getting the whole of my force across Cedar Bayou,upon the island, and marched immediately to join General Ransom, some 8 miles in advance. After a few hours' rest, we moved up the island, making a very hard march through the sand of 23 miles; camped for the night, and moved in the morning for this place, my brigade, by your order, moving along the beach. About 12 o'clock we had advanced to the light-house, and in close proximity to the enemy's works. The main portion of the command was halted, and, by your order, I proceeded with one company from each of my regiments, under the command of Captain Ira Moore, Thirty-third Illinois, a most excellent officer, supported by the Thirty-third Regiment Illinois Infantry, to reconnoiter, and endeavor to find the strength and position of the enemy. Moving cautiously up the beach, we soon drove in the enemy's picket, and our advance was safely lodged in a range of sand hills, within 300 yards of the outer work of the enemy-a heavy earthwork, extending from the bay to a lagoon running from the bay on the mainland side of the island. The work was regularly laid out, about 15 feet in thickness, and from 10 to 15 feet in height.
The enemy now opened upon us from Fort Esperanza with his 128-pounder and 24s, throwing shells, but with little or no effect. Having found out the position and apparent strength of the enemy, by your order I withdrew my advance. During the night, a heavy norther coming on, we were unable to do much the 28th. The night of the 28th, Captain McCallister, of the Eighth Indiana, and Captain Hull, of the Ninety-ninth Illinois, both of whom had considerable experience in that line in the rear of Vicksburg, with a fatigue party from each of the regiments in the brigade, under cover of the darkness, dug a rifle-pit from the sand hills on the beach occupied by us the first day, and running parallel with the enemy's works, 210 yards in length, sufficient to cover a regiment. Sergeant Goodlander, of Company F, Eighth Indiana, with a small detail from the different regiments, was ordered to move at early dawn in advance of our rifle-pit, and endeavor to gain a position on the outer edge of the enemy's works. The Eighth Indiana was also moved out, and ordered to lie down in the open prairie, in order to take advantage of any lodgment our advance might make. Captain Hull, of the Ninety-ninth,volunteered, and accompanied the advance. The morning was bitterly cold, and our men suffered severely. Our advance moved up slowly and cautiously, took position on the outside of the work, the inside being controlled by the enemy in the sand hills between the work and the main fort, driving in small picket force on the inside, the force for protection of the work having been driven by the weather to the sand hills. They endeavors to rally and drive our men back, but in vain. The Eighth Indiana was immediately sent forward in small detachments, so as to avoid the fire of the heavy guns of the fort, and gained a safe footing in our rifle-pit and on the enemy's work. Finding ourselves more successful than I had dared to hope, I returned to the main portion of my brigade, and immediately sent Colonel Lippincott with his regiment to the front, with instructions to take command of the force in front, and to advance as fast as prudence would allow, and to get, if possible, a position where our artillery might be made effective. Colonel Lippincott moved promptly with his command, and I soon had the pleasure of hearing from him that he had secured a good position for our artillery.
Adjt. W. W. Zener, of the Eighteenth Indiana, now on my staff, was ordered to bring up two pieces of the Seventh Michigan Battery, under command of Lieutenant Stillman, which he accomplished with dispatch