War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0383 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- UNION.

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for the night, crossed at daylight this morning. Came upon the enemy's pickets one mile and a half from river; drove them seven miles to place of encampment, when he completely routed 300 strong, in command of Captain Doyal, capturing 150 stand of arms, which were destroyed for want of transportation, 15,000 rounds of ammunition, 4 horses, and 4 prisoners. He then fell back to the Amite River. Heavy skirmishing all the way, when be formed line of battle and delivered a volley, killing some 25. Casualties on our side, 4 horses killed.

W. P. BENTON,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

PORT HUDSON, July 25, 1864.

(Received 6.20 p. m.)

Major GEORGE B. DRAKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

All quiet. I made a personal reconnaissance yesterday seven miles beyond our lines. The inhabitants report that the roads are occasionally traversed by small bands of guerrillas and jayhawkers. We have news to- day from Clinton that Scott's force returned to that place on Saturday. Thirty-one contraband came in this morning. They passed the picket- line without being noticed and came to the outer sally-ports. With such cavalry as I have now I cannot make my picket- line effective. A good cavalry regiment is much needed ere for that purpose. Are contraband to be an exception to the order against admitting persons from outside! As those that came this morning were in before I knew it, I have let them stay.

JOHN McNEIL

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,

New Orleans, July 25, 1864.

Major General F. STEELE,

Commanding, &c., Little Rock, Ark.:

GENERAL: The transfer from this division to the Army of the Potomac of a large number of troops makes it necessary that the remaining force under my control should be made as effective as possible. I have instructed General Washburn to send a sufficient force to the mouth of White River to replace the troops under General Gordon who, upon being relieved, will return to Morganza. It is my intention to keep a permanent garrison at the mouth of White River, for the purpose of effectually securing your line of communication. The line I have adopted to be held in Arkansas is the one from Little Rock to Devall's Bluff,a nd thence to the mouth of White River; this will enable you to transfer the troops now at Pine Bluff either to Little Rock or to Devall's Bluff, and to keep in hand a respectable fore to repel any attempt that may be made to invade Missouri. Please reduce the garrisons to the lowest possible number compatible with the safety of the posts to be held, and let all considerations, such as the protection of plantations, or any other not necessary to military success, be held in subordination. The abandonment of Pine Bluff is ordered under the supposition that there are no urgent reasons to the contrary, of which I have no information.

E. R. S. CANBY,

Major-General, Commanding.