War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0280 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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all report them 16,000 strong. I will learn everything I can, and have reports made without delay. I will make a full report so soon as I reach my desk and have time.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

HORACE RANDAL,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major [E.] SURGET,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS RANDAL'S BRIGADE,

Camp on Little River, La., September 6, 1863.

MAJOR: In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 223, district headquarters, I left the vicinity of Alexandria on the morning of the 1st instant; crossed Little River on the 2d, and on the 3rd marched to Brushy Bridge, 10 miles west of Harrisonburg, where the command slept on their arms until 4 o'clock on the morning of the 4th instant.

The enemy having driven in Lieutenant-Colonel [G. W.] Logan's pickets on the evening of the 3d, and occupied the approaches to Harrisonburg, thus rendering a night march in the face of an enemy whose strength greatly outnumbered mine hazardous in the extreme, the total absence of cavalry left me no other alternative than he rest until light.

In the meantime Colonel Logan's confidential scout came to me from Colonel Logan, informing me that he could not hold the fort until morning; that 1,100 men would be of no assistance to him in resisting the enemy, and that it would be useless for me to attempt to reach him if I had not more than 1,100 muskets, and that he would evacuate the fort some time during the night. His scouts further stated that the enemy's strength was between 10,000 and 15,000, composed of artillery, infantry, and cavalry.

On the 3d, the enemy advanced on the Alexandria road, and formed line of battle east of the Brushy Bridge, in a strong position, behind open fields exposed to the fire of his artillery, with the approaches to his position strongly ambuscaded. My advanced pickets ont he night of the 3rd were within 400 yards of the enemy's lines, and the opposing forces passed the night within 800 yards of each other, the enemy outnumbering me five to one, with the additional advantage of artillery and cavalry.

At 4.30 o'clock on the 4th, my pickets received the first fire from the enemy's advance. Captain Flynn's battalion of sharpshooters were thrown forward, and drove in the enemy's skirmishers. wishing to evade a battle, I formed on his right, forcing him to change his front.

In the meantime I had occupied the hills immediately in my rear, giving me the advantage in position where I wished to receive the attack, which the enemy declined, preferring to face me through his ambuscade.

The object of the expedition having failed, the superior strength of the enemy and the remoteness of any assistance, and the facility with which the enemy could gain my rear, induced me to retire to the line of Little River, where I am now encamped.

I have compared all the reports as to the enemy's strength and composition, and conclude as follows: Eight pieces of artillery, 400 cavalry, and 15,000 infantry west of the Washita, and one brigade of infantry east of that stream. Their cavalry (200 strong) are reported by a citizen 7 miles west of Harrisonburg, on the Alexandria road. There seems to be no intention to advance in the direction of Alexandria as yet.