enemy's works, to the river, in order to let in Gen. Smith's and Gen. Osterhaus's divisions of Gen. Morgan's corps, on the left, and next to the river, so as to complete the investment of the enemy according to my original plan. Despatching Col. Stewart, of my staff, and chief of cavalry, with my escort, to explore the ground to the bayou on the right, it hastened back, and requested Rear-Admiral Porter, commanding the Mississippi squadron, to advance the gunboats, and open fire on the enemy's works, for the purpose of diverting his attention, while the land forces should gain the positions assigned to them. Promptly complying, the Admiral advanced his boats, and opened a terrific cannonade upon the Fort, which was continued an hour or more, and until after nightfall. At ten o'clock P. M., Col. Stewart, Chief of Cavalry, rejoined me, and reported that he had pushed his reconnoissance yesterday quite to the enemy's cantonment of log huts, and even beyond, to the bayou, and that there was nothing in the way of an advance to that point, or so far as he could judge, beyond. He also brought with him about one hundred prisoners, whom, still lingering about the cantonments, he had captured. As Gen. Sherman had not yet advanced to the bayou, I hastened Col. Stewart back to communicate the information he had brought, and with an order to Gen. Sherman to lose no time in gaining the bayou. Meanwhile, Gen. Steele's division had recrossed the swamp, except a detachment of it, left under Gen. Sherman's order, to make a feint in the direction of the bridge mentioned. During the night, Gen. Osterhaus bivouacked his division near the landing, in a position commanding the neighboring approaches across the swamp, and covering our transports against possible attack from the opposite side of the river. On the night of the ninth, Col. Lindsay's brigade had disembarked nine miles below Notrib's farm, at Fletcher's Landing, on the right bank of the river, in pursuance of General Morgan's order, and marching across a bight of the river, had taken position, and planted a battery on the bank above the Fort — equally cutting off the escape or reenforcement of the enemy by water. This was accomplished early on the tenth inst., and formed an important part of my original plan; for the prompt and skilful execution of which, I accord to Colonel Lindsay great credit. Passing a cold night without fires and tents, our chilled but faithful men were greeted by a bright and genial sun on the morning of the eleventh. By half-past 10 o'clock A. M., the two corps were in position, and were ready to commence the attack. General Steele's division formed the extreme right of the line of battle, reaching near the bayou. General Stuart's, and General A. J. Smith's divisions were formed on its left. One brigade of Gen. Osterhaus's division, Col. Sheldon commanding, formed the extreme left of the line, resting upon the river, in full view of the Fort. Another brigade of the same division, Col. De Courcy commanding, was held in reserve, while the remaining brigade of the same division, Colonel Lindsay commanding, was disposed on the opposite side of the river, as already explained. Company A, First regiment Illinois light artillery, Captain Wood commanding, was posted to the left of General Stuart's division, on the road leading into the Post. Company B, of the same regiment, Captain Barrett commanding, was posted in the centre of the same division; the Fourth Ohio battery, Captain Hoffman commanding, in the interval between General Stuart's and General Steele's divisions, and the First Iowa battery, Capt. Griffiths commanding, between Thayer's and Hovey's brigades of General Steele's division. The First Missouri horse artillery was in reserve, with Gen. Blair's brigade; and the Eighth Ohio battery was posted in the rear of the centre of the general line. Three pieces of the Seventeenth Ohio battery were advanced to an intrenched position in front of Landram's brigade of General Smith's division, and was supported by the Ninety-sixth Ohio. A section of twenty-pounder Parrott guns, Lieutenant Webster commanding, was posted by General Osterhaus near the river-bank, within eight hundred yards of the Fort, concealed by fallen trees from the view of the enemy; while two sections of the Illinois Mercantile battery were masked and held by the same officer in reserve. The Seventh Michigan battery, Captain Lamphere commanding, remained with Colonel De Courcy; two twenty-pounder Parrotts, of the First Wisconsin battery, Capt. Foster commanding, and a section of the Illinois Mercantile battery, under Lieutenant Wilson, were with Col Lindsey. The cavalry were disposed in the rear, under orders to force stragglers to return to their ranks. Such was the disposition of the forces under my command on the eve of the battle of the Arkansas. On the other hand, the position of the enemy, naturally strong, was one of his own choosing. Post Arkansas, a small village, the capital of Arkansas county, is situated on elevated ground above the reach of floods, and defining for some miles, the left bank of the river. It was settled by the French in 1685, is fifty miles above the mouth of the river; one hundred and seventeen miles below Little Rock, and is surrounded by a fruitful country, abounding in cattle, corn, and cotton. Fort Hindman, a square full-bastioned fort, is erected within this village upon the bank of the river, at the head of a bend resembling a horseshoe. The “exterior sides” of the Fort between the salient angles were each three hundred feet in length; the faces of the bastions two sevenths of an exterior side, and the perpendiculars one eighth. The parapet was eighteen feet wide on
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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