Numbers 4. Report of Colonel A. G. Malloy, Seventeenth Wisconsin Infantry (Mounted).
HEADQUARTERS WISCONSIN MOUNTED INFANTRY,
September 9, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the late expedition to Harrisonburg, La.:
On the morning of the 1st instant, pursuant to orders, I crossed the Mississippi River at this point with my command, and moved forward to Trinity, capturing on the way two of the enemy's outposts. The prisoners informed me that a re-enforcement of 2,000 men were advancing to the relief of Harrisonburg. I arrived at Trinity at 8 p. m., and bivouacked on th east side of Black River. About 10 o'clock the Confederate steamer Rinaldo appeared in sight coming down the river, and tied up on the Trinity side. I at once sent three companies, Captain Apker commanding, to intercept the steamer in case she should attempt to escape, and at the same time dispatched a party of 20 men, Captain Crane commanding, 6 miles up Bayou Tensas, to procure a flat-boat with which to cross the river. About 11 p. m. the enemy became aware of our presence through their pickets on this die of the river. On the alarm being given, the steamer at once loosed from the shore, and attempted to escape up the river. No observing the orders of Captain Apker to round to, he poured into her two well-directed volleys, when the captain ran her ashore on the opposite side, and abandoned her with his crew. About 12 p. m. Captain Crane and party returned with the flat-boat for which they had been dispatched, and at once crossed the river in the face of the enemy's fire, seized the steamer, and drove the enemy, who were for the most part concealed, back through the town, Captain Crane sustaining a loss of 4 men wounded, 1 mortally. I then had the steamer brought across the river, and discovered that her steam pipe had been pierced in a number of places by our balls. Having been engaged in constant skirmishing during the entire night, expending over 3,000 rounds of ammunition, and not knowing on what road their re-enforcements were advancing, I deemed it prudent to open communication with the commanding general.
I therefore burned the steamer and returned to Cross Bayou. After replenishing my ammunition, I at once toward back to my former bivouac opposite Trinity. At daylight on the morning of the 3d, I observed a number of people on the opposite side of the river, and ordered them to send across a skiff. They not complying with my command, 2 men of my regiment, Corporal Brunson and Private Thomas Healey, of Company F, volunteered to swim the river and procure a skiff. This they did successfully, though fired upon by the concealed enemy, but a few well-directed volleys by a company which I had stationed on this side of the river soon cleared the opposite shore. I then crossed my entire command. About 2 p. m., by order of the general commanding, moved forward toward Harrisonburg, soon meeting the enemy, and having a running fight with them for 9 miles, with the loss of 1 man form my command. Night coming on, I was obliged to desist. Bivouacked at the junction of the Trinity and Alexandria roads. At this place capturing a courier, I learned that a force of between 3,000 and 4,000 men, a portion of [J. G.] Walker's division, were advancing on the Alexandria road, 8 miles from my place of bivouac. Believing the information to be reliable, I immediately sent a dispatch to General Gresham, who arrived his command. At 2 a. m. the general ordered me to send three of my companies