About the time that Gardner took command, a Federal expedition from Baton Rouge surprised General Hodge's headquarters at Liberty, November 16th, capturing about 60 officers and men, including four of the general's staff. General Hodge escaped on foot and walked twenty-four miles to rejoin his command. Brookhaven and Summit were also surprised and a considerable number of men captured and stores and railroad transportation destroyed. But on the 18th the enemy was attacked at Liberty by Colonel Scott, who had collected about 300 men, and his fierce assault checked the progress of the raid. The enemy was at least 1,200 strong, accompanied by artillery.
In the latter part of November Gen. E. R. S. Canby, in command at Vicksburg, sent out an expedition of 2,000 men to destroy the Mississippi Central bridge over the Big Black, and the railroad, so as to cut off supplies from Hood. A feint was made against Jackson, where large Confederate stores had been accumulated, and the bridge was then fired and several miles of track destroyed. Col. John Griffith, now in command in this region, with very slight resources, sent a detachment under Capt W. S. Yerger, of Wood's regiment, to defend the Big Black bridge. He found some dozen citizens making a manful defense of the bridge, and with his help the enemy was repulsed before any great damage was done. As soon as the bridge was repaired Griffith started after the enemy, who fled precipitately, and overtaking them at Concord church he fought a brisk engagement of an hour and a half's duration, in which he inflicted considerable damage and caused the continued retreat of the Federals to Vicksburg.
Later, as the preparations were under way for the Federal movement against Mobile, a column of cavalry was sent northward from Baton Rouge, but it was ineffective. A detachment which crossed Chickasawha river to destroy the railroad was met and repulsed by the Second