with his transports and two remaining gunboats; while there were not Rebel soldiers enough within a day's ride to have brought to a halt one of his regiments, properly led. Dick Taylor
's force, such as it was, was far away; Houston
, flanking Galveston
, was but 40 miles distant; Gen. Washburne
was at Brashear
, with a force equal to Franklin
's, ready to cooperate in the purposed advance, in case the latter had taken these poor earth works, defended by a captain1
and 250 men, and sent back his transports for reenforcements.
Instead of taking them, however, or even trying, Franklin
— finding no place to land where lie might not get his feet wet — slunk meekly back to New Orleans;2
leaving the Texans
to exult, very fairly, over a fruitful victory gained against odds of at least twenty to one.
now concentrated his disposable forces on the Atchafalaya
, with intent to advance directly upon Shreveport
; but found this utterly impracticable.
The country west and north-west of Brashear
had been so exhausted by the armies that had successively occupied it that no food and little forage was to be gleaned from it; an intense drouth now prevailed all over that flat region; where, though bayous abound, living springs and brooks of drinkable water are scarce; the roads were few and very bad, often winding for miles through dense forests; and it was not possible to transport by wagons all the food and forage needed by an army strong enough to overcome all probable resistance.
No course seemed open for a fulfillment of the desires and expectations of the Government
but that of a marine expedition; which was accordingly resolved on.
Meantime, a considerable force lad been sent, under Gen. F. J. Herron
, to Morganzia
, opposite but above Port Hudson
, were the Rebels
had a vicious habit of taking advantage of tile narrowness and crookedness of the Mississippi
to “ bushwhack ” our passing vessels.
No resistance being here encountered, an outpost had been established several miles inland, consisting of the 19th Iowa and 26th Indiana, with two guns, under Lt.-Col. Leake
, with 150 cavalry, under Major Montgomery
--in all, some 600 to 800 strong.
Though it was known that Green, with a far stronger Rebel force, was in their front across the Atchafalaya
, no proper vigilance was exercised; and, three weeks after this outpost had been established, it was surprised3
, who, with a far superior foree, crossed the bayou during a dark night, surrounded our camp, and captured our guns and most of our infantry — not less than 400, including Leake
and Lt.-Col. Rose
The cavalry escaped with a loss of five men. We had 14 killed and 40 wounded. Gen. N. J. T. Dana
had just succeeded Herron
in command at Morganzia
In order to mask his intended movement on Texas
by sea, Gen. Banks
now pushed out a considerable force, under Gen. C. C. Washburne
, to Opelousas
, which was reached without a conflict; but, when Washburne
his retreat to the Teche
, pursuant to orders, the Rebels
, under Taylor
, followed sharply on his track, and,