operations against boats navigating the river.
nestles cosily on the outer edge of Lake Chicot
The lake was no doubt at one time the bed of the river, and is crescentic in form.
It is probably fifteen miles in length, and on an average half a mile in width.
Its two ends approach nearly to the river.
But Lake Village
is situated on its outer edge and is seven or eight miles from the river.
From this point of vantage the batteries —Harris' and Hynson
's—were sent with a regiment every day to fire on boats passing up and down, with the remainder of the brigade in easy supporting distance if they were threatened by a land force.
It was splendid practice for the artillerymen and they liked it. They could see the effect of nearly every shot they fired, and they soon became so expert that they could riddle a transport in short order, and were more than a match for the light-armored, and lightly armed gunboats that patrolled the river.
The command became, in fact, a great nuisance to the Federals
, but it was hard to get at and dislodge.
At last the Federal
authorities at Vicksburg
decided to drive it away at all hazards, and began organizing a force for that purpose.
learned of it, and asked for Cabell
's brigade, which was sent to him, but the Federals
delayed their movements and the brigade was ordered back to Fagan
, leaving Marmaduke
with only his old brigade under command of Col. Colton Greene
At length the Federals
came, about 5,000 strong, under Gen. A. J. Smith
They landed at the lower point of the lake and were met by Burbridge
and his regiment, who stubbornly contested their advance around the lake and gave Marmaduke
time to get ready to receive them.
The brigade moved down and met them about half way at Ditch Bayou—a low, sluggish stream, with steep banks and a miry bottom, that entered the lake at a rightangle.
formed his command with the advantage of position in his favor.
He was in heavy