On the 3rd, the regiment, marching at the head of the brigade on the left road, following a retreating column of the enemy, picked up a number of stragglers as prisoners. The skirmishers, under Captain Hills, Company D, in advance of the regiment, reached the temporary bridge over the Big Black Ferry while a scouting party of the enemy was in the act of destroying the bridge. We drove them off. I crossed the bridge, and found their implements - 14 axes, 2 spades, 1 adze, 1 augur, several coils of rope and chains, all of which I had brought in and kept under guard till relieved by company of the Thirtieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
There are no casualties to report.
The fire of the party at the ferry struck one man, who fell into the river, and is supposed to be killed; another, supposed killed (he was carried off by his comrades), and struck a THIRD.
A statement of prisoners taken is appended. * The continuous forced march for nine days, with loss of sleep and sore feet, together with the feeling that they only marched while others fought, told severely on the men on the 3rd . But as soon as the word was given that an enemy was in front, and the firing of skirmishers was heard, every eye lighted up. We pushed forward, and then with eager alacrity they showed the utmost cheerful fortitude, which Napoleon accounts as the first virtue of a soldier.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. F. FORCE,
Colonel, commanding Twentieth Ohio Volunteers.
Lieutenant J. C. DOUGLAS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Number 25. Report of Brigadier General John D. Stevenson, U. S. Army, commanding THIRD Brigade. HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier, THIRD DIV., SEVENTEENTH A. C., Crossing Big Black River, Mississippi, May 6, 1863.
MAJOR: I herewith submit a report of the part taken by my command in the recent battle of Thompson's Hill and the skirmishes of the subsequent days.
On the night of the 30th of April, having crossed to the east bank of the Mississippi, Bruinsburg, I received orders to move with all speed in the direction of Port Gibson with my entire command. Accordingly, at 7 a. m. on the 1st instant, I commenced the march, my command consisting of the Eighth Illinois Infantry, and De Golyer's Eighth Michigan Battery, aggregating 1,850 infantry and four James' rifles, 6-pounders, and two 12-pounder howitzers. The day being intensely hot, the men necessarily suffered much on the march, but the continuous cannonading in front, distinctly heard, seemed to inspire the entire command, so that a distance of 15 miles was accomplished about 12 m.
Reporting to Major General John A. Logan, was ordered to the front, some 2 miles distant, to report to Major General John A. McClernand. This
*A total of 56.