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ch the Arkansas River below Little Rock, and, moving up, assault the enemy's works upon their extreme right, where they were known to be weaker than at the point or intersection with the Brownsville road. Accordingly General Steele placed his whole column in motion on the morning of the seventh, with the exception of one brigade of infantry and two of cavalry, which followed on the eighth. Bayou Metaire was reached and crossed the same day with much difficulty, and consequent delay, at Shallow Ford, some eight or ten miles to the left of the usual crossing at the bridge. On the following morning General Davidson, with a single brigade of his cavalry, was assigned the advance, and pushed on, through by-paths and obscure roads, through the canebrakes and jungles of bushes and vines, in the direction of Terry's Ferry, on the Arkansas, eight miles in a direct line below Little Rock. The enemy was not seen until within three miles of the river, where a brigade of cavalry was encountere
side of the bayou for several hours, and encamped for the night. In the mean time Davidson pushed his reconnoissance until the numerous roads on his flanks and rear rendered it dangerous for him to proceed any further. The great length to which it would increase our line of communication with our base, rendered it impracticable for us to attack the enemy on his left flank. This reconnoissance occupied two days. By this time I had collected information in regard to the road leading by Shallow Ford, and Ashley's Mills to the Arkansas, on the right of the enemy's works, which determined me to take that route. The march to the front was resumed on the sixth. Here we found ourselves encumbered with a large number of sick-near seven hundred. True's brigade and Ritter's brigade of cavalry were left to guard the supply train and the sick. On the seventh, we reached the Arkansas River, near Ashley's Mills. At this point Davidson's cavalry, in advance, had a sharp skirmish, with a loss