin.

Report of Colonel James Keigwin, Forty-NINTH Indiana Infantry, commanding Detachment of NINTH DIVISION, Thirteenth Army Corps. *


CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report:

On April 24, I received orders to be in readiness to command a distance of the NINTH DIVISION, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance on the Lake Saint Joseph road to a point opposite the mouth of Bayou Pierre, for the purpose of ascertaining whether a practicable road could be found at or near that point that would let us in position on the flank or in rear of Grand Gulf; also for the purpose of capturing or dispersing the command of Major [I. F.] Harrison, which was on this road.

On the morning of the 25th, at 6 o'clock, I left camp at Perkins' plantation, La. The detachment consisted of the Forty-NINTH Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Thornton commanding; One hundred and fourteenth Ohio, Colonel Cradlebaugh; a detachment of the SECOND Illinois Cavalry, Major Bush commanding, and one section of Captain Lanphere's Michigan battery, Lieutenant Stillman commanding. We moved on the Lake Saint Joseph road about 4 miles; we came to Holt's Bayou, and found that the rebels had burned the bridge. I detailed 100 men from each of the infantry regiments to assist Lieutenant-Colonel Beekman, of the One hundred and twentieth Ohio Infantry, who had been sent with us for the purpose of building bridges.

We soon had our men at work, and in a few hours had a bridge across the bayou, which was about 80 feet wide. I moved the cannon across and marched about 1 mile, and came to Durassett Bayou, which is about 120 feet wide, and was bank-full, with a stiff current. The bridge having been burned by the rebels a few days before, I detailed Lieutenant James Fullyard, of the Forty-NINTH Indiana Volunteers, to superintend the building of the bridge, which I found would have to be well built, on account of the strength of the current and width of the stream, and by the skillful management and industry of Lieutenant Fullyard and his men he completed the bridge that night and had all things ready for us to cross next morning.

At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 26th, we crossed the bridge and moved on. I left a guard of 1 sergeant and 10 men at each bridge to prevent any small party of the rebels from destroying them. We marched about 5 miles over a beautiful road, and came in sight of Phelps' Bayou, where we found the bridge had just been burned, and a rebel picket standing on the opposite side of the bayou, and between this and Clark's Bayou, which was only about 400 yards distant, on the opposite side of which I discovered Major Harrison's command, consisting of about 400 cavalry and four pieces of artillery. My advance guard fired a few shots at the rebel pickets, which drove them from the neck of land between the two bayous. I ordered my artillery forward, and threw a few shells into the rebel camp, which caused them to saddle up and leave in the greatest confusion. They left a few dismounted men under the cover of a hedge near the bank of the bayou, who kept up a fire on us until I sent two companies of infantry across to drive them away, which caused quite


*See map with Tunica's report (Number 8), p. 188.