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[46] on the other. At Vermillion Bayou the enemy, who was only a short distance in advance, massed in a strong position on the opposite bank, fired on the Union troops from the woods, opening with artillery. Nims' Battery and Battery L of the regulars joined in the artillery duel, forcing the enemy to retire, but not until they had burned the bridge over the bayou. The next day the bridge was rebuilt and the advance continued until on April 20 Opelousas was reached.

While here orders were read from General Banks giving the troops much credit for capturing over 2000 prisoners, 10 guns, assisting in the destruction of two gunboats and two transports, the salt works and one fort and also in seizing a large quantity of arms and equipments, sugar, cotton, molasses, mules, horses, etc.

At this time, too, one section of the battery under Lieutenant Snow was detached from the main body and for about a month served under Colonel Chickering in connection with the 5th Massachusetts, 41st Massachusetts, 4th Maine, and a New York regiment. The work done is summarized as follows: ‘There was collected and sent to New Orleans via Brashear upward of 6000 bales of cotton, large quantities of sugar, molasses, and other products and at least 10,000 contrabands, men, women, and children to work in the government plantations in LaFourche Co.Irwin says:1 ‘The column covered in the march the long train that stretched out for eight miles over the prairies with a motley band of negroes, horses, and beeves for a cumbrous accompaniment. With the possible exception of the horde that set out to follow Sherman's march to the sea, this was the most curious column ever put in motion since that which defiled after Noah into the ark.’

On April 22 the right and left sections with the First Brigade, General Dwight, pushed forward through Washington to the Tableau River where they rebuilt a bridge which had

1 Nineteenth Army Corps, p. 136.

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