War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0697 Chapter XXXVI. SKIRMISHES AT CALEDONIA, ETC., La.

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troops without a bridge. I detailed Lieutenant Paetz, Company F, first Kansas, with as many men as could be worked to advantage, and instructed him to throw a bridge across the bayou at Old's Ferry. I was here joined by Company C, captain Reed; Company F, lieutenant Thompson, and Company K, Lieutenant Hutt, of the First Kansas.

At sun-up the next morning Lieutenant Paetz reported the bridge finished, and in twenty minutes the whole command passed over. I found the enemy strongly posted in Caledonia, at a brick-kiln to the left of Caledonia, and three other points, in heavy timber and negro quarters on the bluffs still to the left, extending one half mile below the bridge, and presenting a front of about 1 1/2 miles, and distant from the bayou 1 mile, over cleared bottom land, divided in the center longitudinally by Hill Bayou. I formed a line by placing Captain Zesch's squadron, composed of Companies G and I, and Lieutenant Mack's squadron, composed of Companies B and E, Captain Howard's squadron, composed of Companies A and H, on the right; Captain Reed's squadron, composed of Companies C and F, on the extreme left; and the Wisconsin infantry, commanded by Captain Wheeler, in the center, leaving Company K, lieutenant Hutt, to guard the bridge.

I then ordered Captain Wheeler to advance through a piece of detached woodland to dislodge any enemy that might be concealed there, and to advance his skirmishers to the Pin Hook road at the foot of the bluffs, to test the strength of the enemy in front of my center. This order was promptly obeyed, and the skirmishers of the enemy were driven from the road back upon his line of battle, formed at the edge of the timber, and his whole line of 300 men forced into the woods by the skirmishers of the glorious old SIXTEENTH without bringing into action any other portion of the detachment.

Being satisfied that Captain Wheeler, with Company K, of the First Kansas, could defend the bridge against any force that could be brought from that direction, I ordered Captain Zesch with his squadron to charge the enemy in Caledonia, and to turn his extreme left and take his other positions in flank and rear. This movement was most skillfully and successfully made, and sending Lieutenant Mack to his assistance, the two squadrons charged boldly over ditches and levees, made for drainage, but forming excellent rifle-pits, into the heavy timber on the bluffs, studded with negro quarters, and, coming down on the left flank of the enemy's positions on the bluff successively, soon dispersed his whole left wing.

Seeing the left of the enemy broken, I ordered Captain Howard's squadron to the extreme left, fronting the Pin Hook road, to charge the enemy in flank, should he retreat in that direction. Captain Reed dismounted one company of his squadron, and Company E, Lieutenant Cowan, having charged down the Pin Hook road to the right of Captain Wheeler's command, to advance in the timber across the road and force the enemy from this strong position.

This order was most satisfactorily obeyed by the lion-hearted men and brave officers in command, and in a few moments the whole force of the enemy was in full retreat across the hill country in the direction of Pin Hook, a place distant 9 miles from Caledonia and 3 miles WEST of the bayou. Understanding from prisoners that the enemy expected a re-enforcement of 1,500 men from Delhi, I determined to make a rapid dash upon Pin Hook, and to reach that place, if possible, before the arrival of re-enforcements and before the scattered forces of the enemy could rally and concentrate there.