After several fruitless attempts to penetrate the State of Mississippi
above Vickburgh, and to turn the rear of that city, it became a question of the highest importance, whether a point be. low on the Mississippi River
, might not be reached, and a way thus opened to the attainment of the same end.
My corps, happily, was in favorable condition to test this question.
It was inspired by an eager desire to prove its usefulness, and impatiently awaited an opportunity to do so. Sharing in this feeling, I was more than rejoiced in permission to essay an effort to cross the peninsula opposite Vicksburgh
, from Milliken's Bend
Accordingly, on the twenty-ninth of March, I ordered Gen. Osterhaus
to send forward a detachment of infantry, artillery, and cavalry to surprise and capture Richmond
, the capital of Madison Parish
, La: On the morning of the thirtieth, Colonel Bennett
, with the Sixty-ninth Indiana, a section of artillery, and a detachment of the Second Illinois cavalry, took up the line of march in execution of this order.
By two o'clock P. M. he had marched twelve miles over a miry road and reached the bank of Roundaway Bayou
, opposite Richmond
Artillery first, and infantry next, opened fire upon the small force garrisoning the town, and immediately dislodged it. A portion of the cavalry dismounting from their horses, sprang into the small boats brought along on wagons, and paddling them across the bayou with the butts of their carbines, hastened to occupy the town.
Hot pursuit of the fugitive enemy was soon after made by another portion of cavalry, who swam their horses over the bayou.
Seven of the enemy were wounded, four of whom fell into our hands.
This spirited and successful attack was consummated under my own observation, and effectually cut off the supplies which were wont to be transported through Richmond
from the rich tracts traversed by the Tensas River
and Bayou Macon
On the night of the third a bridge two hundred feet in length, made of logs taken from houses, was thrown across Roundaway Bayou
, by the pioneer corps, under Capt. Patterson
This was the work of twenty-four hours, and a way being thus opened, the remainder of General Osterhaus
's division was rapidly moved forward and so disposed as to cover and hold the only practicable land route between Milliken's Bend
's plantation, two miles north of New-Carthage
Meantime, many obstacles were overcome — old roads were repaired, new ones made, boats constructed for the transportation of men and supplies ; twenty miles of levee sleeplessly guarded day and night, and every possible precaution used to prevent the rising flood from breaking through the levee and engulfing us.
Other obstacles were also encountered.
's rebel cavalry, supported by a detachment of infantry, were active and vigilant to oppose our advance, but after having been repeatedly repulsed,