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[456] the advance of Porter reached Alexandria, and on the 19th General Franklin left the lower Teche with eighteen thousand men to meet him. General Steele, in Arkansas, reported his force at seven thousand men. The force of General Taylor at this time had increased to five thousand three hundred infantry, five hundred cavalry, and three hundred artillerymen; Liddel on the north had about the same number of cavalry and a four-gun battery. Some reenforcements were soon received. On March 31st Banks's advance reached Natchitoches, and Taylor moved toward Pleasant Hill, arriving on the next day. On April 4th and 5th he moved to Mansfield, concentrating his force in that vicinity. There two brigades of Missouri infantry and two of Arkansas, numbering four thousand four hundred muskets, joined him. On April 7th the enemy were reported from Pleasant Hill to be advancing in force, but their progress was arrested by a body of our cavalry.

General Taylor then selected his position in which to wait for an attack expected on the next day. It was in the edge of a wood, fronting an open field eight hundred yards in width and twelve hundred in length, through the center of which the road to Pleasant Hill passed. On the opposite side of the field was a fence separating it from the pine forest which, open on the higher ground and filled with underwood on the lower, spread over the country. The position was three miles in front of Mansfield, and covered a crossroad leading to the Sabine. On each side of the main Mansfield-Pleasant Hill road at two miles' distance was a road parallel to it, and these were connected by this Sabine crossroad.

On the 8th General Taylor disposed, on the right of the road to Pleasant Hill, Walker's infantry division of three brigades with two batteries; on the left, Mouton's two brigades and two batteries. As the horsemen came in from the front, they took position, dismounted, on Mouton's left. A regiment of horsemen was posed on each of the parallel roads, and cavalry with a battery was held in reserve on the main road. Taylor's force amounted to 5,300 infantry, 3,000 mounted men, and 500 artillerymen; total, 8,800. Banks left Grand Ecore with an estimated force of 25,000.

As the enemy showed no disposition to advance, a forward movement of the whole line was made. On the left our forces crossed the field under a heavy fire and entered the wood, where a bloody contest ensued, which resulted in gradually turning their right, which was forced back with loss of prisoners and guns. On the right little resistance was encountered until the woods was entered. Finding that our force outflanked the opponent's left, the right brigade was kept advanced, and we swept everything before us.

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