timber beyond the field. Major Cook, of the THIRD U. S. Cavalry (colored), with a portion of his command, also drove to the shelter of the woods a small force of the enemy who were advancing, via Pickett's plantation, toward the right of my brigade. After posting a strong picket I ordered the troops to camp.
On the morning of the 12th I was ordered by General McArthur to remain at Benton to guard the approaches by the Lexington road, with the First Brigade and one section of Bolton's battery, whilst he, with the other troops, went to Moore's Ferry, on the Big Black, via the Canon road, on a reconnaissance, returning the same day. At 5 a. m. on the 13th the expedition started for Vaughan's Station, on the MISSISSIPPI Central Railroad, the First Brigade in the advance. The cavalry advance encountered the enemy at Luce's plantation, five miles southeast from Benton. I ordered the Seventy-sixth Illinois forward to support a section of artillery command by Lieutenant Nichols, who, together with a line of skirmishers from the Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry drove the enemy from their position. The column then moved forward, in its order of much, along the road about one mile and a half, when the enemy was again found posted in a strong position, with three pieces of artillery. I an once pushed my brigade forward to an open field, forming the Seventy-sixth on the left, and the Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry on the right of the road, throwing forward two companies each as skirmishers, while at the same time Lieutenant Nichols, with a section of artillery posted on the right of the road near the timber, opened a vigorous and well-directed fire upon the rebels' battery, which was soon silenced and compelled to retreat. I then moved forward in line of battle, with skirmishers well advanced, expecting to encounter the enemy at any moment, fully a mile, to the plantation houses, where I halted to await orders. The general commanding, finding the enemy gone, permitted the troops to rest and refresh themselves, after their weary march. After a half of an hour and a half the column again moved forward to within two miles of Vaughan's Station, and encamped for the night, the enemy making but a feeble resistance to our advance.
On the 14th we moved in Deasonville to Benton, and on the 15th to Yazoo City, where we remained until the morning of the 18th, when we proceeded, via Liverpool, Satartia, and Haynes' Bluff, to camp at Vicksburg, where we arrived at 10 a. m., having marched over 200 miles.
The only casualty I have to report in my command is that of Sergeant Eells, Company D, Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry, who was killed on the morning of the 14th, while acting as a scout, for which he was well suited, and in which capacity he had rendered much valuable service.
Although the march was a long one, and rendered wearisome by the head and dust, but very few complaints were heard, and whenever a fight was expected every man was found in his place ready and eager for the fray.
The officers of this command, including my personal staff, are entitled to great praise for the able and prompt discharge of every duty devolving upon them.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain W. H. F. RANDALL,