General Butler's report.
A correspondent at Ship Island, Miss., writing April eleventh, gives the following account of this affair: The Ninth Connecticut regiment arrived very early on the morning of the fourth instant, near Pass Christian, and anchored, waiting for day-light. At about four o'clock in the morning three rebel gunboats — the Oregon, Pamlico, and Carondelet — came down from Lake Borgne, without showing any lights, and opened fire on our gunboats. While the Oregon and Pamlico engaged the New-London and Jackson, the Carondelet (a new boat carrying seven guns) ran within a thousand yards of the Lewis, and commenced firing shells into her. Two of the shells struck the Lewis, one of them passing through the officers' cabin, slightly wounding Capt. Conant, of the Thirty-first Massachusetts, who was present as a volunteer, and the other passing through the smoke-stack. For some little time the Lewis could do nothing to extricate herself from her perilous position, as for some reason, her anchor would not come up. Capt. Jones, the navigator of the steamer, got an axe and cut the cable, and the Lewis swung into a position, where she could bring the two six-pounder steel rifled Sawyer guns that had been placed on her, to bear on the Carondelet. The guns were manned by one section of Capt. Chas. Everett's Sixth Massachusetts battery, and the first shot was fired by Lieut. J. H. Phelps, and struck full in the Carondelet. He and Captain Everett fired ten or twelve shots, two of which certainly struck the rebel steamer and drove her off, and after the troops landed at Pass Christian, they were told that the Carondelet put in at that place in the retreat, and left the pilot who had both legs shot off. The Captain and four of his men were killed by the guns on the Lewis, and the machinery of the Carondelet was badly injured. The Carondelet, supposing that the Lewis was entirely unarmed, expected to have an easy job of sinking her, with her valuable freight of human lives; but when those rifled guns began to speak, the valiant Carondelet left incontinently. In the mean time, the Oregon and Pamlico, and the New-London and Jackson had been blazing away at each other, and kept up the fire for an hour and three quarters, when the rebels made their usual brilliant advance on Fort Pike, the Oregon going off with one wheel, having the other badly injured by the guns of the New-London and Jackson. The New-London received one shot, which slightly splintered her cutwater, and another that cut one of the chains of her davits, but nothing to cripple her in the slightest. A little before noon the Lewis approached the wharf, and as she drew near it was discovered that the end of the pier was covered with a large number of bales of hay, covered with tarpaulin. Smoke was seen to arise from behind the hay, the rebels being engaged in an attempt to burn the pier to prevent the landing of our troops. Capt. Everett threw a few shells from his two rifled guns at the wharf, and the gunboats, seeing the firing from the Lewis, and the smoke arising from behind the hay, supposed the rebels had a battery on the wharf, and consequently they opened a fire on the town. Several of their shot passed through a few houses and demolished considerable property, but injured no one. The Ninth Connecticut regiment then landed, and after leaving a guard at the wharf to protect the Lewis, and, if necessary, to cover the retreat of our troops, the regiment took up the line of march, with the two rifled guns on the right, drawn by a company of soldiers to each. Colonel Cahill, with Major Strong, chief of General Butler's staff, at the head of the main column, Capt. J. H. French, of General Butler's staff, in command of two companies, deployed his men as skirmishers on the right of the road,  while Lieut.-Col. Fitzgibbon and Major Frye, of the Ninth Connecticut, each deployed two companies to the extreme right and left through the woods to cover the flank of the enemy if he should make his appearance. When within about a mile of the encampment, Captain French discovered through the woods a piece of artillery in position, and saw the flashing of sabres. Immediately after, the enemy opened upon the main column with their artillery and rifles. Captain Everett's guns were at once placed in position, and, under direction of Major Strong, the fire of the rebels was returned with interest, and after an exchange of a dozen shots and three or four volleys of musketry, the rebels fled. As soon as Lieut.-Col. Fitzgibbon and Major Frye heard the firing, they hurried their commands toward the centre, hoping to flank the enemy; but the fight was so short that they arrived too late to assist in the skirmish. Our troops followed up the success for some distance, but the rebels having mules attached to their artillery, succeeded in eluding capture or destruction. It is thought the enemy must have lost some men in killed and wounded, but nothing positive respecting that is known. On our side one man was severely wounded. A Minie ball passed directly through his left arm, below the elbow, shattering it badly, and probably necessitating amputation. He was a private, named John Leonard, of Capt. Duffy's company A, and resides in New-Haven. After the gallant fellow was shot, he picked up his gun with his right hand, and leaning it on the stump of a tree, fired one more shot at the rebels. Drs. Gallagher and Avery, of the Ninth, are doing their best for the unfortunate man, and hope to save his arm. As the rebels fled they attempted to burn a bridge over a small piece of water, lying between their camp and the place of the skirmish; but our troops were too fast for them and prevented it. At about five o'clock in the afternoon, our troops reached Camp Suggville, (the name of the rebel camp.) There they found evidences of the most sudden departure. Dinners cooked and waiting to be eaten; clothing and trinkets lying about in profusion, and everything denoting a sudden stampede. The camp was most luxuriously furnished, the tents were of the best pattern, and the officers' quarters were supplied with feather-beds, and superior trunks well filled with good clothing, all betokening unusual comfort for the soldiers' life. As our officers had been informed that two sections of artillery had left in the morning for Mississippi City, to meet our troops, whom they supposed would march up from Biloxi, and as they would probably soon return and cut off our retreat to the wharf, while the troops that had been dispersed would have gained accessions to their ranks, and would renew the charge, and especially as it was getting dark very fast, Major Strong, who was the director of the expedition, decided that it was unsafe to attempt to carry off the camp equipage and other valuables, and ordered everything to be destroyed; and it was done effectually by fire. A number of cavalry-horses were shot because they could not be brought off. A handsome silk State flag, which had been presented to the Third Mississippi regiment, by the ladies of Harrison County, was captured by the Ninth regiment, and brought off as a trophy. As the regiment marched through the town, one of the ladies bemoaned its loss, weeping profusely. She said she didn't think the Southern soldiers were cowards; but she couldn't see how they could allow that flag to be taken. She had helped make it. The troops reembarked on the Lewis about nine o'clock, on the evening of the fourth, and anchored out in the Sound until the next morning. While the regiment was on shore, a half-dozen men of the guard, left at the wharf, saw a schooner beating up; they jumped into a boat, pulled out to the schooner, and captured her. She was laden with army stores. This prize, with a little sloop, taken the day before in Biloxi Bay, was brought to Ship Island, on the evening of the fourth, by the Jackson. About a dozen bales of the hay on the wharf were put on board the Lewis, and as there was no room for more, the balance, nearly a hundred bales, was thrown overboard. At Biloxi there was a large quantity of old iron junk on the wharf, waiting to be sent to New-Orleans, to be cast into munitions of war. This was also thrown overboard. In the tent of Col. Deason, of the Third Mississippi regiment, the annexed letter was found, with the pen with which it was written yet full of ink. It was written by the Lieutenant-Colonel, T. A. Mellen, and was intended to be flashed over the wires to Gen. Mansfield Lovell, at New-Orleans. It gives some information of the number of troops, but is otherwise valueless, except as a specimen of secession literature. In the Colonel's tent there were also found a number of silk dresses, giving the idea that a lady, probably the Colonel's wife, had been sharing his camp-life.
The Ninth regiment, of Connecticut, and the section of the Sixth Massachusetts battery, behaved admirably throughout the whole expedition.