War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0360 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII

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eral occasions that day seen his lines- fully 2,500 strong-I felt sure he would attempt to harass me on the following day. This conviction was made more sure by 6 of the First Louisiana Cavalry deserting from the reserve pickets Monday night (2d), and going over to the enemy. Early on the morning of the 3d, our outposts were driven in, and a heavy force seen on our front and left. This intelligence was sent to General Wash burn promptly; our lines formed, the artillery gotten into place, and a few well- directed rounds from the artillery and some maneuvering soon made him retire. About 10 o'clock a. m. but few of the enemy could be seen. I directed the troops then to retire to camp, but hold themselves ready to fall in at a moment's warning. Sent a dispatch to Major- General Washburn that the enemy had nearly all retired out of sight, and, after reconnoitering my left in person, returned to my headquarters. After the enemy had disappeared, at about 10 o'clock, I sent out a forage train, in charge of the Eighty- third Ohio, in the direction of Grand Coteau. In the present attitude of our situation, with a large body of rebel cavalry hovering around us, I did not deem it safe to risk a train out with a less number than 200, which was about the strength of the Eighty- third Ohio.

At 12.30 p. m. I received a message from Colonel Fonda, One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Mounted Infantry, that the enemy was approaching with heavy columns of cavalry and infantry, supported by artillery. I at once dispatched to that effect to General Washburn, and ordered the left, across the prairie, a heavy column of cavalry could be seen moving upon me in line of battle. I directed one of my largest regiments, the Sixty- seventh Indiana, about 260 strong, one section of Nims' battery, and one section of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery, to take a position on my left. I then posted about 150 cavalry on their left, and directed the whole to guard against an attack on my rear and left. My remaining three regiments, the Eighty- third Ohio being out guarding foraging trains, and fought pieces of artillery (Seventeenth Ohio Battery), I posted so as to meet the rebel infantry in the ravine. The cavalry, under Colonel Fonda, One hundred and eighteenth Illinois, was intrusted with guarding my right.

The enemy in overwhelming numbers were pressing me, and I feared that I could not hold my position until re-enforcements could be brought up. I directed my teams to be moved to the rear. After engaging the enemy a short time in front, I discovered them attempting to flank me on the right. His line in front being about three times as long as mine, and his cavalry bearing down upon my left, I found it necessary to extend my lines to the right, in order that I might not be completely surrounded. I now directed the Sixty- seventh Indiana (Lieutenant- Colonel Buchler) and the forces placed, to guard my left, while I advanced my right. Colonel Buchler, from a misapprehension of my orders, or some other cause, failed to commence his movements until I had dispatched a third time to him. He was by this time almost surrounded by ten times his number of cavalry, and he with almost his whole regiment were taken prisoners. The artillery played upon the enemy until it was almost surrounded, but succeeded in withdrawing, excepting one piece of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery and its caisson, which had its horses killed.

My left now being totally gone, and the enemy's cavalry pressing heavily upon me, I gradually fell back through the ravine, so as to cover my train. The Eighty-third Ohio, which had been ordered back