Late on May 8, the night before his arrival at this site, Mr. Davis and his party had camped in Abbeville (26 miles NE), unaware that pursuit was close behind. Their pursuers, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry (US), Lt. Col. Henry Harnden, had learned in Dublin of their passage and, after many hours of trailing through swamps and over boggy roads, reached Abbeville shortly after Mr. Davis' departure. Stopping only to feed and water, Harnden's men were resuming the pursuit when the 4th Michigan Cavalry (US) Lt. Col. B.D. Pritchard, arrived and learned Mr. Davis' probable route.
Pritchard was bound down-river to intercept other Confederate officials. After Harnden had departed, he rode on some 12 miles; then, abandoning his own mission, he made a forced march and after finding the Davis camp later that night by posing in Irwinville as the escort, he surrounded it quietly and waited for dawn.
Harnden had camped a few miles away. Unaware of Pritchard's presence he moved up just before dawn to surround the camp. His advance was fired upon and, in the fight that followed, two Michigan soldiers were killed before a prisoner taken by Harnden's men revealed the identity of the "enemy."
During this unfortunate collision, Pritchard closed in and seized Mr. Davis and his party, thereafter claiming for the 4th Michigan the fruits of the 1st Wisconsin's labors.