HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY FORCES
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY FORCES,
Vicksburg, Miss., October 12, 1864.
CAPTAIN: Pursuant to orders from the major-general commanding I left Natchez, Miss., on the 4th day of October, at 6 p.m., on the transports provided, with detachments of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, and Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, one section Twenty-sixth Ohio Battery, and one section of Company K, Second Illinois Light Artillery, and a detachment of the signal corps, in all amounting to 1,200 men. I landed at Tunica Bend, La., at 4 a.m. on the 5th instant, and immediately marched in the direction of Woodville, Miss. When ten miles from Woodville, hearing heavy firing in the direction of Bayou Sara, I proceeded toward that point as far as Sligo, but there, finding that the firing receded faster than we advanced, I moved toward Woodville, and after surrounding the town, charged with two regiments, completely surprising the rebels and capturing 12 prisoners, 1 caisson, 12 army wagons with teams, &c. The Fifth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry secured almost all of the above captures. Leaving a strong provost guard to search the town I moved, after destroying the telegraph and capturing the mail, half a mile south of the village and encamped the command. At daylight I forwarded all prisoners and captured property to Fort Adams to meet the boats, and prepared to march. Hearing at this time of the position of a rebel force upon my right flank about one mile and a half distant, I immediately sent the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, and the section of Company K, Second Illinois Light Artillery, to the left, and moved with the Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Cavalry and Second Wisconsin Cavalry, and the section of the Twenty-sixth Ohio Battery to the right. (Inclosed please find plan of field and position of regiments, marked A.(*)) The column sent to the left moved rapidly, the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry in advance, and met a severe fire from Gober's cavalry, as the command rose the hill in rear of the rebel position. The artillery of the column, Fifth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry supporting, opened at about 1,000 yards range, and did fine execution. Maj. J. B. Cook, with Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, pushing rapidly to the rear, stampeded Gober's command, and gained the rear of the battery, when, forming line of battle, he charged through the woods, one battalion with revolver and one with saber, cutting down the rebels, who were now deserting the battery, driving the gunners from and capturing the guns. The batterymen rushing forward were secured as prisoners of war by the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, who were in line immediately in front. In the mean time the other column was met with stubborn resistance at the point where the railroad meets the road, and by the delay caused in dislodging this force only reached the scene of action in time to assist in securing the prisoners, who had scattered through the woods. The results of this half hour's work were one 12-pounder howitzer, two 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, 150 rounds of fixed ammunition, horses and harness complete, 3 battle-flags, 41 prisoners, and 40 of the enemy killed. Our loss was nothing. The fight occurred near the residence of Judge McGehee, who had breakfast cooked for the rebels. Our men ate the breakfast without difficulty, and giving Judge McGehee half an hour to move out of his residence, burned it, together with the quarters he had erected for the use of the rebels. I now sent one company of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry, Captain Bentley commanding, to the right of our position about one mile, when he succeeded in stampeding one company of rebel cavalry. He found and destroyed 35 saddles and 35 stand of arms. I also caused to be burned at Woodville about $100,000 worth of commissary stores, C. S. Army, consisting of salt, sugar, flour, tobacco, and cotton cloth. I now moved rapidly to a point four miles from Fort Adams, sending captured property to the boats at that point in waiting. Here at the junction of these roads the advance (Third U.S. Colored Cavalry) found and drove some two miles a small party of rebels. Our loss was 2 wounded slightly. During the night I learned that we had met Powers' regiment, 200 strong. Before daylight, in attempting to surround them, our plan was accidentally discovered and frustrated. The Fourth Illinois Cavalry had 1 man wounded, who afterward died. Expecting to meet Scott's command and the combined rebel force at Woodville, I marched at 8 a.m. for that point, but found no enemy within twenty miles. Encamped on Buffalo Creek. Marched next morning at daylight, and meeting Colonel Farrar at Kingston reached Natchez at 4 p.m.
I regret to add that that gallant officer, Lieut. Col. Otto Funke, commanding Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, while marching in column on this side of Woodville was painfully but not dangerously wounded by some bushwhackers concealed in the thick brush.
Embarking on transports the afternoon of the 9th I reached camp at Vicksburg the afternoon of the 11th instant.
I learned at Woodville that in the skirmish with Powers' regiment the enemy lost their commanding officer, Major McKowen, and 8 killed.
A SUMMARY OF THE TWELVE DAYS' SCOUT.
The command embarked and disembarked twice, traveled by river 175 miles, and marched by land 260 miles. They lost no material, had only 2 men killed and 1 officer and 5 men slightly wounded. The enemy's loss in killed is Major McKowen, commanding Powers' regiment, C. S. Army, and Lieutenant Dodds, secret scout, C. S. Army, and 54 enlisted men; and by capture, 4 commissioned officers (Captain Holmes, the leader of the expedition, which recaptured the Chesapeake), the lieutenant and post commissary of subsistence at Woodville, a son of General Liddell, and an acting assistant surgeon, C. S. Army, and 82 enlisted men.
The command captured 3 pieces of cannon, 1 caisson, 350 rounds ammunition, harness, &c., 1,000 head beef-cattle, 300 sheep, and between 300 and 400 horses and mules, 12 army wagons, harness, &c.; destroyed about 350 stand of small-arms, $100,000 worth of subsistence stores, the telegraph station at Woodville, and a large portion of the line, the printing office at Woodville, and secured a large amount of information through captured dispatches, and otherwise valuable to the Government, and also gained 175 able-bodied colored recruits.
The command returned in good health, and with a few days' rest are ready for another raid on the enemy.
I stated in a former report that I desired to prefer charges against Lieutenant Earl, commanding Major-General Canby's scouts; while I do not desire to again have him under my command, his gallant action in [re]capturing the flags of our armies and sealed dispatches at Saint Joseph leads me to believe that he is a valuable agent of the Government, and I would most respectfully decline to prosecute him for what I thought unofficer-like conduct.
E. D. OSBAND,
Colonel Third U.S. Colored Cavalry.
Capt. F. W. FOX,
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