Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/90
86 Southern Historical Society Papers.
was delayed several hours, thus giving Grierson time to double on his course, return to the railroad at Hazlehurst, and thence down to Bogue Chitto and then to Baton Rouge.
On the 23d of May, 1863, General Banks crossed the Mississippi River opposite Bayou Sara, with an army of 25,000 men, and the next day Port Hudson was besieged on the North, while General C. C. Augur's Division of 5,000, augmented by Grierson's cavalry brigade of 1,600 men from Baton Rouge, invested it on the south.
On the evening of May 23rd Stockdale's Battalion proceeded down the plank road towards Baton Rouge to reconnoiter, and three miles below Plains Store came in touch with Grierson's cavalry; a sharp cavalry fight ensued. The enemy, bringing on a section of artillery, forced Stockdale to fall back to Plains Store, where he remained until daybreak, keeping the enemy under surveillance. Colonel Powers joined Stockdale, and at once or- dered all the cavalry at his command to at once assemble at Plains Store, and a line of battle was formed across the plank road, two six-pound howitzers being placed on this road. Colonel Stockdale, with part of Hoover's company, proceeded down the road to reconnoiter. When the Federal advance guard was met, Stockdale at once engaged the enemy, when he was almost en- tirely surrounded, being compelled to cut his way out, but not before losing several men. Grierson, having deployed his brigade, made an advance on the Confederate line. A sharp engagement ensued. The two howitzers were well handled, and the enemy, believing that a strong force was in their front, retired. Later in the day their cavalry made another advance, supported by in- fantry, and Powers was gradually forced back, but having called for reinforcements General Gardner sent out of Port Hudson Miles' Legion, 750 strong, and Boone's battery. Gen. Miles soon deployed his men, and Boone, having placed in position his guns, a spirited engagement ensued, Boore driving Grierson back upon the infantry line of battle, while General Miles held in check the enemy's infantry until nightfall. Powers dismounted most of his cavalry and fought as infantry. As night was approachiug Gen- eral Miles, after removing his dead and wounded, retired within the line of entrenchments.