Number 31. Report of Colonel Cyrus Hall, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade. HDQRS. FOURTH Brigadier, TWELFTH DIV., THIRTEENTH A. C., Near Jackson, MISS., July 20, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report to you as follows concerning my operations since leaving Vicksburg, MISS.:
On the 5th instant, acting under orders from Brigadier General J. G. Lauman, we started at 8 a. m. in the direction of black River. Nothing noteworthy occurred after passing Big River on the 7th instant, until the 12th, when I, with my brigade, having been on duty as train guard at Dixon's about 5 miles WEST of Jackson, was ordered to report to Brigadier General A. P. Hovey, commanding Twelfth DIVISION, Thirteenth Army Corps, which, you are aware, I did about 9 p. m.
On the 13th instant, I was ordered into position on the ground east of New Orleans and Jackson Railroad. My command here was compose of the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel John J . Jones; the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel James Rany; Forty-sixth Regiment Illinois Infantry, Colonel Benjamin Dornblaser; Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Samuel T Busey; Company K, SECOND Regiment Illinois Artillery, Captain Rodges, and Seventh Ohio Battery, Captain Silas A. Burnap. I immediately prepared a line of pits in my front, cleared the ground, and made every arrangement to receive any enemy that might appear.
On the morning of the 15th instant, I was ordered by Brigadier-General Hovey to send a scouting party as far east as Pear River. To this duty I assigned Lieutenant Reid, of the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, by whom it was performed in a very able and satisfactory manner, finding the enemy in force on the WEST side of the river, with one company thrown forward to the edge of the swamp on the WEST side. After making know to General Hovey the facts in the case, I was ordered to take three of my regiments and make a dash upon the enemy. I accordingly took the Fifteenth, Forty-sixth, and Seventy-sixth Illinois, and made a rapid move toward the river, being supported by the Thirty-SECOND Illinois, FIFTY-THIRD Indiana, and Thirty-THIRD Wisconsin, commanded by Colonel Bryant, of the FIFTH Brigade.
The movement was made with great rapidity, but not sufficiently rapid to overtake the enemy, his pickets having notified him of our approach. We reached the river in season to see the last of the pickets pass out of sight upon the opposite bank.
On the evening of the 16th, it became apparent to some of the officers of my command that the enemy was evacuating Jackson, which fact I communicated to Brigadier-Hovey about 10 o'clock.
The spirit manifested by both officers and men during the short siege was highly commendable, obeying with alacrity every order and executing the work assigned them with zeal and enthusiasm.
To Colonel Benjamin Dornblaser, Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry, Captain R. P. McKnight, assistant adjutant-general of this brigade, and Captain David S. Pride, DIVISION picket officer, I am indebted for valuable information, obtained by reconnoitering the enemy's works. Casualties, none.
I am, captain very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain John E. PHILLIPS, Assistant Adjutant-General.