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[163] year before by Holmes. Marmaduke retired before him, skirmishing lightly, until he reached a point known as Poison Spring, about five miles from Camden, where he made a determined stand for an hour or more—compelling Steele to deploy his infantry and bring his artillery into action—to gain time to have the military stores and other government property in Camden destroyed. His orders were not to occupy Camden, but to leave it to the left and hold a road running southeast from the town. These orders he executed to the letter.

Steele waited in Camden to learn the result of Banks' Shreveport expedition. Price waited outside Camden for reinforcements and for Steele to make a movement. Price's headquarters were at Munn's Mill, probably ten miles from Camden. Marmaduke was encamped within two miles of the town. Steele was short of provisions, and a few days after he occupied the town he sent out a foraging train on the Washington road of two hundred wagons, guarded by a regiment of cavalry, a regiment of white and two regiments of negro infantry and a battery, to replenish his commissariat. Marmaduke asked for Cabell's brigade and for permission to intercept and capture the train and its escort. The brigade was sent him and the permission given. Shelby's brigade was absent on detached service. Marmaduke's force consisted of his own and Cabell's brigade, aggregating about 2,000 men and Harris' and Hughes' four-gun batteries. When he reached the Washington road he learned the Federal column had been reinforced by a regiment of cavalry and a battalion of white infantry. But he pushed on and met the foraging party returning at Poison Spring.

Just as he reached there Genera Maxey with two small brigades—one of Texans and the other of Indians—joined him. Maxey was ranking officer, but declined to take the command. His force was at some little distance on a road coming in from the southeast. Marmaduke ordered the Texans and Indians to advance through the

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