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[330]

The Richmond had been stopped on her course by a shot through her steam-drum, and lost 8 killed and 7 wounded. The Kineo was disabled by a shot through her rudder; Capt. McKinstry, of the Monongahela, was badly wounded. Several of our vessels carried ugly marks thereafter; but the loss of the Mississippi, with her splendid armament of 21 large guns and 2 howitzers, was our principal disaster.

Gen. Banks returned forthwith to Baton Rouge; his immediate object being accomplished; while he judged the force holding the Port entirely too strong1 to be besieged by his little army — a point whereon Gen. Halleck deems him in error. Our columns were again impelled westward to Brashear City and thence across Berwick's Bay;2 the main body moving thence on Franklin, while Gen. Grover's division was sent by transports up the Atchafalaya and Grand Lake to Irish Bend, above Fort Bisland, where lie effected a landing with great difficulty — the water being, shallow for over a mile from shore, precluding his expected cooperation in Gen. Banks's movement. Here he was soon attacked with vigor, but held his ground and beat off the enemy. Still, the attack sufficed to keep open the road for Gen. Dick Taylor, who, evacuating Fort Bisland, and burning several steamboats, retreated on Opelousas; making a brief stand at Vermilion Bayou, and losing heavily, as he reports, by desertion and straggling — much of his force being made up of unwilling conscripts, who improved every opportunity to escape and return to their homes. Taylor reports his men at but 4,000 in all, and blames his subordinate, Gen. Sibley, for persistent disobedience of orders and other unsoldierly conduct. During his retreat, the famous Queen of the West was assailed by our gunboats in Grand Lake, whither she had worked her way down the Atchafalaya from Red river,and destroyed; her crew being made prisoners.

Banks was delayed by Taylor's burning, as he fled, the bridges over the many bayous and sluggish water-courses of this region; but he entered Opelousas in triumph on the same day3 that our gunboats. under Lt.-Com'g A. P. Cooke, captured Butte à la Rose, opening the Atchafalaya to Red river; so that communication was reestablished,4 through the gunboat Arizona, with Admiral Farragut, at the mouth of that stream. And now a new advance was rapidly made5 by our army to Alexandria; Taylor, evacuating Fort De Russy, again retreating on Shreveport without a fight; while Admiral Porter came up the river with his fleet, and Louisiana, save its north-west corner, was virtually restored, or subjugated, as you will. Gen. Banks sent Weitzel, with a part of his army, on the track of the flying Rebels, nearly to Grand Ecore; when Taylor's force was so reduced that it did not seem worth farther pursuit; and he was unable to retake the field for weeks. Banks reports his captures in this campaign at 2,000 prisoners and 22

1 He says, in his official report, citing Brig.-Gen. W. W. R. Beall, of the garrison, as his authority:

The strength of the enemy at Port Hudson was then believed to be from 18,000 to 20,000. It is now known, with absolute certainty, that the garrison. on the night of the 14th of March. 1863, was not less than 16,000 effective troops.

2 April 9-10.

3 April 20.

4 May 2.

5 May 5-9.

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