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[337] twenty-first, General Gardner sent out Colonel Miles, with four hundred cavalry and a battery, under orders to proceed to the Plain Store, six or seven miles from Port Hudson, and reconnoitre. About four miles from Port Hudson he encountered the enemy, and a severe action ensued of two and a half hours duration, with a loss of thirty killed and forty wounded on our side. At night, in pursuance of an order of recall from General Gardner, our forces fell back within the fortifications.

At the same time Colonel Powers's cavalry, some three hundred strong, were engaged on the Baton Rouge and Bayou Sara road, a mile and a half or two miles from Colonel Miles. No communication has been had with them since, and their loss is unknown.

On the morning of the twenty-second, the enemy pushed his infantry forward within a mile of our breastworks, and at the same time it was reported by the cavalry scouts that General Banks, who had recently completed his Teche campaign, was landing troops at Bayou Sara, (twelve miles above,) and moving in the direction of Port Hudson. From Saturday the twenty-third, to Tuesday the twenty-sixth, inclusive, the enemy was engaged in taking his position for the investment of our works. This being completed, on the morning of the twenty-seventh he advanced with his whole force against the breastworks, directing his main attack against the left, commanded by Colonel Steadman. Vigorous assaults were also made against the extreme left of Colonel Miles and General Beale, the former of whom commanded in the centre, the latter on the right.

On the left, the attack was made by a brigade of negroes, comprising about three regiments, together with the same force of white Yankees, across a bridge which had been built over Sandy Creek on the night of the twenty-fifth. This force was thrown against the Thirty-ninth Mississippi regiment, commanded by Colonel Shelby. About five hundred negroes in front advanced at double-quick, within one hundred and fifty yards of the works, when the artillery on the river bluff and two light pieces on Colonel Shelby's left opened upon them, and at the same time they were received with volleys of musketry from five companies of the Thirty-ninth. The negroes fled every way in perfect confusion, without firing a gun, probably carrying with them, in their panic flight, their sable comrades further in the rear, for the enemy themselves report that six hundred of them perished. If this be so, they must have been shot down by the Yankees in the rear, for the execution we did upon them did not exceed two hundred and fifty; and, indeed, volleys of musketry were heard in the direction of their flight. Among the slain were found the bodies of two negro captains with commissions in their pockets.

The First Alabama, Lieutenant-Colonel Locke, and the Tenth Arkansas, Colonel Witt, engaged the enemy outside the works, in the thick woods, and fought most gallantly, but were compelled by the heavy odds brought against them to fall back across the creek, and within the works. In this action Colonel Witt was captured, but was not fated to remain long a prisoner, being one of the daring band who effected their escape from the Maple Leaf, while on their way to a Yankee prison.

Colonel Johnson, with the Fifteenth Arkansas regiment, numbering about three hundred men, occupied a hill across Sandy Creek, which he had been fortifying for the previous week. About five thousand of the enemy came against this position, moving down a very narrow road, and many of them succeeded in gaining the breastworks, but they were repulsed and compelled to fall back into the woods, leaving eighty or ninety dead in front of the works.

On General Beale's left, consisting of the First Mississippi and the Forty-ninth Alabama, the enemy advanced in strong force, and were driven back with great slaughter. The repulse on Miles's left was decisive.

About three o'clock the Yankees, true to their knavish national instinct, raised the white flag, and under it attempted to make a rush with their infantry. This being reported to General Gardner, he sent orders to the different commanders not to recognize any white flag unless sent by the Federal commander himself. At sunset, the firing ceased, after a hotly contested engagement of twelve hours, during the whole of which our men had behaved with unflinching gallantry, and had completely repulsed the enemy at every point. Every man along the entire line had done his duty nobly. While this assault was going on, all the gun and mortar-boats kept up an incessant firing upon the lower batteries, but without inflicting any damage.

On the twenty-eighth, General Banks sent a flag proposing a cessation of hostilities, for the purpose of burying the dead, which was granted. About three o'clock P. M., the truce ceased, and the enemy, in heavy force, made a furious attack upon the First Alabama, which was gallantly repulsed.

From this time till June thirteenth, heavy skirmishing was constantly kept up, the men were behind the breastworks night and day, and one could scarcely show his head an instant without being made the mark of a sharp-shooter. Many were sick from exposure to the sun and other causes. The enemy were, meanwhile, engaged in digging ditches, erecting batteries, and advancing their parallels. The gun and mortarboats kept up a continual fire by night and day, more, it would seem, for the purpose of exhausting the garrison by wakefulness than from any hope of direct advantage.

Saturday, the thirteenth of June, a communication was received from General Banks, demanding the unconditional surrender of the. post. He complimented the garrison and its commander in high terms. Their courage, he said, amounted almost to heroism, but it was folly for them to attempt to hold the place any longer, as it was at his will, and he demanded the surrender in the name of humanity, to prevent the sacrifice of

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