a skirmish, lasting about one hour. The two companies of infantry finally succeeded in driving them from their cover, with a loss, on the part of the rebels, of 1 man.
As soon as the skirmishers were over, I immediately prepared to build the two bridges, which I found would take a great deal longer than it had to build the two formed ones, as the bayous were much wider and current much stronger. I detailed Captain Peckinpaugh, of the Forty-NINTH Indiana Volunteers, to superintend the building of these bridges, and I must compliment him for the good judgment displayed in working his men to the best advantage. We were not so well supplied with tools as we should have been for the task, and had not a rope or anything necessary for building the bridges after they were put in the stream. I detailed a few men from the cavalry, who in a short time, from their experience in foraging, had a supply of ropes and tools. It required all of the 26th and 27th to complete these two bridges.
I sent Major Hawke, with two companies of the Forty-NINTH Indiana and two from the One hundred and fourteenth Ohio, to cross Clark's Bayou and make a reconnaissance a few miles in our front, which he did in a successful manner. He found that Harrison had left the road to Hard Times Landing and crossed Choctaw Bayou, which empties into Lake Bruin about 2 miles from the road that we were to march on the next day.
We completed the bridges on the 27th, and I received orders from you to be at Hard Times Landing early the next day.
I left our bivouac on the morning of the 28th, leaving a sergeant and 10 men at each of the bridges as a guard. I sent two companies of cavalry, under command of Major Marsh, to leave the road and find out whether Harrison was still in the position he held the evening previous. I soon received word from him that he had found the enemy, and that he could not move him from the point he held. I immediately sent Major Bush in that direction. He had not been gone but a short time until I heard artillery firing. I left the road with my command, determined to drive him from the point he held, for I was fearful that as soon as we passed he would recross the bayou and destroy the bridges we had just built. I moved on, and soon came in sight of my cavalry, which were held at bay by the enemy's artillery. I halted my command, and went forward to reconnoiter and find out the position of the enemy, and found he had his four pieces of artillery in position. I found that Choctaw Bayou was a small stream about 60 feet wide. On the point of land into the angle where the bayou connected with Lake Bruin he had four pieces of artillery in battery. The only approach I had to the point was over a field that was open, and without stump or tree that would cover my skirmishers, with Lake Bruin on my left and the backwater from the bayou on my right, which left a strip of land about 500 yards wide and narrowing down to about 200 yards at the point and on the opposite side from the enemy's battery. His battery was supported on the right cavalry, which made quite a formidable appearance. I found that I could not use my infantry or cavalry to any advantage. At first I had my doubts whether with my two pieces I had that I could move him from his position. I formed my two pieces I had that I could move him from his position. I formed my two regiments of infantry in column of DIVISION, and deployed four companies forward as skirmishers, and placed one piece of artillery on the bank of the lake, where it had a fine range, and in open view of the enemy's battery. The other piece I posted in the field, where it had an excellent range. I then ordered Lieutenant Stillman to open fire upon them with his artillery, and advanced my line of skirmishers,