Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/99

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Confederate Cavalry Around Port Hudson. 95

munition for small arms was almost gone, only twenty rounds re- maining to each man, and the garrison was on the verge of starva- tion. The corn mill had been destroyed and 2,000 bushels of corn burned with it; no meat was left, and nearly all the mules had been killed to satisfy the demand; only fifteen serviceable guns remained on the land defenses, the others having been disabled by the enfilad- ing fire from the gunboats, whose firing was incessant, both day and night. The hospitals were full of the sick, and the men in the trenches were so exhausted and enfeebled that they were unfit for action.

With the fall of Port Hudson, all the Confederate cavalry were ordered to Crystal Springs, Miss. En route to that point, a courier reached camp and communicated the news to Colonel Powers that the Federals had located a camp of instruction at Jackson, La., and were recruiting a negro regiment. Colonel Powers at once retraced his steps, and by forced marches reached Thompson's creek, a few miles from Jackson, about July 25.

Gage's and Stockdale's Battalions were sent around on the Port Hudson road to cut off the enemy's retreat, while Powers, with Colonel Griffith's mounted infantry, dashed into Jackson, and, although the Federals were taken by surprise, they formed and fired a deadly volley into the advancing Confederates. Adjutant Davis, a handsome young officer, of great promise, brave and fear- less, was killed at the side of Colonel Powers, in front of his an- cestral home. The enemy fled to Centenary College, and, from the windows, fired into the Confederate column and were only dis- lodged when the mountain howitzer was brought into action and exploded a number of shells in the building, when the enemy sur- rendered. The negroes in camp broke and ran, but not before a large number had been killed, while the military ardor of those that escaped was cooled.

Reaching Crystal Springs, Stockdale's Battalion was merged with that of Colonel Wilbourne, and from that time was known as the Fourth Mississippi Cavalry, Stockdale becoming lieutenant- colonel.

Gage's Battalion, with Garland's and some detached companies, were merged into a regiment and designated as the Fourteenth Con- federate Regiment, Colonel Dumonteil commanding, with John B. Gage lieutenant-colonel. Afterwards these two regiments were