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[423] city amid the wildest shouts. A superior force of rebel cavalry was encountered, but not relishing the appearance of the drawn sabres, which gleamed everywhere from the cloud of dust in which our column was enveloped, they turned and fled in the greatest disorder from the city.

Nothing could equal the panic and confusion into which our sudden appearance precipitated Little Rock. The streets were filled with women and. children, and knots of citizens, listening to the sound of cannon constantly growing nearer and nearer, and the shell from Steele's batteries, which had now been planted almost opposite the city, shrieking over their heads and bursting in the woods beyond them, were anxiously discussing the question of their own safety. Rebel officers, thinking themselves secure, were eating their suppers in the houses. The rapid rush of flying horsemen, the clouds of dust, the glad hurrahs and gleaming sabres of others dashing through the dusty streets in hot pursuit, was the first intimation of our near approach. Women and children ran shrieking to their homes, the crowds of citizens quickly dispersed, and rebel officers, mounting their horses, were captured while endeavoring to escape. A second later, windows were thrown up and handkerchiefs waved, and the curious throngs gathered in the door-yards, closely scrutinizing each squadron as it passed.

As we entered the city upon the east side, General Cabbell, with four thousand five hundred cavalry and mounted infantry and two full batteries of artillery, hurrying down from the Fort Smith region, entered the city upon the west. Prisoners state that he had been assigned a position upon the extreme left of the rebel line, and that that portion of the line had been much weakened in anticipation of his arrival, when we made the sabre-charge which gave us possession of the city. Cabbell's Adjutant was riding with an orderly some distance in advance of the column, and, encountering our cavalry, was enabled to give notice in time to Cabbell, who immediately reversed his column upon the road it was marching. He will be compelled to make a wide detour in order to effect a junction with Price.

The entry of our troops into the city turned the rebel left, and they retreated through the woods to the Arkadelphia road, leading south.

General Steele's advance had been so rapid that he was not only enabled to lend General Davidson the most invaluable assistance from the beginning, but in a measure covered the gallant charge which terminated the labors of the day. He possessed himself of the bridges across the river, which Price had fired, before the damage sustained by them was serious, and was crossing his infantry upon them at daylight next morning. He also saved seven platform and box-cars and two locomotives on the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad from serious injury.

The forces encountered by General Davidson were Marmaduke's, Dobbins's, and Shelby's cavalry, dismounted, and Tappan's infantry. Price was made aware of our crossing the moment it commenced by means of the Pine Bluff telegraph, and immediately commenced the evacuation of his works on the north bank of the stream. He was evidently fearful that Steele had another pontoon, and would cross the river with the remainder of the forces as soon as he evacuated his works, relieve Davidson upon the river, and send him around to the Arkadelphia road to a point where Price had six, hundred wagons parked. To guard against this, McCrea's, Frost's, and Fagan's infantry were pushed out on the Arkadelphia road as soon as they crossed the river. Price with Holmes, who came to give unofficial counsel, and Governor Flanigan remained until four o'clock, when the command was turned over to Marmaduke. Price by this time had discovered that there was no movement against his trains, and Marmaduke had promised, with Cabbell's assistance, to hold us in check until night. Next morning Price was to have the remainder of the infantry countermarched. Our sudden success in entering the city of course changed Price's plans and necessitated a retreat.

A squadron of cavalry dashed up to the United States arsenal as soon as our forces entered the city, and arrived just in time to prevent its being blown up by the rebels. There was over a ton of powder in the magazine, and two or three thousand rounds of fixed ammunition in the various buildings. Every thing is uninjured, if I except alone the machine-shops, from which the machinery was removed some months ago to Arkadelphia.

The public records were all removed some months ago to Washington, and, aside from the bare State-House and the law library, we found nothing of the State Government. The penitentiary was not touched. The prisoners were marched out, leaving their suppers upon the tables, and all their clothes and bedding in their cells.

The two howitzers taken from us were spiked by the rebels before they effected the capture, and were immediately started for the trains. They were of the smallest pattern of mountain howitzers, and are worth little in comparison with the two sixty-fours, one twenty-four, and three twelve-pounders we captured from the enemy.

The rebel force, not including that of Cabbell, was about fifteen thousand, with thirty-six pieces of artillery.

Mayor's office, Little Rock, Sept. 10, 1863.
To the Officer Commanding Federal Army:
The army of General Price has retreated and abandoned the defence of this city. We are now powerless and ask your mercy. The city is now occupied alone by women and children and non-combatants, with, perhaps, a few stragglers from the confederate forces. May I ask of you protection for persons and property? I have been ill for some days and am unable to visit you in person.

Very respectfully,

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Sterling Price (9)
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