A portion of Company M, Fourteenth New York Cavalry, having been ordered forward in charge of Lieutenant Karber, a small cavalry engagements ensued, in which we captured 1 sergeant and 2 privates of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry, with their arms and horses, losing on our side 1 horse killed. Those additional prisoners stated that to check my advance on the Pollard road the rebels destroyed at the telegraph station 2 miles in my front, the Pine Barren bridge, taking position with four pieces of artillery on the opposite side of the bridge, on both sides of which impassable swamps are extending. They also confirmed above report that Sherman's detached cavalry force had returned to his main army.
In consideration of those statements I ordered Captain Schmidt, Fourteenth New York Cavalry, to demonstrate with his company on the Pollard road toward the Pine Barren bridge, whole with infantry and artillery I took the Perdido Station road, with a view of cutting the telegraph and striking the railroad, destroyed the trestle-work at and below Perdido Station (400 yards long), descend between Perdido River and Mobile Bay, break up the Bonsecours Bay Salt-Works and 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 at Nuenece's Ferry; but after advancing 7 miles in heavy rain to Levin's farm, I received from three reliable sources positive information that all the available rebel force had been sent from Mobile up the railroad to intercept my command, and that Colonel H. 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, with all of the militia called out along the whole railroad line and at Pollard.
At this juncture, there being no more prospect of meeting Sherman's raiders, and seeing my own small infantry force closely watched in front and right with a superior cavalry force before me, I deemed it proper to return and be contended at present with the success already achieved.
For the night I encamped accordingly at the forking of the roads above alluded to, and returned the following day to the gun-boat point at the mouth of the Bayou Grand. On the morning of the 25th, I forded the mouth of the bayou and arrived at Barrancas safely, after marching with the infantry in less than four days 72 miles without losing a man.
Inclosed please find Special Orders, Nos. 170, 172, and 175, naming the prisoners and specifying the captured property brought in;* also Sub-A, letter+ of my assistant adjutant-general, written on the 23rd, confirming in part the information received at Levin's farm; and Sub-B, statement of Sergeant Ray, that after leaving Fifteen-Mile Station on my return on the 24th instant, Colonel Maury arrived with a force of 2,000 men, comprising infantry, cavalry, and artillery, but receiving orders to return immediately to Mobile to assist in preventing the landing of Yankee troops, returned accordingly with his regiment (the Fifteenth Confederate Cavalry), leaving at the Fifteen-Mile Station but three companies of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry and some infantry.
*No statement of property found. The other omitted as unimportant.
+See p. 416.