Doc. 133.-operations at Bayou Sara, La.
Report of Captain Craven.
Baton Rouge, on my way up the river, at one P. M. of that day. On the fourteenth, at nine P. M., I sent the marine guard and a party of seamen, in all about one hundred men, under charge of Lieut. Lowry, on shore at Bayou Sara, for the purpose of destroying the telegraphic apparatus and cutting the wires, and with orders to inform the authorities of that town that we were on the river for the purpose of enforcing the laws of our common country, and protecting its loyal citizens; and at the same time to warn them that if any hostile demonstrations were made upon our vessels or transports as they passed in front of their town, by the thieves and murderers yclept guerrillas, the town would be held responsible for it, and at least be laid under contribution, if not dealt with more severely. At about eleven A. M. Lieut. Lowry returned with his party to the ship, having thoroughly accomplished his work, excepting securing the telegraphic apparatus, which had been removed but a few minutes before he landed. About a half a mile of the wire was cut and brought on board, and the vitriol and batteries destroyed. The people ashore appeared to be peaceably disposed, were quite civil, and made no disrespectful demonstrations. The Mayor or Chief Magistrate informed Lieut. Lowry that but two or three days previous to our arrival the town had been visited by a band of guerrillas; that they had committed many outrages against law and order, and that he had arrested a lieutenant who commanded the party, but he was rescued by his men and borne off to the woods. He represented these guerrillas as a lawless set, whom the inhabitants of the county and small towns “had a greater dread of than they had of the visits of our navy, or even of our army,” and hoped we would not hold him responsible for the acts of this cut-throat band. Before leaving the shore Lieutenant Lowry, with the flag of our Union at the head of his party, marched to the tunes of. Yankee Doodle and “Dixie” through some of the principal streets. We passed Natchez at about half-past 10 A. M. of the sixteenth. On the morning of the seventeenth the Richmond joined us, and at about half-past 9 A. M., we passed Rodney. We arrived at our present anchorage on the eighteenth, at half-past 11 A. M. Nowhere on our route were we molested, and I saw no change in the aspect of things since our last trip except at Grand Gulf. The town there was in ruins, having been riddled by shot and then destroyed by fire. On a small hill, just to the right of the town was a small earthwork, which had been but recently thrown up, and was capable of receiving three or four small fieldpieces. This work, as well as the town, was entirely destroyed. On the twentieth instant, Commander Porter arrived here with two of his mortar-boats. Yesterday the Miami arrived with another, and this afternoon four others were towed up. Commander Porter informed me that his flotilla was fired upon at Ellis Cliffs, and that it is the intention of the rebels to mount a troublesome battery at that place and also at Quitman's Landing, as he learned at a farmhouse as he came up. The boats which came up this afternoon were fired at from Ellis Cliffs, and one, the Parish, was hit two or three times--one shot having temporarily disabled one of her boilers. Yesterday morning I sent the Oneida and Winona to look after those places. To-morrow I shall send the Katahdin to convoy the two boats as far as Baton Rouge, or until she meets you. Here, at Vicksburgh, the rebels appear to be quite busy in extending and fortifying their works, and it is said that they have some ten thousand troops gathered in and about the town. Very respectfully, your ob't servant,