I called in the skirmishers and moved on with my command to the crossing of the Big Black River, where we bivouacked, near Hankinson's Ferry.
In this skirmish I have to report the following casualties: Killed, Private Eli Faucette, and, mortally wounded, James W. Van Slyke, Company E, FIFTY-NINTH Indiana. Several of the officers and men of all the regiments sustained slight injuries, which scarcely can be called wounds.
While my command remained at Hankinson's Ferry, the greatest effort was made to procure rations; but there being no transportation, the command was compelled to leave with only two days' rations on hand.
On the 9th, the brigade moved with the balance of the DIVISION to Utica Cross-Roads, a distance of 12 miles, without opposition, and on the 10th marched 10 miles, through Utica and along the Raymond road, and on the following day moved forward 1 1/2 miles, and formed in order of battle on a ridge, in a favorable position for defense. My command was entirely out of rations at this time, except what could be gathered from the country, and so remained until the evening of the 17th, at which time the regimental teams came up from Grand Gulf.
On the morning of the 12th, my command marched at 9 a. m., leading the Seventh DIVISION and following General Logan's DIVISION. Shortly after noon heavy cannonading in front announced that the advance had fallen upon the enemy. My command was kept closed up as closely as possible to the rear of the THIRD DIVISION, and after the lapse of an hour or two, I received an order from General Crocker, commanding the DIVISION, to move forward immediately and form on the left of General Logan's DIVISION. To arrive at the position indicated it was necessary to pass through a dense thicket of trees, brush, and vines, and then cross a clearing about 100 yards. It would seem that the enemy had formed the design of turning the left of our line, and had massed his infantry accordingly, and had planted his batteries so as completely to command this thicket and clearing, in order to prevent the left from being supported. As soon as my command commenced moving forward to form on the left, the enemy opened as heavy a fire as possible with his artillery upon me, but the formation was made in double-quick time, and my whole line moved up to within about 30 yards of our front line. Not more than a few moments elapsed after my command had reached this position before he advanced his lines of infantry upon the left, but was met with such firmness and so destructive a fire from the front line that he almost immediately gave way and fled from this part of the field. Immediately upon this having transpired, I received the order from General McPherson to move two regiments to my right in support of the center of our lines. The FIFTY-NINTH and Forty-eighth Indiana Regiments were immediately moved forward to the position indicated, and, at the suggestion of General Crocker, I offered to relieve the front line, which had been engaged at this time three or four hours, but these officers, among whom was the lamented Colonel Dollins, declined the offer, and said he felt certain that he could hold his position without aid.
The enemy by this time appeared in broken squads in front of the center, and in half an hour all firing had ceased and the enemy had fled in confusion form the field.
The only casualty in my command in this action was, Forty-eighth Indiana, 1 enlisted man wounded.
After the action ceased, the command marched through Raymond and