from 2,300 to 2,500, under command of Brigadier-General Ross, and his troops were composed of Arkansas and Texas men and veterans in the Confederate service.
We have been following them closely and carefully for the past two days, and this morning they opened fire upon one of our gunboats with two pieces of field artillery without, however, doing any damage to the boats. I at once disembarked about 250 of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, under the command of Major George C. McKee, Eleventh Illinois Infantry. He was not long in coming upon the enemy, and at once engaged him with his line of skirmishers.
The hills in this vicinity (between Satartia and Liverpool) are almost mountainous and difficult of assault, yet our skirmishers steadily advanced and drove them from their fist position. They rallied, however, but not until I had thrown out to the right of his (McKee's) line one wing of the Eighth Louisiana Infantry, African descent, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Peebles, Eighth Louisiana Infantry, African descent.
I now finding both detachments closely pressed, ordered the balance of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, consisting of about 300 men, under the support, throwing the latter as a reserve and in the rear of about the center of the line of skirmishers. The enemy now opened briskly with two pieces of artillery (apparently 12-pounders), also infantry fire. He at this time attempted to flank us on our right, but I met his movements by ordering out the balance of my force, the remaining battalion of the Eighth Louisiana Infantry, under command of Captain Wilson, Eighth Louisiana Infantry, African descent.
Major McKee at this time gallantly charged their line and was repulsed with a loss of 2 killed and 5 wounded.
The enemy then charged on that part of the line commanded by Captain H. C. Vore, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, but was nobly repulsed without any loss on our side, and were fairly driven beyond the hill, the possession of which we were contending for.
Both detachments of the Eighth Louisiana, African descent, nobly performed their part of the duty assigned them and acquitted themselves most handsomely, displaying the courage, coolness, and discipline of the most experienced troops.
I would respectfully state that I was materially assisted in the day's operation by a detachment of 35 men of the First Mississippi Cavalry, under command of Major Cook, First Mississippi Cavalry, who I took on board at Haynes' Bluff to accompany me on the expedition for recruiting purposes for the benefit of that regiment, and who have proven of incalculable benefit to me as scouts, &c.
As night approached I gave the signal for the detachments to fall back to the boats, the gun-boats covering this movement with well-directed shell.
I am now dropping down the river, where I shall go for about 1 mile, and will make another attack on the enemy at daylight to-morrow morning.
I have the honor to report my available strength as follows: Eleventh Illinois Infantry, 560; Eighth Louisiana Infantry, African descent, 387; First Mississippi Cavalry, African descent, 35.
I have the honor also to report the casualties of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry: Killed, 4; wounded, 12; missing, 8. Eighth