mud, until about 7:30 a. m. on the 30th, when he overtook the enemy and deployed Tappan
's brigade as skirmishers.
This order being recalled, Shaver
's and Grinsted
's regiments were substituted, and finally Shaver
's regiment was alone deployed.
The latter becoming engaged and hotly pressed by the enemy, the brigade was ordered forward in force.
This proving insufficient to cope with the numbers of the enemy, General Price
threw forward Hawthorn
's brigade in support of Tappan
and drove the enemy, but the latter, being reinforced and making desperate resistance, caused the Confederates
to fall slowly back to their first position.
This conflict of the two armies can only be understood by a view of their relative positions on the ground.
At first, woods and wet marshes were on the right of the Confederates
, and a succession of little fields in front toward the ferry, two miles distant. When near the ferry the road descends into a little valley or defile, to the left of which, in cane and underbrush, lies an impassable bayou with morass beyond, while on the right rises an abrupt, almost inaccessible hill, or bluff; the road and valley affording barely room for the alignment of a full brigade.
The land to the right of the road was a field of muddy plowed land and marsh, the fences of which had been removed or destroyed, and the field cut up and trampled into a quagmire by Steele
's trains, artillery, cavalry, and masses of soldiery.
The canon was over a mile long, ending at the ferry.
Gigantic trees had been felled, lapping across the valley, but had not been joined throughout their length, leaving spaces between them for the movement of batteries and masses of infantry.
Behind this breastwork of trees the Federals
had lodged themselves in desperation, to hold off the Confederate
advance until they could cross their trains and their artillery, which latter was immediately planted across the river to command the approach thereto.
There were dead trees standing in the fields also, which gave positions to