position on the Bayou Sara and Woodville road. I was then ordered by a dispatch from General Hodge to assume command of Colonel Power's regiment, and to hold myself in readiness to move by a road that would be designated. From this position I sent scouts down the road leading to Bayou Sara as far as Laurel Hill.
A 3. 30 p. m. on the 4th, by telegram from General Hodge, I was informed that the enemy were two miles from Jackson, directing me to move with a sufficient force and attack his flank or rear. At 4 p. m. I moved on the Bayou Sara road to Mr. Chinn's, where I found Colonel Powers with about sixty men, who informed me that the enemy were in force just below us. The enemy had possession of all the roads leading to Whitaker Springs, and I found it impossible (impracticable) to execute the order I had received.
At dayLight, 5th instant, I moved forward and found that the enemy had withdrawn his pickets from Mr. Yalston's to the junction of the Whitaker Springs and Woodville roads, his camp being half a mile beyond. At the approach of my advance guard this outpost fled. I then formed line of battle an ordered forward my advance guard, which soon came up to his rear guard. His withdrawal has uncovered the road I desire to take, but the delay had prevented me from attacking as I had been ordered and the guns of Colonel Scott assured me he was driving the enemy before him. I moved after the column in my front, but did not come to any general engagement. Skirmishedached Saint Francisville, where he fired a few shots from a battery in position. Soon after entering Saint Francisville I meet Colonel Scott, about which time a courier arrived, stating that the enemy, 4,000 strong, had landed at Tunica and were moving on Woodville. Colonel Scott ordered me back to Woodville, and said he would come to my assistance. I dispatched Captain McKowen with his company and Power's men in the direction of Tunica, instructing him that in the event the enemy had moved toward Woodville to follow him and join me at that place. With my cavalry and three pieces of artillery I moved rapidly on Woodville, endeavoring to reach it before the enemy. At 9 p. m. (5th) I came up to Woodville and found the enemy had entered at dark and occupied the town. As I had possession of the Whitestown road (the only one left for my retreat), I determined to remain until morning and to await the return of Captain McKowen, when I would withdraw on the Liberty road. Dispatched courier for his rapid return. While waiting anxiously the return of Captain McKowen the enemy was seen advancing in strong force upon me in my front and on my right and left. My only hope of escape was to drive back the column on my right, which was threatening to cut off my retreat. I ordered Captain Holmes to open his guns on this column while I charged it with the cavalry. The guns were immediately put in position and directed upon this column. The cavalry started off in fine style, but upon nearing the enemy recoiled, and after firing a few shots gave way.
Captain Holmes and his men acted with great coolness and bravery, using his guns until he was completely surrounded and overpowered.
My loss was 6 killed, 3 wounded, and (with those captured with my wagons) about 30 captured.
Captain N. T. N. ROBINSON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.