informed me that the object of the scout was to obtain possession of a herd of beef-cattle said to be grazing in the canebrake on Black River at point 24 miles east of here. I set out on the 15th, at 10.30 o'clock in the forenoon, in command of a company of 40 men and one day's rations, with permission to prolong my stay three days if the success of the expedition required it. I traveled in nearly a due easterly direction over a good country, inhabited mostly by Union people, to a point known as Harrison's Mill, 22 miles distant, where I arrived at 4 p.m., and camped (see accompanying journal), throwing out a strong picket. Here Captain Conner, of Colonel Baxter's regiment, obtained several recruits for his company.
Next morning I sent out several scouting parties, who brought in 4 secesh prisoners found lurking about the neighborhood. I then moved on with the command to Smith's Ferry Landing, on Black River, opposite the town of Elgin, 10 miles above Jacksonport, where I discovered a camp of secesh on the opposite bank of the river. Concealing my men in the cane, within carbine range, I sent forward a citizen guide, who talked with parties across the river, obtaining all possible information relative to the strength and position of the enemy, restraining my men from an attack, knowing that it would foil a future and perhaps better expedition. Here we found that all the choice beeves of the herd had been driven off, and it was only after a half day's hard labor that we were able to collect from the range 21 head of inferior cattle, partly belonging to the same herd and partly to others. I then drove the cattle out 4 miles and camped. On the 17th, I sent out early on my return with the prisoners and stock. I arrived here at 4.30 o'clock in the afternoon, and now have the pleasure, captain of reporting the scout returned in good order, with 21 cattle corralled in the stock-yards at Batesville and 4 prisoners turned over to Captain Allen, provost-marshall.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
A. N. HARRIS,
Second Lieutenant Co. K, 11th Cav., Mo. Vols., Commanding Scout.
Journal of the march of scout commanded by Lieutenant A. N. Harris, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry, from Batesville, Ark., on White River, to Elgin, Ark., on Black River, pursuant to Order -, dated January -, 1864.
After traveling a mile we descended the bluff and entered a portion of the Great Black River Swamp; land low and very marshy, covered with dense forest and canebrake; bridge over creeks. Found camp of enemy on opposite side of river. No means of crossing for an attack; ice quite rotten, channel open. Found 21 head of cattle; drove our and camped. Next day returned. Rained all forenoon; snowed till night.
The land for several miles is very good, the best tract of land I have seen in the State; good farms, good timber and soil; well adapted to the growth of corn and cotton. The road crosses the old military road at the Walnut Church, where the rebels shot some of our prisoners. Camped at Harrison's Mill; mill, cotton-gin, and press all together; good farm; people nearly all Union.