Fifteen-Mile House, on the Pensacola railroad. The rebel pickets opened a brisk fire upon our skirmishers, but were promptly drawn in and a regular attack organized. To the right of the railroad in front of the enemy's camp, the Seventh Vermont and the Eighty-second U. S. Colored Infantry were formed in line of battle, with four companies as skirmishers, and the Eighty-sixth Colored Infantry as reserve; the Florida Battery on the road at the crest of the hill, with Company M, fourteenth New York Cavalry, and the First Florida Cavalry east of the railroad forming the left flank, in support of the battery, with two companies deployed as skirmishers. After repeated skirmishes the retreating enemy made a determined, stand 1 mile from his camp, but, steadily pressed by our skirmishers, were compelled to take refuge in Fort Hodgson, a new fort completed only the day before. The rebels seemed quite safe behind their breast-work, and opened a vigorous fire upon us, but had to submit after a short contest to the dash of our infantry and the well aimed shells of the First Florida Battery. They deserted fort and camp, our troops charging after them and driving the enemy 3 miles, till they disappeared entirely.
The fort was defended by three companies of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, Colonel Hodgson commanding, according to the captured muster-rolls over 360 strong. They left in our hands 1 lieutenant and 6 men as prisoners, a large red battle-flag with thirteen stars, all their official papers, a considerable amount of commissary and quartermaster stores, 17 horses with equipments, 18 sabers, 213 guns, a large quantity of ammunition, and 23 head of cattle.
the neighboring farmers reported that the rebels took with them on horses over 30 of their wounded when retreating toward Pollard. One forty-days substitute, found near the forth mortally wounded, was properly dressed and left for care at the nearest farm-house. We had only 1 man, of the Eighty-second U. S. Colored Infantry, wounded, the ball entering his right arm.
Returning from the pursuit, the command was camped on the Gonzales rebel camp-ground, fresh beef issued, and proper rest given to the men.
From the rebel prisoners I learned that General Sherman's detached cavalry force, for which I had to look out, had three successful engagements with the rebels at Talladega, on the Tennessee and Alabama River Railroad, and at Loachapoka and Chehaw, on the West Point and Montgomery Railroad, 30 miles from Montgomery, and destroying effectually the Montgomery and West Point Railroad from the tank above Chehaw to Opelika (about 24 miles), and burning the depot and tax-in-kind houses at Loachapoka, Auburn, and Opelika, returned to the main army via La Fayette, without proceeding down to Montgomery.
Although thus disappointed in my hope to co-operate with General Sherman's detached cavalry, I concluded to advance farther toward Pollard. Accordingly the next morning, the 23rd, at daybreak, one wagon with captured ordnance and the few sick and wounded was sent back to Barrancas under proper guard; Fort Hodgson leveled, and all its heavy square timber, with the numerous buildings of the camp containing the commissary and quartermaster stores, destroyed by fire, and the march resumed at 8 a. m. After advancing 6 miles rebel pickets were reported again on the right front, at the fork of the Pollard and Perdido Railroad Station road.
27 R R-VOL XXXV, PT I