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On the morning of the 23d the van of the Nationals drove the Confederates across the stream, and after a severe struggle during the day, General Birge, with a force of Nationals, drove the Confederates from the ferry, and the National army crossed.
Its retreat to Alexandria was covered by the troops under Gen. Thomas K. Smith, who skirmished at several points on the way—severely at Clouterville, on the Cane River, for about three hours. The whole army arrived at Alexandria on April 27.
At that place the water was so low that the gunboats could not pass down the rapids.
It had been determined to abandon the expedition against Shreveport and return to the Mississippi.
To get the fleet below the rapids was now urgent business.
It was proposed to dam the river above and send the fleet through a sluice in the manner of running logs by lumbermen.
Porter did not believe in the feasibility of the project; but Lieut.-Col. Joseph Bailey (q. v.) performed the service success