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April 20.

The Union forces under General Banks accupied Opelousas, La., when Colonel Thomas E. Chickering, of the Forty-first Massachusetts regiment, was appointed Military Governor and Provost-Marshal.--(Doc. 171.)

A brisk cavalry skirmish took place near Helena, Ky., in which several rebels were killed and wounded.

An engagement took place at Patterson, Mo. Colonel Smart, commanding the National forces, sent the following report of the affair to Brigadier-General Davidson:

The line was cut off as soon as the engagement began, which was six miles from our post. I had a scout out on Black River, who found the enemy early in the morning, but they succeeded in cutting them off, so that they could not corn municate with me.

The number of the enemy was between one thousand five hundred and three thousand. I think they had six pieces of artillery. I could not ascertain who commanded the enemy.

The attack began about twelve o'clock, on the Reeve's Station road, with a scout I had sent out in that direction. I then sent Major Wood on to reinforce with a battalion. He held them in check and skirmished them into town. This gave me time to load my trains and have them ready to move, if I had to retreat.

Before I left the town I destroyed what stores [66] I could not bring away; nothing fell into the hands of the enemy. The fight continued to Big Creek, about eight miles this side of Patterson. The engagement was severe in the extreme. After fighting hand to hand at Big Creek they got in my front and attempted to cut off my retreat, but I forced my way to the ford on this side of the creek. The enemy did not renew the engagement. My loss in killed, wounded, and missing in the action was about fifty.

I had scouts on the Bear River, Greenwood Valley, and Bush Creek roads, also on the Reeve's Station road, which I have not heard from.

I will send you an official report as soon as I can learn all the details. Major McConnell was wounded and fell into the hands of the enemy. I think his wound was mortal. My regiment fell back in good order, and are now together, except the scout above mentioned. I had about four hundred men in the engagement.

Bute A La Rose, La., was captured by the National gunboats Estrella, Clifton, Arizona, and Calhoun, after a short engagement. An officer on board the Clifton gave the following account of the affair: “Just before we came to the fort there is a sharp bend in the river, and when we came round that bend we were only one quarter of a mile from the fort. The sailing order was that the Clifton and the Arizona should go ahead abreast, the Calhoun next, and the Estrella, Captain Cook, the senior officer, brought up the rear. The river being narrower than we expected, we could not sail two abreast, and the Clifton took the lead. We were all at quarters. As we came around the point we went ahead with full steam; as soon as we caught sight of the fort we fired our two bow nine-inch guns. No sooner had we fired than I saw the white smoke rolling out of the enemy's guns. One of the balls came whistling over my head about two feet, and struck the walking-beam, and the way the cast-iron flew about the deck was a caution. It was a thirty-two-pound solid shot; it struck with such force that it split the ball in two, and a part of it glanced off and came down through the hurricane-deck and brought up on the spar-deck, and another shot fell under our bow. As we came up nearer the fort, they fired over us. By this time we caught sight of the rebel gunboats, lying on the opposite side of the river, making a cross fire on us. The first shell that they fired burst on the port bow, and killed Richard Ribey, second captain of the broadside gun. He was in the act of firing the gun when he was shot. By this time the enemy was running pell-mell out of the fort, and had hauled down their flag and were waving a white one. The rebel gunboats escaped up the river after firing a few shots.”

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