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[319] Col. Glasgow, numbered 160; the residue were negroes, very recently enlisted, and organized as the 9th and 11th Louisiana and 1st Mississippi. Against this post, a Rebel force from the interior of Louisiana, said to consist of six regiments under Gen. Henry McCulloch, numbering 2,000 to 3,000, advanced1 from Richmond, La., driving in the 9th Louisiana and two companies of cavalry who had been out on a reconnoissance, and pursuing them nearly up to our earthworks at the Bend, where they were stopped by nightfall, and lay on their arms, not doubting that they would go in with a rush next morning.

But, just at dark, a steamboat passed, enabling Dennis to send to Admiral Porter for aid; when the gunboats Choctaw and Lexington were sent down from Helena; the former arriving just as the Rebels, at 3 A. M., advanced to the assault, with cries of “No quarter!” to negroes and officers of negro troops, rushing upon and over our intrenchments, before the green, awkward Blacks had been able to fire more than one or two rounds. A hand-to-hand fight of several minutes, with bayonets and clubbed muskets, ensued; wherein combatants were mutually transfixed and fell dead: the struggle resulting favorably to the Rebels, who had flanked our works and poured in a deadly enfilading fire, which compelled our men to give ground and retire, still fighting, behind the levee. And now the Choctaw opened on the exulting foe with such effect as to compel them also to shrink behind their side of the levee, keeping up a fire, while attempting to outflank our right. Thus the fight was maintained with little loss till noon; when the Rebels, having the worst of it, drew off, under a heavy fire from our troops and gunboats, but without being pursued. Some of the newspaper correspondents state, what Dennis's report conceals, that our Blacks, impelled to charge the Rebels in their flight, were led directly under the fire of our gunboats, by which they were far worse cut up than by the Rebels. Hence, our heavy loss of 127 killed, 287 wounded, beside some 300 missing at the close of the action; most of whom probably turned up afterward. As Dennis estimates the Rebel loss at about 150 killed and 300 wounded, it is probable that the fire of the gunboats, while it frightened only the Rebels, killed more of our men than of theirs.

A Rebel demonstration against Young's Point was made simultaneously with that against Milliken's Bend; but had no result, and was probably intended only to distract attention from the latter. A few shots from gunboats were sufficient to compel a retreat.

Helena, Arkansas, had been quietly held by our forces since its unresisted occupation by Gen. Washburne,2 with the cavalry advance of Gen. Curtis's army, and had proved useful as a depot of recruits and supplies destined for operations farther south; while its garrison was a constant menace and a source of uneasiness and alarm to the Rebels still holding most of Arkansas; threatening, as it did, the more important points

1 June 6.

2 July 11, 1862. See page 35.

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E. S. Dennis (3)
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