were already reduced, though scarcely a shot had been fired, to about 20,000.
Part of these had already been pushed on, 80 miles farther, to
--the enemy skirmishing sharply at intervals with our van, but making no stubborn resistance.
Gen. A. L. Lee
, scouting in advance to Pleasant Hill
, 36 miles farther, found the enemy in force; while some of Price
's men, here taken prisoners, reported a concentration in that neighborhood of troops from Texas
) and from Arkansas
; raising the aggregate Rebel force barring the road to Shreveport
to about 25,000 men, with 76 guns.
was 100 miles from Natchitoches
— the direct road (which was taken) passing through a sandy, barren, mainly pine-covered, nearly uninhabited country.
The river, which had been confidently expected to rise, was unequivocally, steadily falling; and our gunboats could not pass Grand Ecore
should have stopped here; but Smith
's corps must soon leave, in obedience to peremptory orders from Gen. Grant
, who had work cut out for it elsewhere; and Banks
's army, its General inclusive, was hungry for Shreveport
A partisan encounter,3