fact that 160 of the enemy's cavalry had crossed the river from this side at Hankinson's Ferry, about one hour before the arrival of the forage train at that point, and asking that I might come to his assistance with adequate re-enforcements, and give the enemy a chase, and, if found, a fight.
I immediately notified you of this fact, and taking 50 more of my regiment I proceeded after dark to the river, and found Captains Wallace and Sherman bivouacked half a mile from the ferry.
There I learned from citizens of Claiborne County, whom the officers had detained at their camp, that there was a force of 600 to 800, consisting of Colonel Starke's and Wirt Adams' regiments, some-where in the vicinity of Rocky Springs, which is 6 miles southwest of the ferry, and that probably 300 would encamp that night on the Powers' place. Notifying you of these additional facts, and asking for re-enforcements, I determined to cross over as soon as I could see, and give them a fight.
Sending the forage train back to my camp, without waiting longer to hear from you, I crossed the river at Hankinson's Ferry Ford, at daylight yesterday morning, with 101 of my own command and 71 of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, and went in search of the enemy in the direction of Rocky Springs.
Ascertaining at the plantation of Mr. McKay, 2 miles this side of Rocky Springs, that the enemy, 300 strong, had taken a plantation road, at sunset the evening before, leading into the back fields of that plantation, I trusted to find his camp not very far off, and changed my direction accordingly.
Taking the Port Gibson and Rocky Springs road, I marched in the direction of Port Gibson, 2 miles, and then took a blind road, which leads into the same fields from a direction opposite to that taken by the enemy.
This was only a little after sunrise, and I hoped to find him still in camp. Soon, however, I struck his trail, a night old, going west toward Port Gibson.
Following his trail by a blind road, cautiously but rapidly, I soon started his pickets at the crossing of the Rocky Springs and Warrenton and the Vicksburg and Port Gibson roads.
My advance guard pursued the flying pickets, killing 1 horse and wounding 1 man, till they were checked by the grand guard of the enemy, 25 men admirably posted in a thick jungle, behind a narrow, very steep defile.
Captain Wood, of my regiment, in charge of the advance, instantly dismounted a part of the advance, in command of Lieutenant Riley, and deployed to a cover to dislodge them. The lieutenant succeeded in doing so, almost as soon as the column had come up.
Sending Captain Parker, of my regiment, with his squadron to the advance, I pursued at a rapid gallop for a mile more to the plantation of Mr. Alfred Ingraham, where I found the enemy's camp and his force ready to receive me.
He had taken up his position within the grounds about the house, sheltered by long rows of box hedge. This embellished yard is within a park of some 6 acres, inclosed by a high picket fence, with its entrance by a big gate, at right angles with the road by which I approached.
My advance had entered the park before discovering the enemy's position, and received a volley, and returned it, killing 2 of the enemy, but receiving no damage.