ant to open the way there for the army to cross the river.
A failure to do so implied the necessity of throwing it across the Red River, in the presence of the enemy on both sides of that stream.
A flanking movement was determined upon.
General H. W. Birge was ordered to take his own brigade, that of Colonel Fessenden (Third of the First Division of the Nineteenth Corps), and General Cameron's division of the Thirteenth Corps, and, crossing the river three miles above the ferry, turn the lefcannon on the bluff, the Confederates opened fire upon them.
A spirited artillery duel ensued, and was kept up at intervals a greater part of the day, while the troops were held in reserve for the purpose of forcing the passage of the river when Birge should attack.
This was done, and the action lasted until dark, when, as we have observed, the Confederates fled, and the bluff was occupied by the Nationals.
In the mean time, that portion of the Confederates which were expected to fall on t