to threaten Baton Rouge or Manchac, reached by two days' forced marches the vicinity of Raymond on the afternoon of January 28. I was there met by orders from division headquarters to watch closely all the ferries and approaches in the direction of Big Black south of the railroad bridge, in anticipation of the expected advance of the enemy, and, in case he crossed, to advance and oppose him, offering all the resistance and at points as near the river as possible.
On the evening of February 3, at 6 p.m. I received intelligence from my scouts that the enemy was crossing in force at the railroad bridge and advancing toward Bolton. I immediately mounted my command, consisting of 800 men and a rifled section of King's battery, and moved beyond Raymond, on Edwards' Depot road.
Halting until 4 o'clock next morning, I again put my command in motion, marching rapidly toward Bolton, 1 mile beyond which I took position, sending Colonel Wood's regiment forward to reconnoiter and ascertain certainly whether the enemy was moving on the Raymond or Bolton road. Near Champion's Hill Colonel Wood encountered a dismounted cavalry force, which after a brief skirmish was gallantly charged by Captain Muldrow's squadron, killing and wounding a number and capturing 8 prisoners. Colonel Wood reported to me that the enemy's cavalry force was on the Raymond road and consequently moving on my left flank. I at once detached Colonel Dumonteil and instructed him to move his regiment (Fourteenth Confederate) down the road on which I had come to the junction of the two roads and hold the enemy in check, reporting to me his numbers, movements, &c. With this force he soon became engaged, skirmishing briskly for several hours. I also sent Major Stockdale directly across a field to the same road to take the enemy in flank, but he encountered an infantry and artillery force, from which he was compelled to retire bringing off several prisoners. The main infantry column of the enemy soon afterward advanced upon the Bolton road, deploying a strong line of skirmishers and using one piece of artillery. He was held in check for several hours at this point by Wood's regiment and Stockdale's battalion, dismounted. Nothing could surpass the unflinching courage and steadiness of these commands, eliciting at the time the commendation of the major-general commanding.
About 3 p.m. the greatly superior force of the enemy having failed to dislodge them, a brigade of infantry, marching in column, was pushed across the creek on my extreme left and moved rapidly toward some buildings which crowned an eminence near my left. At the same time he advanced in line of battle directly against my front. The position being no longer tenable, I was ordered to withdraw my command across Baker's Creek bridge, half a mile in my rear, and send two squadrons of Colonel Wood's regiment to check the enemy's advance on my left.
Leaving Major Akin, Ninth Tennessee Battalion, to cover the withdrawal of the command across the bridge, I removed the remainder as promptly as practicable. Major Bridges, with two escort companies, supported by Captain Muldrow's squadron, of Wood's regiment, soon became warmly engaged with the enemy on the left, driving him from the building on the hill; but strong re-enforcements coming up he was obliged to relinquish them soon afterward. At this point fell Major Bridges, Lieutenant Wilson, and 8 men. I next took position on the Bolton and Clinton road, 1 mile from that