Banks to move on the enemy's intrenchments on the right bank, while at the same time an order was given to Generals Emory and Weitzel to advance on them on the left bank. The Thirty-eighth Massachusetts deployed across the whole field, advancing to the position of the Thirty-first. The Fifty-third Massachusetts was also deployed as skirmishers, acting as a support. The One Hundred and Seventy-fifth New-York and Thirty-first Massachusetts were placed in the rear of the left and the right of the second line of skirmishers, as reserves, while at the same time the One Hundred and Fifty-sixth New-York was ordered to turn the enemy's left flank. The battery, under command of Lieutenants Healy and Morton, was posted on parallel plantation roads, leading to the enemy's works. One section was held in reserve, and in rear of the second line of skirmishers. These dispositions being made, the whole advanced on the enemy's works, driving them into the same. The advance was very stubbornly resisted, the rebel sharp-shooters engaging our skirmishers, while the artillery belched forth fire and smoke all along the extent of their fortifications, bravely answered, however, by our own, which was well served, and the guns of the enemy were twice silenced and frequently compelled to change their positions. About three o'clock a further advance was made under a severe direct and cross-fire from their batteries, and it having been found by this time that the enemy were very strongly fortified with powerful guns, the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts was ordered to advance steadily forward toward the earthworks, and when within the reach of musketry to lie down and await orders. The next moment another order arrived that they should advance, and, if they could reach the enemy's works, enter them. As Colonel Rodman rode alone the line for the purpose of issuing his commands, the enemy's sharp-shooters fired upon him. He was the only mounted man in his regiment. The men advanced steadily and rapidly, so well that our troops on the other side of the Teche cheered them, and the rebels hastily entered their breastworks. The fire was very severe on the left of this regiment under command of Major Richardson, the men being more exposed to the enemy's fire than at any other point. A shell exploded just in the middle of the left reserve, killing Captain Gault, company A, private Gill, company A, another of company 1), and severely wounding seven others of these companies. The front line at this time was distant from the enemy's works about seven hundred and fifty yards. The advance was now (forty-five minutes past three P. m.) very slow, as the enemy was using every exertion from their works and outside on the right, left, and centre to drive us back. At this time Lieutenant Russel, of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, with his company, was in the woods to the right, when about five hundred of the enemy's infantry advanced from the works with the intention of flanking him. They opened a tremendous fire, checking our further progress, and the right would probably have been turned by this overpowering force, but for the thick underbrush of the woods and the swampy nature of the ground, thus rendering their movements very slow and difficult. Colonel Gooding at once ordered the One Hundred and Fifty-sixth New-York, Lieut.-Colonel Sharpe, to strengthen this position and drive the enemy back. Advancing through the woods on the enemy's left, Colonel Sharpe reached their rear and flanked them, driving the rebels before him. They were the Eighteenth Louisiana infantry and three companies of the Seventh Texas cavalry. the latter dismounted. A section of artillery was also posted by the rebels on that end of the works for the purpose of assisting the force to flank us. Suddenly the enemy sent a powerful force to the assistance of the rebels, as it was found that they were being driven at every point. Colonel Sharpe had now a much superior force to contend against. A sharp musketry fire, by volleys, was commenced and kept up for some time, when word reaching Colonel Gooding that Colonel Sharpe's force was outnumbered by the enemy's, the Thirty-first Massachusetts was immediately sent to reenforce him. As soon as they arrived a charge was made by Colonel Sharpe upon a strong abattis to the right of the earthworks, in the woods, about two hundred yards distant, and hidden entirely from sight of the latter by the trees. The position was evidently a very strong one, for the enemy had dug a ditch and felled trees around it. The rebels in the abattis fought bravely, and our forces fell back about twenty feet, when Sergeant Charles W. Kennedy, of company I, advancing to the front, waved his musket as an officer would his sword,and impulsively shouted: “Let's try it again, boys! We'll have it this time! Follow me!” And the gallant fellow bounding forward, the rest followed with a yell, when the ditch, obstructions and guns were passed in a moment, and the next instant the abattis was taken and the enemy at the mercy of our soldiers. The latter, eighty-six in number, at once surrendered. One hundred stand of arms were taken. The abattis was held by our men with little loss, as I have said that it was distant from their works and batteries about two hundred yards, with dense woods between. Lieutenant Healy's guns were struck frequently by the shot and shell from the enemy's batteries. One was disabled, but was soon repaired. The rammer of Lieutenant Morton's section of the same battery was cut in two by a shell. A piece of the same shell wounded him slightly in the neck. A round shot, about three o'clock, passed very near Lieutenant Morton, cutting the head off an infantry-man at his side. The One Hundred and Fifty-sixth New-York, Colonel Sharpe, and the Thirty-first Massachusetts, Colonel Hopkins, held the woods and abattis all night, fighting the enemy the whole time, and
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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