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[464] o'clock the next morning, April twenty-eighth, we moved westward; after proceeding a short distance, I detached a battalion of the Seventh Illinois cavalry, under Captain Trafton, to proceed back to the railroad at Bahala, and destroy the road, telegraph, and all government property he might find. With the rest of the command, I moved south-west toward Union Church. We halted to feed at two o'clock P. M., on the plantation of Mr. Snyder, about two miles northeast of the church. While feeding, our pickets were fired upon by a considerable force. I immediately moved out upon them, skirmished with and drove them through the town, wounding and capturing a number. It proved to be a part of Wirt Adams's Alabama cavalry. After driving them off we held the town, and bivouacked for the night. After accomplishing the object of his expedition, Captain Trafton returned to us about three o'clock in the morning, of the twenty-ninth, having come upon the rear of the main body of Adams's command. The enemy having a battery of artillery, it was his intention to attack us in front and rear at Union Church, about daylight in the morning, but the appearance of Captain Trafton with a force in his rear, changed his purpose, and turning to the right he took the direct road toward Port Gibson. From this point I made a strong demonstration toward Fayette, with a view of creating the impression that we were going toward Port Gibson or Natchez, while I quietly took the opposite direction, taking the road leading southeast to Brookhaven, on the railroad. Before arriving at this place, we ascertained that about five hundred citizens and conscripts were organized to resist us. We charged into the town, when they fled, making but little resistance. We captured over two hundred prisoners, a large and beautiful camp of instruction, comprising several hundred tents and a large quantity of quartermaster's and commissary stores, arms, ammunition, etc. After paroling.the prisoners and destroying the railroad, telegraph, and all government property, about dark we moved southward, and encamped at Mr. Gill's plantation, about eight miles south of Brookhaven.

The following morning we moved directly south along the railroad, destroying all bridges and trestle-work to Bogue Chitto Station, where we burned the depot and fifteen freight-cars, and captured a very large secession flag. From thence we still moved along the railroad, destroying every bridge, water-tank, etc., as we passed, to Summit, which place we reached soon after noon. Here we destroyed twenty-five freight-cars and a large quantity of government sugar. We found much Union sentiment in this town, and were kindly welcomed and fed by many of the citizens. Hearing nothing more of our forces at Grand Gulf, I concluded to make for Baton Rouge, to recruit my command, after which I could return to La Grange through Southern Mississippi and West-Alabama; or, crossing the Mississippi River, move through Louisiana and Arkansas. Accordingly, after resting about two hours, we started south-west on the Liberty road, marched about fifteen miles, and halted until daylight on the plantation of Dr. Spurlark. The next morning we left the road and threatened Magnolia and Osyka, where large forces were concentrated to meet us; but instead of attacking those points, took a course due south, marching through woods, lanes, and byroads, and striking the road leading from Clinton to Osyka. Scarcely had we touched this read when we came upon the Ninth Tennessee cavalry, posted in a strong defile, guarding the bridges over Tickfaw River. We captured their pickets, and attacking, drove them before us, killing, wounding, and capturing a number. Our loss in this engagement was one man killed, and Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Blackburn and four men wounded. I cannot speak too highly of the bravery of the men upon this occasion, and particularly of Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, who, at the head of his men, charged upon the bridge, dashed over, and by undaunted courage dislodged the enemy from his strong position. After disposing of the dead and wounded, we immediately moved south on the Greensburgh road, recrossing the Tickfaw River at Edward's bridge. At this point, we met Garland's rebel cavalry, and with one battalion of the Sixth Illinois and two guns of the battery, engaged and drove them off without halting the column.

The enemy were now on our track in earnest. We were in the vicinity of their strongholds, and from couriers and dispatches which we captured,. it was evident they were sending forces in all directions to intercept us. The Amite River — a wide and rapid stream — was to be crossed, and there was but one bridge by which it could be crossed, and this was in exceeding close proximity to Port Hudson. This I determined upon securing before I halted. We crossed it at midnight, about two hours in advance of a heavy column of infantry and artillery, which had been sent there to intercept us. I moved on to Sandy Creek, where Hughes's cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Wilburn, were encamped, and where there was another main road leading to Port Hudson.

We reached this point at first dawn of day, completely surprised and captured the camp with a number of prisoners. Having destroyed the camp, consisting of about one hundred and fifty tents, a large quantity of ammunition, guns, public and private stores, books, papers, and public documents, I immediately took the road from Baton Rouge. Arriving at the Commite River, we utterly surprised Stuart's cavalry, who were picketing at this point, capturing forty of them, with their horses, arms, and entire camp. Fording the river, we halted to feed within four miles of the town. Major-General Augur, in command at Baton Rouge, having now, for the first, heard of our approach, sent two companies of cavalry, under Captain Godfrey, to meet us. We marched into the town about three o'clock P. M., and were most heartily welcomed by the United States forces at this point.

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Trafton (3)
William D. Blackburn (2)
Wirt Adams (2)
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Joseph J. West (1)
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Snyder (1)
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