BIVOUAC ON BAYOU ROAD, May 19, 1863 - 8.30 p.m.
SIR: This afternoon I made a reconnaissance in full force 7 1/2 miles to the front, beyond the Plains Store; sending a cavalry force to insure the safety of my left flank round by the Springfield and Port Hudson roads, which made a junction with my main force at the north end of the Plains. We found the enemy's pickets strongly posted on both roads, but they retreated as we advanced. I threw my Sawyer guns to front, supported by the Thirtieth Massachusetts Infantry and 400 cavalry, to a point within 2 miles of the works of the enemy, and fired a dozen shells into them; waited some two hours, but could not tempt them into a brush.
The men enjoyed the scout much. They begged to be allowed to go ahead and draw the fire of the enemy's guns. I have never seen more reliable enthusiasm exhibited. The result of this scout will guarantee a quiet night's rest to the troops, at any rate. Gardner's pickets have been very impudent for the last three days.
Hoping soon to see the general with a good force come up the road, I remain, truly, your obedient servant,
[N. A. M. DUDLEY,]
Colonel, and Acting Brigadier-General.
Captain HALSTED, Assistant Adjutant-General.
MAY 20, 1863.- Skirmish near Cheneyville, La.
Report of Brigadier General Godfrey Weitzel, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES, Murdock's Plantation, La., May 20, 1863 - 3.15 p.m.
SIR: I have the honor to report that this morning the enemy attacked my pickets. Colonel Bean, in command of the advance guard, repulsed the enemy, and pursued him with his whole force, consisting of the cavalry, mounted infantry, and Twelfth Connecticut Volunteers. Captain Barrett, with 17 non-commissioned officer and privates of his company, was in the advance. When within about 1 1/2 miles of Cheneyville, Major Robinson, in command of the rest of his cavalry, halted the column. Captain Barrett, rather too daringly, still continued to advance, and, after passing a sugar-house, a force of about 150 rebel cavalry jumped out, and cut him off from the rest of the command. Captain Barrett moved before them intending the Cheneyville Bridge and come down on the west bank of the bayou; but when he arrived at the bridge, he found it held by a force of 600 of the enemy. He was then compelled to surrender. One or two of his non-commissioned officers escaped. Sergeant Haley was killed. The rest were taken prisoners. The enemy lost 2 killed, 2 wounded, and 2 taken prisoners. The prisoners are of [E.] Waller's battalion, Texas cavalry. They left Natchitoches on Tuesday; came through the pine wood, not passing near Alexandria. They say the force immediately in my front is Lane's regiment, Waller's battalion, about 200 of Sibley's brigade, and a battery of artillery, and that the rest of their force is moving down.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding U. S. Forces.
Lieutenant Colonel RICHARD B. IRWIN, Assistant Adjutant-General.