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[76] (which in view of the probability of the enemy advancing direct upon Washington, and the derth of forage and subsistence at Tate's Bluff, had been ordered to halt fifteen miles southwest of that point) to cross the Little Missouri by the military road and resist him in front, while Greene's brigade (the middle column) would cross the Little Missouri at Tate's Bluff and attack his left flank, and as he advanced southward from Arkadelphia co-operate with Cabell, each command to make short and desperate attacks, retire, and attack again, until the enemy reached the Little Missouri river, when all would concentrate to prevent the passage of that stream. Before the several brigades could cross the river and get into position, the enemy had entered Arkadelphia.

On the 1st of April, Steele with his whole force moved out of Arkadelphia, directing his march on the ‘military road’ toward Washington. Late on the evening of the 1st the scouts in advance of Shelby's brigade had entered Arkadelphia, capturing a dozen stragglers, including one Captain, and closed up to the enemy's rear. But the main body of his brigade had not arrived. Cabell had, however, moved up to the Antoine, eighteen miles southwest of Arkadelphia, and his advance commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Fayth, struck the advance of the enemy, consisting of two regiments of cavalry, near Spoonville, ten miles southwest of Arkadelphia. Here several sharp fights occurred, in which the enemy suffered considerable loss and were driven back upon the main body. Greene, on the enemy's left had attacked and driven in with loss his flankers to the main body. On the night of the 1st Steele encamped near Spoonville, having marched only ten miles. Shelby encamped that night near Arkadelphia, Cabell on the Antoine, and Greene was at nightfall about eight miles east of Spooneville. The design of the enemy evidently was to co-operate with the Federal army under Banks, then moving against Shreveport. His shortest route to Shreveport was by way of Washington. The crossing of the Little Missouri river on the military road was a good one. The latest information from my scouts on the 1st (I was then with Greene's column) was that Steele had certainly advanced as far as Spooneville, on the direct Washington road. These facts taken into consideration, I ordered Colonel Greene to leave Lawther's regiment of his brigade on the enemy's left flank, and, marching that night, join Cabell at Cottingham's store, fourteen miles northeast of Washington and three south of Little Missouri river on the military road. Before daylight on the morning of the 2d, I had joined Cabell at Antoine. At Spooneville

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W. L. Cabell (10)
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