into an advance too far beyond the main body of the army, considering the resistance which he was encountering, which very clearly indicated an enemy in heavy force; and, second, the placing of a long baggage-train between the advance and the column, in a country where the nature of the woods rendered it almost impossible to pass it without delay, was a very dangerous experiment. But for the presence of this train, Cameron's division might have reached the front in time to have taken position on our left, and then, if we had not been strong enough in the first encounter to repulse the enemy, we could have protected our line from that fatal flank movement, saved our batteries by forming a new line on the ridge in the rear, holding the rebels in check until Emory arrived, when we would have been strong enough to assume the offensive with a fair prospect of success. Although this letter was only intended to cover a description of the battle on the eighth at the Sabine Cross-Roads, still the history of this day is so intimately connected with the events that immediately followed that I will, as briefly as possible, narrate them. During the night of the eighth our entire force fell back in safety to Pleasant Hill, fifteen miles from the battle-field. General Cameron and Colonel Landrum collected together the main body of their scattered troops, and the cavalry brigades were also got into camp. General Smith had reached Pleasant Hill on the night of the battle, and on the morning of the ninth all the baggage-trains were placed in the rear, and Smith's and Emory's forces united were placed in fine position ready to receive the enemy. About half-past 2 o'clock the rebels made their appearance, and commenced skirmishing and shelling our lines, and at half-past 5 they attacked us in position in full force in the open field, and after a severe contest were repulsed with great loss. Our men, charging over the field, driving the enemy into the woods and taking six hundred or seven hundred prisoners, besides recapturing two of the guns (belonging to Nim's battery) lost on the previous day. This was on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday the entire Union army retreated in good order to Grand Ecore, thirty-five miles, without any molestation, the rebels being evidently unable to follow us after their defeat at Pleasant Hill. The retrograde movement was doubtless the best that could be made under the circumstances, the loss of the cavalry train, and the necessity for obtaining additional supplies rendering a forward movement very difficult and hazardous. The Union army is still strong enough to fight its way through to Shreveport, unless weakened by the withdrawal of Smith's force, in which event the Red River expedition must be abandoned for the present.
A. W. M.
New-York Herald narrative.
Grand Ecore, La., April 11, 1864.Early on the morning of Wednesday, April sixth, General Banks's column, having rested for two days at Natchitoches, marched on the Shreveport road, General Lee with his cavalry leading the column. At night the head of the column rested at Bayou du Paul, seventeen miles from Natchitoches, and the cavalry rested at Crump's Hill, twenty-one miles from Natchitoches. During the day, the cavalry skirmished with the enemy, who fell back slowly before our advance firing continually. At daylight on the morning of the seventh the army was in motion. The cavalry found the enemy in considerable force, but drove him before them with some loss until two miles beyond Pleasant Hill, where the rebels were drawn up in line, and strongly posted in the edge of a wood with open fields in front. The force consisted of some two thousand five hundred cavalry, under the rebel General Green, and occupied the crest of a hill on the farm of Dr. Wilson. General A. L. Lee ordered Colonel Robinson, commanding the Third brigade of Union cavalry, to advance and feel the enemy severely. The Eighty-seventh Illinois mounted infantry was accordingly sent forward on foot, and soon became heavily engaged with the enemy. Seeing them hard pressed, Colonel Robinson ordered forward the First Louisiana cavalry to support the Eighty-seventh, and the action now became general. The Sixth Missouri howitzer-battery was put into position, and opened on the enemy with shot and shell; but despite the storm of bullets hurled against them the rebels pushed steadily forward at all points, and our left flank was in great danger of being turned. General Lee, at this stage of the action, arrived on the ground, and at once ordered Colonel Lucas, commanding First cavalry brigade, up to the support of Colonel Robinson. Colonel Lucas deployed his line and moved forward in fine style, the men going into action with a shout. The contest now raged with renewed fury, and the pluck displayed on both sides was remarkable. Our troops slowly gained ground despite the stubborn resistance they met at every step, and drove the enemy into the timber. The rebels attempted a charge, but were repulsed with great gallantry by our troops. It was now discovered that our ammunition was giving out, and that the enemy was massing on the right of our line, which he soon after attacked with great vigor, compelling our force to slowly retire some hundred yards. The action now became lively, and the loss of the day was seriously apprehended; but Colonel Robinson, sabre in hand, cheered on the men, and the gallant fellows, many of them without a shot in their guns, rushed forward and drove the enemy into the woods and off the field. The day was won, but with severe loss in both officers and men. Captain Moss, of the First Louisiana cavalry, and Lieutenants Graham and Meader, of the Eighty-seventh Illinois mounted infantry, together with several privates, were wounded, and six or seven privates were killed. Colonel Lucas, with his First cavalry brigade, closely followed by Colonel Robinson, with his