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[333] river, about the 20th January, I received an order from the Division Commander to take position near Benton, Miss., and was charged with guarding the country west of Big Black river. A few days subsequently, Colonel Mabry, of the Third Regiment Texas Cavalry, commanding the brigade in my absence, received orders to move to the vicinity of Mechanicsburg, at which place the command arrived on the evening of the 26th.

Being informed by the scouts in front that a large foraging party was moving upon the “Ridge road” from Vicksburg, Col. Mabry attempted to intercept it, but the enemy, receiving notice of his presence in the neighborhood saved himself by flight. On the morning of the 28th, my scouts reported gunboats and transports coming up the Yazoo river. Two boats were already at Satartia, and the smoke of others was plainly visible below. Hoping to surprise the two advance boats, I moved rapidly from Mechanicsburg to Satartia, leaving one regiment at the former place to guard against the advance of any land force from that direction.

The movement was entirely successful, and ere they were aware of our presence, Lieutenant Merre had his pieces in position and opened fire upon them at 900 yards distance. One of the boats, a transport, was landed at Dr. Gales' place, on the opposite side of the river, one-quarter of a mile above Satartia, had debarked its troops and was loading with forage. The gunboat had halted in the middle of the river, being along doubtless merely for the protection of the transport.

Our attack was sudden and unexpected, so much so, that before the transport could loose herself from the shore and get off, she received some twenty (20) shots, many of them passing entirely through her hulk but without damage to her machinery so far as we could discover. So hurried was her departure that the men on shore had not time to get aboard, but were left to save themselves as best they could. The gunboat ran off wsthout firing a shot, and both boats being out of reach, I directed some shells to be thrown at a squadron of cavalry which having been picketing up the river while the boats were loading, and hearing our artillery, were now endeavoring to get back. Attempting to run by within range of our guns, a few shells exploding in their midst unhorsed several and scattered the rest in all directions.

The men who were unhorsed, were afterwards captured by some of my skirmishers (who crossed the river in a dug-out for this purpose) and proved to be negro troops.

Being convinced that the enemy would again advance very soon, en route for Yazoo City, I examined the river banks and selected Liverpool

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