two steam flats, one hundred bales of cotton, and capturing a large quantity of commissary stores. There were no facilities for crossing Bayou Plaquemine; it took until five P. M. to cross the entire brigade. At six P. M. started down Mississippi River, and at daylight on the nineteenth arrived at Bayou Goula. In marching down the river, three large gunboats passed the column, and did not discover us ; as an attack on them would have given our locality, which I was anxious to conceal, I allowed them to pass unmolested. At Bayou Goula took commissary and quartermaster's stores, destroyed Federal plantations, recaptured over one thousand negroes, stolen by Banks from planters living in St. Landry and Rapids parishes; found them starving, and in great destitution; kept the men and left women and children. Heard that a Federal force was intrenched in strong works at Donaldsonville, and conceiving that if I took the place, it would be at a great sacrifice of life, and unable to hold it against the gunboats, and believing I could operate to better advantage on the river below in cutting off Banks' supplies from New Orleans, I made a feint on the fort, and at dark sent a portion of Lane's and Phillips' regiments, under Colonel Lane, through the swamp direct to Thibodeaux, with instructions to take the place, possession of the railroad, and cut the telegraph wires. At midnight I withdrew the remaining force, and moved to Thibodeaux. Found that the cut-off road had been blockaded by Federals, and pronounced entirely impracticable for artillery. Sent a party of negroes, with a guard, under Lieutenant West, of Semmes' battery, to open it, and by ten o'clock on. the twentieth passed my entire column through I moved on to the Lafourche, striking it six miles below Donaldsonville ; here made another feint on the fort, and at night moved down the Lafourche. At Paincourtville received a despatch from Colonel Lane, stating he had captured the town, taking one hundred and forty prisoners and a large amount of stores, also a small force at Terrebonne station, and that there was a force in a strong position, with artillery, at Lafourche crossing. I pushed on and arrived at Thibodeaux at 3 1/2 P. M., on the twenty-first. Pickets reported reinforcements from New Orleans, during the night, and at sun up reported the enemy advancing. I posted Pyron's regiment, West's battery, and two squadrons of cavalry on the east bank of the Lafourche, and moved them down towards the railroad bridge. Lane, Stone, and Phillips were posted at Terrebonne station, and they were moved forward to Lafourche crossing. The enemy fell back, and my pursuit was checked by one of the heaviest rains I ever saw fall; it rained until five P. M., and having only thirty rounds of ammunition to the man when I started, and not over one hundred cartridge boxes in the entire command, my ammunition was nearly all ruined, and I found myself with an enemy in front, rear, and on the flank, with only three rounds of ammunition to the man. I directed Pyron, as soon as it stopped raining, to strengthen his pickets and feel the enemy, find his position and test his strength, giving him some discretion in the matter. He advanced his pickets, driving the enemy into his stronghold, and then charged his works, taking four guns, and causing a great many of the Federals to surrender; but night had come on, it was very dark, the ammunition nearly all gone, and just at that moment a train with about three hundred fresh men arrived from New Orleans, and Pyron was forced to retire from a position won by a daring assault, unequalled, I think, in this war. Had I known his intention to assault the works, I could have sent him such reinforcements as would have insured success. Pyron's strength in the attack was two hundred and six, the enemy's force, reported by themselves, was over one thousand. The next day, twenty-second, it rained again, and finding it impossible to dry my ammunition, and not hearing anything from our forces at Berwick's Bay, knowing that I had only one avenue by which to connect with General Green's brigade, and that the enemy were intrenched on the route at Bayou Boeuf, and at Brashear City, that their forces at those points were greater than mine, besides the advantage of position, and in consequence I would be compelled to cut my way to Berwick's Bay, unless General Green cut towards me, I therefore refrained from attacking with my whole force, the enemy at Lafourche crossing, although I could certainly have demolished him; and the temptation was great to revenge the death of those gallant men who fell in Pyron's assault. I then gave the order to march on Brashear City. The movement began at night-fall. Making demonstrations of a night attack, and opening a heavy fire on their position with my artillery, I withdrew my force and commenced marching at nine P. M., moving all night. I arrived at Chachahoula station just before dawn on the twenty-third, and at the same instant heard, with no little pleasure, the cannonade at Brashear. I rested my command two hours, feeding the horses and men, and arrived at Bayou Boeuf at 4:20 P. M., having driven in the pickets of the enemy for six miles. I at once took possession of the east bank, the enemy being intrenched on the opposite bank. Made a reconnoissance of his position and began crossing at two A. M., on the twenty-fourth. At daylight, had Lane and Stone entirely surrounding the fort, while Phillips, Pyron, and the artillery were posted in front on the eastern bank. Just as I had arranged to open from my batteries, I discovered a white flag flying from a large house near the crossing, and, on sending to inquire the reason, was surprised to learn that the fort had surrendered to General Mouton, whose advance was five miles off on Bayou Ramos — a scouting
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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