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[404] Major Carmichael, dropped down the Mississippi river on board a steamer, and landing at a point below Old Town, marched in the direction of Sims' ferry, on Big creek, to cooperate with Colonel Brooks.

The infantry and artillery crossed Big creek at five A. M, on the twenty-sixth, and learned that the rebel General Dobbins was near there in force, having three regiments, estimated at fifteen hundred men. Colonel Brooks recrossed his command, Dobbins crossing lower down and before him, and attacked him in front and right flank with vigor. The infantry and artillery held their ground stubbornly for several hours, when Major Carmichael, hearing the cannonading, made a forced march, and charged through Dobbins' command just at the moment when he had brought up his reserves, and was about to make a final charge. Our forces immediately assumed the offensive, and marched in the direction of Helena, the enemy giving away before them, but following them up within nine miles of that place. Our loss was about fifty in killed and wounded, including Colonel Brooks, Captain Lembke, Adjutant Pratt, and Surgeon Stoddard, of the Fifty-sixth colored, killed, and Lieutenant Crane severely wounded, one caisson and one limber were blown up, their horses having been killed. The enemy's loss is estimated, by officers who were in the action, at about one hundred and fifty men.

Twenty-seventh. A force of between fifteen hundred and two thousand rebels, under General Gano, attacked our outpost seven miles from Fort Smith, consisting of about two hundred men of the Sixth Kansas, under the command of Captain Mefford, moving up in two columns, the one driving in the pickets and the other flanking them.

Captain Mefford fought his men bravely, but was soon overpowered, and he and eighty-two of his men were taken prisoners. The enemy retired before reinforcements could be sent. Ten of our men were killed and fifteen wounded.

The enemy lost twelve killed and twenty wounded left on the field.

Major Galoway, of the First Arkansas cavalry, routed Major Pickles' and Buck Brown's forces, killing Major Pickles and a number of his men; and capturing thirty-five horses and mules. Captain Worthington, of the same regiment, subsequently attacked a portion of Brown's force, killing nine, and capturing fifteen horses and mules.

Twenty-ninth. Captain Napirs, Third Arkansas cavalry, returned from scout to Greenbrier, having killed the rebel Captain Birr near Red river.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

F. Steele, Major-General Commanding. Brigadier-General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General, United States Army, Washington, D. C.

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