a reconnoissance north of Red River, encountered Harrison's command, one thousand five hundred strong, in which the enemy was defeated with considerable loss. Our loss was about forty in killed, wounded, and missing. The enemy's repulse was decisive. The army was put in motion for Shreveport, via Pleasant Hill and Mansfield, April sixth. General Lee, with the cavalry division, led the advance, followed by a detachment of two divisions of the Thirteenth corps, under General Ransom, First division, Nineteenth corps, under General Emory, and a brigade of colored troops, under command of Colonel Dickie--the whole under the immediate command of Major-General Franklin. The detachments of the Sixteenth army corps, under command of Brigadier-General A. J. Smith, followed on the seventh, and a division of the Seventeenth army corps, under Brigadier-General T. Kilby Smith, accompanying Admiral Porter, on the river, as a guard for the transports. The fleet was directed to Loggy Bayou, opposite Springfield, where it was expected communications would be established with the land forces at Sabine Cross-Roads, a distance of fifty-four miles by land from Grand Ecore, and one hundred miles by water. I remained with a portion of my staff to superintend the departure of the river and land forces, from Grand Ecore, until the morning of the seventh, and then rode rapidly forward, reaching the head of the column at Pleasant Hill the same evening, where the main body encamped. General Smith's command was at the rear of the column on the march, but passed the negro brigade on the route to Pleasant Hill. A very heavy rain fell all day on the seventh, which greatly impeded the movement of the rear of the column, making the road almost impassable for troops, trains, or artillery. The storm did not reach the head of the column. In passing the troops from Natchitoches to Pleasant Hill, I endeavored as much as possible to accelerate their movements. The enemy offered no opposition to their march on the sixth. On the seventh the advance drove a small force to Pleasant Hill, and from there to Wilson's farm, three miles beyond, where a sharp fight occurred with the enemy posted in a very strong position, from which they were driven with serious loss, and pursued to St. Patrick's Bayou, near Carroll's Mill, about nine miles from Pleasant Hill, where our forces bivouacked for the night. We sustained in this action a loss of fourteen men killed, thirty-nine wounded, and nine missing. We captured many prisoners, and the enemy sustained severe losses in killed and wounded. During the action, General Lee sent to General Franklin for reenforcements, and a brigade of infantry was sent forward; but the firing having ceased, it was withdrawn. The officers and men fought with great spirit in this affair. At daybreak on the eighth, General Lee, to whose support a brigade of the Thirteenth corps, under Colonel Landrum, had been sent by my order, advanced upon the enemy, drove him from his position on the opposite side of St. Patrick's Bayou, and pursued him to Sabine Cross-Roads, about three miles from Mansfield. The advance was steady, but slow, and the resistance of the enemy stubborn. He was only driven from his defensive positions on the road by artillery. At noon on the eighth, another brigade of the Thirteenth corps arrived at the Cross-Roads, under Brigadier-General Ransom, to relieve the First brigade. The infantry moved from Pleasant Hill at daybreak on the eighth, the head of the column halting at St. Patrick's Bayou, in order that the rear might come up. I passed General Franklin's headquarters at ten A. M., giving directions to close up the column as speedily as possible, and rode forward to ascertain the condition of affairs at the front, where I arrived between one and two o'clock. General Ransom arrived nearly at the same time with the Second brigade, Thirteenth corps, which was under his command in the action at the Cross-Roads. I found the troops in line of battle, the skirmishers sharply engaged, the main body of the enemy posted on the crest of a hill in thick woods on both sides of a road, leading over the hill to Mansfield, on our line of march. It was apparent that the enemy was in much stronger force than at any previous point on the march, and being confirmed in this opinion by General Lee, I sent to General Franklin, immediately upon my arrival, a statement of the facts, and orders to hurry forward the infantry with all possible despatch, directing General Lee, at the same time, to hold his ground steadily, but not advance until reenforcements should arrive. Our forces were for a long time stationary, with some skirmishing on the flanks. It soon became apparent that the entire force of the enemy was in our front. Several officers were sent to General Franklin to hurry forward the column. Skirmishing was incessant during the afternoon. At half past 4 P. M. the enemy made a general attack all along the lines, but with great vigor upon our right flank. It was resisted with resolute determination by our troops; but overpowering numbers compelled them, after resisting the successive charges of the enemy in front and on the flank, to fall back from their position to the woods in rear of the open field, which they occupied, retreating in good order. The enemy pressed with great vigor upon the flanks, as well as in front, for the purpose of getting to the rear, but were repulsed in this attempt by our cavalry. At the line of woods a new position was assumed, supported by the Third division of the Thirteenth army corps, under General Cameron, which reached this point about five P. M., and formed in line of battle under the direction of Major-General Franklin, who accompanied its advance. The enemy attacked this second line with great impetuosity and overpowering numbers, turning both flanks and advancing heavily
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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