War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0135 Chapter XXXVIII. SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON, LA.

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the morning of June 3 with my command, composed of the Sixth and Seventh Illinois Cavalry, the Second Massachusetts, two companies First Louisiana, also two companies Fourth Wisconsin Mounted Infantry, and one section of Nims' battery, in all about 1,200 strong.

Taking the Jackson road, we proceeded without interruption to within 3 miles of Jackson, where I detached Captain Godfrey, with 200 men of the Massachusetts and Louisiana cavalry, to go by way of Jackson, while with the main column I proceeded on the direct road to Clinton. Captain Godfrey dashed into Jackson, captured and paroled a number of prisoners, convalescents and stragglers; thence, taking the Clinton road, rejoined the column 2 miles from Jackson. Proceeding on, we encountered and drove in their pickets 6 miles from Clinton, capturing 1 man and 4 horses. We did not again encounter the enemy until we arrived at the Comite River, 1 mile from Clinton, where the advance guard were fired upon from ambush. Pushing across the bridge over this stream, and two following ones, we arrived at a small plain, where we encountered a considerable force of the enemy ambushed on either side of the road. I immediately dismounted the whole of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry which was in advance, deployed them as skirmishers, and drove the enemy to Pretty Creek, where their whole force was posted in a strong position.

I immediately dismounted the Fourth Wisconsin, and deployed them, with the Seventh Illinois, along the bank of Pretty Creek, and brought up a section of the 2-pounder guns and a section of Nims' battery which I placed in position on the right and left of the road in the plain. One battalion of the Seventh Illinois had already been posted on our right flank across the railroad, and I now posted the two companies of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Perkins, to guard our left flank.. It soon became evident that the enemy in our front far out numbered us, besides, having a strong position, while we, in addition to the disparity of numbers, were posted in a dense swamp, to and from which we had access to the open country in our rear only through a narrow defile leading across five narrow bridges.

A portion of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, who were in the front, were armed with the Smith carbine, the ammunition for which we had been unable to obtain in this department, and their ammunition becoming exhausted, they were obliged to fall back. I immediately sent Captains Godfrey and Yeaton with the two companies of the First Louisiana Cavalry to take their place. The troops in the front held their ground, and pressed the enemy nobly against a great disadvantage both in numbers and position.

It soon became evident that the enemy was throwing a portion of his forces to the right and left, probably with a view of turning our flanks. Observing this, I brought up the Sixth Illinois Cavalry which had composed the rear guard during the march, and dismounting, posted them to the right and left as a still further guard to our flanks. It soon became evident that the enemy's numbers and position were took strong for us to carry, and, our ammunition becoming scarce, I decided to fall back. Acting upon this design. I ordered the section of Nims' battery, which had been brought up, but, owing to the lowness of the ground, could obtain no advantageous position, to fall back to the brow of a hill nearly a mile in our rear, and there come into battery until further orders. I then withdrew the Fourth Wisconsin and First Louisiana, and such of the Seventh Illinois, as still remained in the front, they tearing up a bridge as they returned, and posted the Second Massachusetts and First Louisiana in a bayou on the right and left of the road,