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[482] enemy's retreating forces, but the Commanding General thought it best to save the extra fatigue to our already tired soldiers for the remaining march toward Simmsport, and so our column headed again for the Atchafalaya.

The remainder of that day, throughout the whole of the following one, our only collisions with the enemy were the occasional brushes which our cavalry had with theirs, really amounting to nothing, except to show the intrepid bravery which inspired our men throughout this fatiguing and really harassing movement. For it is perhaps one of the most difficult things in the whole military catalogue of difficult operations to withdraw an army from an enemy's country successfully.

On Wednesday the eighteenth, our army reached Yellow Bayou, which by the way is a bayou that unites with Bayou de la Glaise and empties into the Atchafalaya a short distance above Simmsport. Here our advance had crossed, together with stores, trains, etc., and also a part of our main forces, when the enemy made a sudden dash upon us with the evident hope to throw our troops into a panic. In this they were disappointed, as the sequel will show. His very serene highness Prince Major-General Polignac, commanded the rebels, and he was evidently burning to distinguish his new born titles with deeds worthy their exalted quality.

Brigadier-General Mower received his Highness with befitting honors, and after one of the most brilliant affairs of the war — the whole engagement lasting scarcely beyond an hour's time — despatched his Eminence back to those who sent him, with a loss in killed and wounded of not less than five hundred and three hundred prisoners left in our hands. A charge made upon their lines was one of the most spirited of the whole campaign, and resulted in the infliction of the heavier part of their losses in killed, and the capture of the three hundred prisoners above spoken of. Our casualties in this engagement were inside of one hundred and fifty all told. The rebel retreat was a scene of the wildest disorder — their troops throwing away every thing which might encumber them, and skedaddling in fine style. We lost no prisoners in this engagement.

On the nineteenth the army arrived at the Atchafalaya, and a pontoon bridge was improvised as follows: Twenty transports were anchored abreast in the stream, and over them was laid a bridge, on which the army, with all its paraphernalia, passed as orderly, conveniently, and securely as it would or could have done over a turnpike bridge in the land of steady habits. On the twentieth instant our entire army had crossed the river at Simmsport, and again moved toward the Mississippi river. The next evening it reached Morganzia, and went into pleasant camping ground in security and peace, to rest from its labors and dangers till the next move on the chess-board shall call it forth to other labors and successes. General Canby is with the army at Morganzia.

Among the brilliant movements which deserve mention is a charge by the Twenty-sixth New York battery at the engagement of Avoyelles Prairie. The cavalry was under the command of Richard Arnold, Chief of Artillery of the department, and was handsomely handled throughout. General Mower's division of the Sixteenth Army Corps, a part of the Thirteenth corps, also under the same, and the cavalry, bore the largest part of the hardest fighting.

The most severe losses were sustained by the Fifty-eighth Illinois infantry, the Sixth Massachusetts, and Third Maryland cavalry.

The morale of the army at its camps at Morganzia is excellent, and its position pleasant and healthful, and when again called on to act, the country will hear a good account of what it is called on to perform.

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