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[467] 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 of five or six wounded on each side, and one rebel captain prisoner. The eighth and ninth were employed in reconnoissance, in repairing the road back to Bayou Metou, and in bringing up the sick and the supply trains with the two brigades left at Brownsville. I had now definitely determined upon a plan of attack.

Davidson was directed to lay his pontoon-bridge at an eligible point, throw his division across the Arkansas, and move directly on Little Rock, threatening the enemy's right flank and rear, while I moved with the rest of the force on the north bank of the river, and assailed the right of his works. During the night of the ninth he made his dispositions for crossing the Arkansas, and on the morning of the tenth had the pontoon-bridge laid. The Second division was ordered to report to him at daylight, to assist in covering his crossing. The bridge was placed in a bend of the river, and the ground on the south side was so completely swept by the artillery that the enemy could not plant a battery in any position from which he could interrupt the crossing.

Two regiments of infantry passed over the river to drive the enemy's skirmishers out.of the woods, and the cavalry division passed on without serious interruption until they reached Bayou Fourche, where the enemy were drawn up in line to receive them, consisting of the brigades of Fagan and Tappan, and the cavalry division, under Marmaduke.

The rebels held their position obstinately until our artillery on the opposite side of the river was opened upon their flank and rear, when they gave way and were steadily pushed back by Davidson, the artillery constantly playing upon them from the other side of the river. Our two columns marched nearly abreast on either side of the Arkansas. Volumes of smoke in the direction of Little Rock indicated to us that the rebels had evacuated their works on the north side of the river, and were burning their pontoon-bridges. Heavy clouds of dust moving down toward Davidson, on the other side of the river, made me apprehensive that the enemy contemplated falling upon him with his entire force. He was instructed, in such event, to form on the beach, where his flank could be protected by our artillery on the other side, and where aid might be sent him by a ford. But they were in full retreat. Marmaduke's cavalry only were disputing Davidson's entry of the city. The rebels had fired three pontoonbridges, laid across the Arkansas at the city. Two locomotives were also on fire, but were saved by us. Part of the pontoons were also saved. Six steamboats and one gunboat were entirely destroyed by fire. We are informed that Price intended to have blown up the arsenal, but was pressed so close that he failed in this.

Our cavalry was too much exhausted to pursue the enemy's retreating columns far on the evening of the tenth. Next morning Merrill's and Clayton's brigades renewed the chase, and followed them twenty miles, taking a number of prisoners and causing the enemy to destroy part of his train.

Little Rock was formally surrendered by the municipal authorities on the evening of the tenth. Price had undoubtedly intended to give us battle in his intrenchments, but was completely surprised by our movement across the Arkansas, and did not suspect it until after the pontoonbridge was laid. When it was reported to him that our infantry was crossing, he took it for granted that our whole force was moving to cut off his retreat to Arkadelphia.

I have been assured by citizens that General Cabell with about four thousand (4000) troops, from Fort Smith, had joined Price on his retreat, he having failed to reach here in time to assist in defence of the place.

I marched from Ashley's Mills on the morning of the tenth with not more than seven thousand (7000) troops, having parked the trains and left a strong guard to defend them and the sick.

The operations of this army from the time that I commenced organizing it at Helena, have occupied exactly forty days.

Our entire loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, will not exceed one hundred, (100.) The enemy's is much greater, especially in prisoners --at least one thousand, (1000.)

I shall reserve the list of casualties and my special recommendations for a future communication. However, I will say that Davidson with his cavalry division deserve the highest commendation.

Very respectfully, General,

Your obedient servant,

Fred. Steele, Major-General Major-General J. M. Schofield, Commanding Department of the Missouri.

General Davidson's official report.

headquarters cavalry division, Department of the Missouri, little Rock, Ark., September 12, 1863.
Colonel F. H. Manter, Chief of Staff:
Colonel: I have the honor to report the operations of my division on the tenth instant--the day of the capture of Little Rock.

The plan agreed upon by Major-General Steele, the preceding day, was, that he, with the whole infantry force, should move up the north bank of the Arkansas, directly upon the enemy's works, while my cavalry division forced the passage of the river, and moved up the south bank, turning the enemy's right, and assaulting the city in the rear. All necessary orders were given by me that night. Lieutenant-Colonel Caldwell, Captain Hadley, and Captain Gerster of my staff, worked all night at the cutting of the bluff bank

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