the Bayou Pierre, we learned from a citizen that General [John S.] Bowen, in command of a small force, had disputed the road to Port Gibson, and was repulsed by an overwhelming force of the enemy, with heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and that, after crossing, he had destroyed the bridge over the Bayou Pierre opposite the town. We also learned that the enemy was advancing toward the ford, with the view of cutting off Bowen's retreat. The two regiments and battery with us were at once ordered to the ford, with directions to hold it. The admirable manner in which Colonel A. E. Reynolds performed this duty prevented the success of the flank movement.
Upon arriving at General Bowen's camp, between the Bayou Pierre and Grand Gulf, we learned that he had made a gallant defense, but was compelled to fall back as stated; that his re-enforcements came too late and in too small numbers to prevent the enemy from landing, and afterward advancing. His information satisfied him that they had a force of nearly 50,000, and that while a portion was threatening his fort a large command was marching to the Grindstone Ford for the purpose of turning him. I advised an immediate movement to save the command, then about 5,000 strong. General Bowen informed me that in this opinion he concurred, and had deferred the movement until my arrival. Time being all-important, at my request he issued orders for a speedy departure.
During the night I was informed that a dispatch had come directing what had already commenced. The admirable manner in which the orders were executed enabled the command to move out in good order with its baggage, destroying all else that could not be carried away. In the course of the early morning it reached the cross-roads, and soon after commenced the passage of Big Black River, in accordance with orders.
In the mean time the enemy was at the ford in heavy force, the command placed there holding them in check. General [Lloyd] Tilghman, with an additional brigade, was ordered to protect the column in its movement to the river, aided by General [S. D.] Lee. This was handsomely done, and we were enabled successfully to cross it. near here and on both sides of the river we found the remainder of [Carter L.] Stevenson's DIVISION. After all had crossed, my DIVISION was ordered to Bovina, near the railroad, where it arrived on May 4.
With respect, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
Colonel B. S. WELL,
Number 28. Reports of Brigadier General John S. Bowen, C. S. Army, commanding Confederate forces, with correspondence, &c. GRAND GULF, April 30, 1863.
Six gunboats, with two transports lashed to them, passed my batteries to-night between 9 and 10 o'clock. Enemy on Louisiana shore, below. Hurry up re-enforcements. My lines very much extended.
JNO. S. BOWEN,
42 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT. I