The advance guard soon reported and confirmed my anticipations; the enemy showed himself in pretty strong numbers. The head of my column was at the time in a thickly timbered bottom, and a part of the SECOND Illinois cavalry was, therefore, ordered to dismount to advance as skirmishers throughout these woods. At the same time I dispatched a detachment to the Raymond road, threatening the left flank of the rebels. The advance trough the timber was well disputed by the enemy, but the demonstration on his left caused him at last to fall back behind Baker's Creek, giving me that ground for my camp which you had ordered to me occupy for the night. On a plantation about 1 mile beyond the bridge across Baker's Creek, the rebel cavalry formed once more, and dashed toward my pickets the bridge, but, ascertaining my preparations fell back; my cavalry then occupied the plantation, with patrol to Raymond.
At 4 p. m. on July 8, my DIVISION was ordered again to advance, and found the rebel Cavalry, which we learned was the DIVISION of General Jackson, under his own command, immediately beyond our line, defending now in much greater force every point available for that purpose. My cavalry kept very close to them, exchanging a constant running fire with them. Several times the mountain howitzers were called into action before they would yield. When arrived at a bend in the road which commands it completely, the rebel cavalry formed again, and exhibited a long front attack. Dismounted skirmishers advanced toward their front; Major Marsh, with a part of the SECOND Illinois Cavalry, threatened the right of the enemy, and the mountain howitzers of the Sixth MISSOURI cavalry were unlimbered and opened of the enemy's line; the whole of the avalry were ordered to charge the rebels. Led by their gallant and noble Major Montgomery, they darted down and up the hill, and advanced in a splendid line and at a furious gait against the enemy, who did not dare to await the terrible shock, and only offered his back to the galling fire from the Sixth MISSOURI. The suffered severely; our loss was light. The whole of the cavalry massed again Major Fullerton, and pressed the enemy to within 3 miles of Clinton, where we were by Major-General Ord to pass the night.
Next morning, July 9, we marched from the camp at 4 o'clock and arrived at 5. 30 at Clinton. Advancing of the Jackson road, we found the rebel cavalry on an open field, about 1 mile from Clinton, opposing us when debouching from a belt of timber. Our cavalry dis; lodged them only after a very tenacious stand against the fire from the Sharps' rifles and howitzers. To be ready for all emergencies, I waited the arrival of my infantry of field artillery, and deployed them a cheval of the public road. After these preparatory steps, the cavalry was ordered to advance. The open ground from which the rebels were just compelled to retire is on the east closed in by heavy and thick timber. Our cavalry drove the rebels rapidly trough out, killing and wounding a considerable number of men and horses; but on emerging from these woods, they were confronted by a far superior number of rebels drawn up in line and evidently offering fight. A section of mountain howitzers did not succeed in making an impression. On the contrary, a rebel battery was brought forward and opened heavily upon them with rifled shot and 12-pound shell. The enemy kept trough, at a distance beyond the range of the small howitzers, and consequently I ordered them back. Giving the general commanding the army corps notice of the situation of things, and asking his leave to accept the fight, I was ordered to do so. At