lowing up my success of yesterday, I advanced this morning farther toward Pollard. After marching 6 miles I had, at the forking of the Pollard and Perdido Railroad Station road, a small cavalry engagement between part of Company M, Fourteenth New York Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Karber, and part of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, in which we captured 3 prisoners, with their arms and horses, losing 1 horse killed on our side.
The prisoners taken stated that to check my advance on the Pollard road, the rebels destroyed at the telegraph station, 2 miles in my advance, the Pine Barren bridge, on both sides of which impassable swamps are extending. They also confirmed the report that Sherman's detached cavalry force has returned to the main army. In consideration of this statement, I ordered Captain Schmidt, [Fourteenth] New York Cavalry, to demonstrate with his company on the Pollard road toward the Pine Barren bridge, while I myself, with infantry and artillery, took the Perdido Station road, with the view of cutting the telegraph line and striking the railroad, and after destroying the trestle-work at and below Perdido Station, over 300 yards long, descend between Perdido River and Mobile Bay, and capture the rebel camps (Withers and Powell), and recrossing the Perdido at Nuenece's Ferry, return to Barrancas.
I dispatched orders accordingly to Captain Hanna, district quartermaster, to hold in readiness transportation on the 26th instant, at Nuenece's Ferry; but after advancing 7 miles on the perdido Station road, I received from three different reliable sources positive information that all available forces from Mobile were sent up the railroad to check my progress, and that Colonel Maury, with his regiment (the Fifteenth Confederate Cavalry), had already arrived with an additional mounted force, in all 1,300 strong, and a light battery of six pieces, having at the same time four pieces at Pine Barren bridge, with all of the militia called out along the whole line and at Pollard. Meanwhile mounted rebels were lurking all the way in our front and right flank, watching our movements. At this juncture, deprived of the prospect of meeting Sherman's detached force and my own small force (consisting only of infantry, 50 mounted men, and two pieces of artillery drawn by mule teams), I deemed it proper to be satisfied with the results already achieved and return to this place (Swan's place), the forking of the two roads above alluded to, where I have encamped for the night, and will return to-morrow to the gun-boat point, at the mouth of the Bayou Grand, and from there to the camps at Barrancas.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain OLIVER MATTHEWS,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, July 25, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I beg to submit, in connection with my report dated at the fork of Pollard and Perdido Station road, July 23, 1864, that, arriving at the gun-boat point on the evening of the 24th, I crossed the bayou this morning and returned to Barrancas, after machinery with the infantry 72 miles without the loss of a man.