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[156] being thrown forward and on both flanks, to try to ascertain the strength of the enemy, who seemed at first to be confused by our presence, but soon turned against us. At this time three firings were distinctly heard: Bagby's, the enemy's and Debray's. After a short time, Bagby's firing was no longer heard, and the enemy's efforts seemed to be more intensely directed against us. At this juncture, Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffmann, of Bagby's regiment, and Captain Corwin, of the staff of Green's brigade, came by a circuitous pathway to inform Debray that Bagby, having exhausted his ammunition, was compelled to fall back; that the opposing force was a division of cavalry and mounted infantry, and that Debray, too, must fall back to avoid being cut to pieces or captured. Order was given to retire slowly, which was done in perfect order, and so as to keep the enemy in check. The regiment was followed up but a short distance, because, as was subsequently ascertained, the enemy believed it to be the advance of a large force coming from Texas, which it might be dangerous to meet in the woods. Such was Debray's regiment's baptism of fire. The casualties on our side were five men and several horses wounded. It is proper to state that the band, who had been ordered to the rear, dismounted, and of their own volition went to the front to pick up the wounded and carry them to the ambulances. They never afterwards shrank from the performance of that self-imposed duty of devotion which endeared them to the regiment.

The following general order was issued, the original of which has been preserved by the writer:

General order.

headquarters District, Western Louisiana, in the field, April 5th, 1864.

On the 2d instant, while marching his regiment from Manny to Pleasant Hill, Colonel X. B. Debray was suddenly attacked by the enemy in superior force. Considering the unexpected nature of this affair, and the circumstance that Colonel Debray's regiment had never before been in action, the soldierly qualities displayed by the Colonel, and the good conduct of his men, meet the acknowledgment of the Major-General commanding, who has every reason to form brilliant expectations of the future career of this fine corps.

By command of

Major-General Taylor, E. Surget, A. A. G. To Colonel X. B. Debray, Commanding Cavalry outposts.

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X. B. DeBray (7)
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