which our enemies are rapidly making preparations to grind, almost every plantation being occupied and farmed by Federal authority. I also found the stock of mules and horses quite heavy on all the places. Finding that I could procure no more information that would be valuable to our cause, I returned, and recrossed the Amite River. From there I proceeded to Madisonville, Saint Tammany Parish. From citizens whom I met on my route to that place I learned that a general system of contraband trade was being carried on with the enemy in cotton, cattle, &c., which was fast demoralizing the people in that section, and from further information received I judge there must be at least 1,200 or 1,500 conscripts and deserters secreted in the three parishes above named. An occupation of that country for a short period by a small body of efficient cavalry would, I am certain, soon compel a great portion of such men to return to their duty, and if the death penalty were enforced in some of the most flagrant cases of spoliators and depreciators of our currency, it would have the most salutary effect.
From Madisonville I commenced my return to camp, where I arrived on the 2nd instant. I would respectfully suggest, that in my opinion, a squadron or battalion of cavalry could now deal the enemy an effective blow by a rapid dash on the coast, burning the sugar-mills, outhouses, &c., on the plantations occupied by them. A great many fine horses and mules could also be secured, with clothing, blankets, provisions, &c. A good crossing can be effected at the French Settlement, there being one or two good flats there.
I learn from reliable information that the enemy had completed the bridge over South Pass Manchac, and were working a large force of laborers on this side, repairing the road. Their object, no doubt, will be to complete the road as high up as Ponchatoula or Tickfaw Stations, which at once would place them in position to drain that whole country of cotton, cattle, &c. A small body of men could at any time cross Lake Maurepas, and destroy railroad track, and train, which is now making daily trips to Pass Manchac from new Orleans.
C. M. ALLEN,
Lieutenant Company C, Second Arkansas Cavalry.
Colonel JOHN L. LOGAN,
Commanding Brigade Cavalry and Mounted Infantry.
SEPTEMBER 14, 1863.-Attack on Vidalia, La.
Report of Brigadier General Marcellus M. Crocker, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Natchez, Miss., September 15, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, on the morning of the 14th instant, a force of rebel cavalry, numbering from 150 to 200, made an attack upon our forces stationed at Vidalia, opposite this city. There were stationed thee at the time a small detachment of Colonel Farrar's regiment of negroes, partially armed with shotguns, and about 40 men of the Thirtieth Missouri Infantry, besides the company of pontoniers under Captain Lochbihler. The enemy cut their way through the negro pickets, and appeared, almost without warning, in the camp of the pontoniers, and commenced cutting loose the mules, shooting the men, and pillaging the tents. Their firing gave notice to Colonel Farrar, of the