men to provide themselves with one <*>k of shell-corn for each animal, and every body to take six rations in his haversack. Each regiment was allowed but two wagons. It was evident that no retrograde movement was in view, as all available ambulances of the whole force were also put in readiness, each having the red flag hoisted. Early, at six o'clock of the twenty-seventh, each division commenced to move — the First division by way of Cove Creek road, and the Second and Third divisions over the telegraph road, toward Van Buren, Arkansas. The various divisions marched that day toward Lee's Creek and rested there for the night. According to reports, the rebel pickets were but two and a half miles from Lee's Creek, a little back of Oliver's farm, and on account of the close proximity, each company was allowed but one small fire for cooking purposes principally. Pickets were thrown across the creek, and ordered not to build fires. Here we rested until daybreak of the twenty-eighth of December, when the army was set in motion again. The crossing of Lee's Creek presented a novel sight, especially on the telegraph road crossing, where the Second division (under the gallant commander, Col. Daniel Huston, Jr.) and the Third division (under Gen. Herron) crossed. “Frank Leslie's own special artist,” or any other of the “special artist” tribe, could have found an item for the “illustrated.” The rapidly current and deepness of the creek was a little too much for the infantry, and it was therefore ordered that every mounted man should take one of the infantry over on the croup of his horse. This occasioned great merriment, especially as there were many horse that protested forcibly against such intrusion, by constant and rapid elevations of their two hind-quarters, thereby making it somewhat difficult for the fortunately spurless infantry to be comfortably seated. Other cavalry, in top-boots, were carrying logs into the creek for the construction of a bridge, but many a log was drifted down-stream before the bridge could he completed. The current was so swift that even heavy boulders rolled down. Before all hands had crossed the creek, the cavalry of both divisions were ordered forward, accompanied by a few pieces of mountain howitzers, cavalry and infantry, and rest of artillery to limber up at convenience. The sudden report of musketry in the distance, indicated that our advance had come into close proximity with the rebel pickets, and a lively forward run was observable through the whole line of the cavalry force. (The cavalry of the First division, under General Blunt, joined our force one mile below Oliver's farm, on the telegraph road.) On we went, driving in picket after picket, and this was done with such a speed, that the rebel regiments of cavalry, stationed at a little village called Dripping Springs, (about nine or ten miles north of Van Buren,) had scarcely time to pack their wagons, which they commenced to do when they heard the first firing on their pickets. They left, therefore, the most of their camp equipage behind them, and took up their usual vocation and skedaddled, helter-skelter, over mountains and ravines, strewing the whole road down to Van Buren, with more than one half of the articles, which the haste in which it was done had allowed them to pack on their wagons. Wagon-covers, tents, carpet-sack and contents, drawers, harnesses, saddles, etc., etc., following one after another, the nature of the road, a constant up and down, addling not a little to the successful emptying of their wagons; smashed ambulances and wagons which were lying along the road, also proving the great hurry in which they must have skedaddled. The distance charged over by our cavalry from Dripping Springs toward Logtown, could have been selected as an admirable ground for one of those old-fashioned breakneck steeple-chases of Auld England. When our forces neared Logtown, which is but one mile distant from Van Buren, and separated therefrom only by a hill or mountain, our mountain howitzers were brought forward, and the cavalry force deployed to the right and left. After a few shots from the howitzers, the cavalry en masse at about twelve o'clock M. made a dash into Van Buren, down-hill. Part of the cavalry went into the city, and some after three stern-wheelboats, which, as was observed from the hill, were making a down-stream skedaddle. These stamboats were loaded principally with corn, and during the downward trip all available hands were engaged in lightening the crafts, by tumbling the corn overboard; the whole Arkansas River, as far as could be seen, was but one floating mass of corn. The hindmost boat, the Frederick Nortrebe, first gave up the contest, by landing about two and a half miles below Van Buren, near the opposite shore, all hands, officers and crew, jumping into the water and wading to the dry land, making their escape into the woods. Before the crew jumped, our men fired into the boat, and landed about twenty shots into the pilot-house and Texas. This firing hastened the speed of the fleeing. About this time the most of the cavalry cast of Van Buren, went in pursuit of the other two steamboats, which were then almost rounding the point; only Major Bauzof's command, consisting of company A, First Missouri, and Major McKee's command of the Seventh Missouri volunteer cavalry, remaining opposite the Frederick Nortrebe. After a short time there appeared three persons opposite, one of them carrying a white flag. On our signal, they crossed over to this side in a skiff. General Blunt, who had arrived on the spot in the mean time, and his Adjutant-General, Lieutenant-Colonel Moonlight, and some other officers, jumped into the skiff and cared back to the skiff, with intentions to take a trip on the F. Nortrebe to Van Buren, (General Blunt having first asked what the captain of the Nortrebe would charge for such trip); and as soon as the boat could get off, (it being aground amidship, the machinery during all this time not having stopped, worked the boat fast aground,) it made its way toward Van Buren. One mountain howitzer
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Table of Contents:
Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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