so limited, I could only send about 25 men over at a time in the skiffs; consequently, I directed Captain [J. T.] Stubbs, commanding Company C, to proceed across in the first boat, and take position at the junction of the State with the False River levee, and, if the enemy should land before I could reach him, to defend that point as long as it was practicable.
Immediately after arriving at his position, he very unexpectedly observed a cavalry force of the enemy at the dike, the point where the road crosses False River, running to Waterloo, variously estimated from 100 to 250.
So soon as the enemy observed him, he divided his force, and attacked him in front; dismounted and deployed the other party to right, for the purpose of flanking Stubbs and cutting off his retreat. This movement on the part of the enemy caused Captain Stubbs to fall back behind the river levee running east. He then held the enemy in check until nearly surrounded; was forced to fall back to the levee running from the main rive levee to the wood-pile below the Hermitage. Just at this time I arrived with about 15 men, and held the enemy in check, the firing soon ceasing.
During the time Captain Stubbs was falling back, he kept up a brisk skirmish with the enemy, contesting every inch of ground. The force I had over here being so small, and the enemy being so strongly posted. I deemed it imprudent to attack him until the balance of my troops arrived. Accordingly, so soon as all came up (which was about 4.30 o'clock), I advanced; but my pickets informed me the enemy's pickets had just retired. I pushed on to the dike, and was there informed by citizens that the main body of the enemy had been gone about one hour, driving with them all the cattle belonging to the Government and many belonging to private individuals, besides capturing Lieutenant [D. M. C.] Hughes and about 20 or 25 men of his command; also Captain [William H.] Pruett, Lieutenant [A. F.] Crymes, and 3 men of my regiment, who were posted over here to fire the wood in case the enemy's ships should attempt to pass at night; those latter were fishing at the dike at the time the enemy came upon them. I then decided to pursue the enemy and endeavor to recapture the cattle, and proceeded about 2 miles, but was informed by citizens that it was impossible to overtake him, and almost impracticable to travel on foot over the road the went - a very dim road from the dike to Winter's place, near the fleet below. I returned to the dike, and shall use every effort to prevent a repetition of such an affair, as well as to prevent any communication between the two fleets.
The only casualty in my command was 1 man in Captain Stubbs' company slightly wounded. The enemy's loss in unknown, except that 1 man and 2 horses are known to have been killed.
The enemy informed the citizens that he would return to-day to get the sheep left, and a courier has just arrived, informing me that 600 cavalry, landed and encamped at Morganza last night, would come in this direction to-day.
I have but about 120 men, and would respectfully suggest that the two companies of my regiment (Companies H and F) who have been assigned to policing the river be sent over to me, with the exception of a sufficient detail to man the boat, kept on duty all the while.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
K. B. LOCKE,
Captain T. F. WILLSON,