War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0695 Chapter XXXVI. SKIRMISHES AT CALEDONIA, ETC., La.

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fore determined to withdraw the whole of the First Kansas Mounted Infantry from the plantations below Providence and concentrate them on Old River, knowing there could be no danger to the plantations whilst the enemy was so far north.

On the morning of the 8th. Captain Zesch, with sic companies of the First Kansas, succeeded in reaching the bayou, and crossed some 20 of his men, under command of Lieutenant Thompson, on a raft, near Caledonia. Here he found the enemy in too great force and too strongly posted to risk anything more than a reconnaissance, and fell back to camp on Old River to await re-enforcements.

On the evening of the 8th instant, I sent Major Roberts to take command, and sent forward 100 men from the SIXTEENTH Wisconsin, under Captain Wheeler, by steamer, to Old River, and also sent forward three additional companies from the First Kansas, leaving one company at this place.

Major Roberts moved from Old River with the command on the morning of the 9th, and built a bridge over Bayou Macon during the day, and crossed over on the morning of the 20th, when he met the enemy in the most gallant manner, d riving them from their positions at Caledonia and pursuing them to their cover in log-houses at Pin Hook, killing 4 of their men and taking 2 prisoners, besides wounding a number. As the enemy could not be dislodged without artillery, the expedition returned to the bayou, and remained on the other side until the afternoon of the 11th without further encountering the enemy.

The First Regiment of Arkansas Volunteers, of African descent, under Colonel Wood, arrived here from Helena on the evening of the 10th, and I moved them and 50 men of the SIXTEENTH Wisconsin during the night to Old River, to be within supporting distance in case the fight should be continued on the 11th, but met a dispatch from Major Roberts which rendered it unnecessary to move them farther.

I crossed Bayou Macon to our troops on the other side of the bayou on the morning of the 11th, and, finding that nothing more could be done without artillery, recrossed during the day, destroyed the bridge, and brought the troops to Providence, except four companies of the First Kansas, left at Old River to watch the movements of the enemy.

Major Roberts, of the First Kansas, deserves great credit for the masterly manner in which he executed my orders in this attack, having accomplished everything that was expected of him. Captain Zesch, of the same regiment, is also entitled to praise for the sill and prudence with which he managed his part of the command. Captain Wheeler, of the SIXTEENTH Wisconsin, led his men against the enemy in gallant style, and both officers and men of these two regiments acted with great bravery, and deserve high commendation. For further details I refer your to the report of Major Roberts, herewith inclosed. The present disposition of the troops under my command is as follows: Four companies First Kansas at Old River; two companies at Wilton's; three at Bass' plantation, 4 miles below Providence, and one at this place. The SIXTEENTH Wisconsin, First Arkansas, and Eight Louisiana Volunteers, of African descent, at this place, land the Tenth Louisiana, of African descent, at Goodrich'the commissioners.

The Eighth Louisiana has been mustered into the service, and six, if not seven, companies of the Tenth Louisiana. Both these regiments are improving rapidly in drill, and are partially armed, and I hope to have them fully armed and equipped in a few days, as requisitions have gone forward. I have also sent for some artillery, which I hope to get from Helen General - is said to be in command at