river as a support. These dispositions having been made, an advance was ordered, when the enemy, after a slight resistance, fell back on the road to Hankinson's Ferry, and the cross-roads at the
post-office were gained. At this point Logan's DIVISION was directed to take the road to Grand Gulf, and General Crocker's DIVISION to pursue the retreating enemy. The latter DIVISION had proceeded but a short distance before it became engaged with the enemy's skirmishers, who seemed disposed to contest the ground with great pertinacity. The face of the country was very much broken, with almost impassable ravines filled with trees and a dense undergrowth, and narrow, tortuous roads, offering great facilities to the enemy to cover his retreat, and of which he availed himself to the best advantage.
The skirmishing was kept up with more or less activity until 4 p. m., when the appearance of Logan's DIVISION on the enemy's right flank caused him to move precipitately toward the ferry, followed closely by the SECOND Brigade, General Dennis, who reached it just as the last of them were crossing, and in time to capture some of their pioneer tools and prevent the destruction of the bridge. It being now nearly dark, and the enemy driven across the Big Black, the pursuit was discontinued and the troops disposed in the best defensive position for the night. The command remained in camp at Hankinson's Ferry three days, from the 4th to the 6th inclusive, the time being employed in getting up supplies of provisions and ammunition and in reconnoitering the country. The result of the reconnaissances demonstrated that the main portion of the enemy retreated across the river at this point, and were concentrating at Bovina Station, near the Big Black, on the Jackson and Vicksburg Railroad.
At 10 a. m. on the 7th, marched to Rocky Springs, Lagan's DIVISION in the advance, followed by Crocker's, and remained in camp at Rocky Springs on the 8th.
On the 9th, marched toward Raymond, via Utica, and encamped at Utica Cross-Roads, 7 miles form the latter place, Crocker's DIVISION in the advance. The Sixth Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Clark Wright, having reported to me at Hankinson's Ferry, was directed to push forward in advance toward Utica, and especially to scour the country in my front and on my right flank, and ascertain, if possible, if there was any movement of troops from Port Hudson. Shortly after arriving in camp, a report was received from Colonel Wright that he was occupying the town of Utica, and had been skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, but would hold his position.
On the 10th, marched to Utica Crocker's DIVISION in the advance, and reached the town about 12 m. Found Colonel Wright's cavalry there; but nothing indicating any material force of the enemy in the immediate vicinity, the command was halted one hour to rest, and then moved on to Weeks' plantation, where we encamped for the night. Colonel Wright was ordered to proceed with his cavalry in a southeasterly direction across Tallahala Creek, make a detour, and, if possible, capture 150 rebel cavalry who were reported to be at the bridge across this creek, on the Gallatin road, and having accomplished this, or, at least, driven them away, with the main portion of his command to make a bold push and cut the telegraph and railroad near Crystal Springs, on the New Orleans and Jackson road, both of which were successfully accomplished, the cavalry returning safely to camp the next night, having marched over 50 miles in sixteen hours and performed its work.
On the 11th, the command marched to Roach's plantation, at the crossing of the Gallatin road, Logan's DIVISION in the advance. At this