On the 20th the column at Pensacola moved on the road toward Pollard. The head of the column reached a point eleven miles and the rear only four miles from Pensacola that day, a heavy rain having set in which rendered the roads almost impassable. Henceforward in order to get our artillery and trains along it became necessary to corduroy the roads. The streams were higher than they had been for many years. On reaching Pine Barren Creek on the 23rd we found the bridge gone, and spent all the next day in replacing it with one 300 yards long, and built on piles which the men sunk by hand, diving under the water to start them. Up to this time a few of the enemy's pickets had been encountered and dispersed. On the 25th Lucas' cavalry brigade, in advance, drove the enemy from a line of log defenses stretching across a narrow ridge over which the road passed. This work commanded the road and crossing over Cotton Creek. General Lucas was directed to push on until he should get possession of the bridge over the Big Escambia, and to pursue the enemy so closely that he could not destroy the bridge. At Mitchell's Creek the enemy partially destroyed the bridge and made a stand on the opposite bank, but was soon driven from his position. At Bluff Springs the enemy, under command of Brigadier General J. H. Clanton, drew up in order of battle, skirmish line dismounted. General Lucas immediately charged, completely routing the enemy, killing and wounding some, and capturing 119 prisoners. Among the latter were 18 commissioned officers, including the general commanding, who was severely wounded. Of those who escaped capture, some sought refuge in the swamps and rest were so hotly pursued to Big Escambia bridge that some of them, not knowing that a span had been swept away by the flood, jumped into the river and were drowned with their horses. Major Perry, of General Lucas' staff, and a few of the men in hot pursuit of the rebels, also jumped off the broken pier, but escaped with the loss of their horses and equipments. The enemy had a field-work on the opposite side of the river mounting two or three pieces of artillery, which opened upon Lucas, but were soon silenced by Marland's battery and gotten off before men enough to capture them could get across the river. The work was occupied by the cavalry until General Andrews came up with one of his brigades. Detachments of cavalry had been kept out to drive in the enemy's pickets and outposts on our flanks to cover our movements and bewilder the enemy. General Lucas in the management of his command exhibited such skill and boldness as to take the enemy by surprise. The charge at Bluff Springs was headed by the First Louisiana Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Badger. Both officers and men behaved in the most gallant style. Our loss in this affair was only 1 officer killed and 1 wounded, and 1 man killed and 3 wounded. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was much greater than ours, but the number is not definitely known. The battle-flag of the Sixth Alabama Cavalry was captured by Private Thomas Riley,* Company D, First Louisiana Cavalry.
General Andrews was sent early on the morning of the 26th to Pollard to take possession of Government property, collect supplies, and if possible to communicate with Colonel Spurling. Cavalry detachments were also sent out for similar purposes. Most of the corn and subsistence stores collected in the depot at Pollard for the rebel troops had been carried off by the local troops and citizens on learning that Clanton was defeated. Our subsistence stores and forage were now getting short, we having failed to get a supply up the Escambia by
*Awarded a Medal of Honor.