Osterhaus', we moved forward in the direction of Edwards Depot and soon ascertained that General Hovey was driving the enemy before him. A portion of his flying columns endeavored to make good their retreat by crossing my front and that of General A. J. Smith, the rear guard making a stand at different points to check our advance, and enable the main body to escape with the artillery, ammunition, and baggage. General A. J. Smith pressed forward and attacked rigorously by the road, and my First Brigade, under Colonel Giles A. Smith, moved rapidly in line of battle, driving the enemy's skirmishers through the thick forests and over very broken and difficult ground.
About dark the enemy planted a battery in front of my First Brigade, and made a stand. He had previously opened fire from a battery in front of General AL. J. Smith. Colonel Giles A. Smith then ordered Major Dennis T. Kirby, off the Eight Missouri, with two companies of infantry, to make a detour to the left and endeavor to flank the enemy's batter, which movement was soon discovered, and the enemy fled precipitately, leavingilled with ammunition, and five or six wagons, also filled with cannon ammunition, and throwing away their small-arms, and s hort distance beyond he abandoned two six-gun batteries, which fell into our hands the next morning, having been found by Captain D. WQ. Ballou, of the Tenth Missouri Cavalry, in a swap or morass through which the enemy attempted to escape. I immediately turned over those guns, consisting of five 6-pounder brass guns, five 12-pounder brass loads of cannon ammunition and two wagon loads of small-arms, to Captain E. M. Joel, quartermaster of my DIVISION, with orders to impress executed, and the guns, cannon ammunition, and small-arms turned over to Colonel J. Condit Smith, chief quartermaster of the Fifteenth Army Corps, who now has them in his possession.
We captured during the day and the morning of the 17th about 300 prisoners, a number of whom surrendered themselves and expressed great satisfaction at having an opportunity to escape from the brutal tyranny of the rebel service, into which they had been conscripted.
Early in the morning of the 17th, I was ordered by General McClernand to move forward by Edwards Depot to the Black River Railroad Bridge, where the enemy had made a stand; but upon reaching Edwards Depot I received an order from General Grant to proceed to Bridgeport and join the other two DIVISIONS of your corps which were expected to arrive there at 10 o'clock taking with me as pontoon train for the purpose of bridging the Black River at that point.
I reached that point soon after 10 a. m., found that the bridge of boats had been destroyed by the enemy, who had left a small party, strongly intrenched, to dispute our passage. Captain Wood's battery, first Illinois Artillery, was placed in position, by our order, and opened fire, when the enemy displayed a white flag and surrendered themselves. The pontoon bridge was then laid cross the river, and my DIVISION crossed over and bivouacked for the night 2 miles from the river.
On the morning of the 18th, I took the advance and marched to the intersection of the Jackson and Benton roads, which was regarded as an important point, and held it until the other two DIVISIONS of your command closed up with my rear, and then, by our order, I again moved forward, and after slight skirmishing brought up to the enemy's works on the right and left of the Graveyard road. The pickets of the First Brigade, under command of Captain Charles Ewing, THIRTEENTH Regiment U. S. Infantry, pressed forward during the night to within 100