arrived here at sunrise this morning, eight or nine miles from Donaldsonville. I learn from citizens that the fort contains from three to five hundred Yankees, and that there are five gunboats there now. The approach to the fort is through an open plain, nine hundred yards, and the ditch around it is sixteen feet wide and twelve feet deep, making it impossible to scale it, except by having strong plank or suitable ladders. I have had a full consultation (which, by the bye, is not the best thing to be governed by). They think that an attempt to storm will be attended with great loss, and no adequate benefit, even if successful, and this is my opinion. The object of the expedition being to annoy and take, if possible, the enemy's transports, can be better and more safely done by taking a position below Donald-sonville. I am making a bridge of sugar coolers at this camp to cross one regiment, intending to swim the horses. I will push that regiment close upon Donaldson, throwing pickets upon the river. I am about sending another regiment down on this side, near the fort, throwing pickets above where the river can be seen. My pickets above and below will be able to see what number of gunboats there are at the fort, and I propose to fire the bridge during the day so that I can get artillery on the Mississippi. With one rifle section I can make the transports coming up retreat. Come down and take command. I want you badly, as I do not know fully what are your views, and would not like to take any steps in conflict with them. Until I came down here, I had no idea of the position, strength, or feasibility of taking the fort, or the value when taken. I think now the fort can be rendered nugatory by taking a position below it. Adopting the latter view will induce the Yankees very probably to abandon the fort or come out and fight us. Come down as soon as you can. Yours,
Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:
headquarters District Western Louisiana, Thirodeauxville, July 6, 1863.Respectfully forwarded. The reply of Brigadier-General Mouton approving the views of General Green as to turning the fort was not received by the latter officer until the attack had been made.R. Taylor, Major-General commanding.
Report of Brigadier-General Green.
headquarters First cavalry brigade, camp on La Fourohe, near Para Court, July 8, 1863.Major: In accordance with the order of General Mouton, commanding, of the twenty-sixth ultimo, dated at Thibodeauxville, commanding me to take possession of the Federal fort at Donaldsonville, I took up the line of march from Thibodeaux about eight o'clock at night, with Hardeman's, Shannon's, and Herbert's regiments of my brigade, and Lane, Stone, and Phillips, of Colonel Major's brigade, and Semmes' battery. After marching the entire night, I encamped in nine miles of the fort, about sunrise the next morning. During the twenty-seventh I rested our jaded troops and horses, getting all the information which could be procured in relation to the situation of the fort, its force, defences, etc. I placed a pontoon bridge across the Lafourche, made of sugar coolers, and crossed over Stone's regiment to the east of the bayou, and ordered him to advance towards Donaldsonville, on that bank, and attract the attention of the enemy, and if possible, to attack him on that side. With the balance of the command, I advanced during the night of the twenty-seventh to within one and a half miles of the fort, where I dismounted the command. Having determined on the plan of attack, I called the officers commanding regiments together, and explained to them specifically the position each one was to occupy in the assault. Major Shannon, of the Fifth T. M. V., was to perform a circuit around the fort, reach the Mississippi a mile above, and advance down the levee to the stockade of upright timbers set in the ground between the levee and the water's edge, and there make an entrance. Colonel Hardeman, with the Fourth T. M. V., was to move up the bayou road, along the levee of the Lafourche, and as soon as he heard the fire opened by Shannon or a fire opened by the enemy, to assault the fort at the water's edge, along the stockade, and simultaneously with Shannon, to make an entrance through the stockade, and with Shannon, assault the garrison within. hand to hand. Both Shannon and Hardeman were charged that they were expected to take the fort, while Phillips, Lane, and Herbert, with their regiments, were to envelop the works, moving up around them to the brink of the ditch, shooting down the cannoniers and their supporters from the ramparts at a distance of only sixteen or eighteen feet. After a full explanation to the commanding officers of regiments of the plan of attack, and furnishing Shannon and Hardeman with guides, and the head of the column of the three regiments which were to envelop the fort, I moved Shannon and Hardeman forward. Waiting a short time for Major Shannon to fire from the circuit around the fort to the Mississippi above, I moved the column which was to envelop the ditch, with Colonel Major at the head. Before this column had advanced to the place intended for it, preparatory to the assault, Major Shannon, of the Fifth Texas, encountered the pickets of the enemy, and a fire from above was opened upon him by the artillery of the fort and from
Major Louis Bush, A. A. General, Thibodeaux:
Major Louis Bush, A. A. General, Thibodeaux: