Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/91

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Confederate Cavalry Around Port Hudson. 87


that he had three brigades Weitzel's, Grover's and D wight's engaged in this action, and yet, when night closed in, Powers' cavalry were still in line near Plains Store. On the morning of May 25th, Col. Powers succeeded in placing his command outside the cotton that was then encircling Port Hudson, Banks and Augur, commanding the two investing armies, joined hands and Port Hudson was then isolated. The Ninth Tennessee Battalion did not participate in this action, having been ordered a few days before to Jackson. Colonel Powers then established his head- quarters at Freeman's plantation, on the Clinton and Port Hud- son road, keeping strong scouting parties in front to watch Gri- erson and the movements of the enemy. From this time on, to the fall of Port Hudson, Powers kept his cavalry in constant mo- tion. The latter part of May scouts reported that the enemy was advancing with a large train of wagons and were then between Clinton and Port Hudson. Colonel Powers at once placed his command in motion, and ascertaining that it was a foraging ex- pedition under a cavalry escort, about 400 strong, drew up his command at the edge of a forest, and having brought out one mountain howitzer with his command, had it masked, and then awaited the coming- of the enemy, who leisurely proceeded along the road, not anticipating the presence of an enemy, until a shell from the howitzer exploded over their heads and the Rebel yell greeted their ears as Powers charged them. So completely dumfounded were the enemy that they hardly fired a shot, turning and driving spurs to their horses, fled for dear life, leaving forty new army wagons with four mules each standing in the road.

The enemy were pursued for several miles, many being killed and captured. The wagons were then brought back with the prisoners to Freeman's, and next day, under a guard, sent to John- son's Army at Jackson, Miss. May 2, 1863, a courier from the front rode up to Colonel Power's headquarters and imparted to him news of great importance. Shortly thereafter, Major Stockade ordered his battalion to make preparations for a forced march. At 4 o'clock p. m., the command fell in and proceeded in the direction of Port Hudson. As night approached the command turned into a plantation road, and from this road into the woods, where the com- mand proceeded in single file to ride on in silence, the men having been enjoined to make no noise. Just before daybreak a halt was