was concerned, and Port Hudson
became plainly his objective point, in place of Vicksburg
Upon arriving in New Orleans, Banks
had sent a large force up the river to Baton Rouge
On March 7, 1863, leaving a sufficient force to protect New Orleans, we sailed up the river.
By March 12 all the troops had arrived at Baton Rouge
In this force there were in all some twelve regiments, three batteries, and two troops of cavalry.
On the evening of March 13, the army was under way towards Port Hudson
for the purpose of making a demonstration and distracting the attention of its garrison, while Farragut
was attempting with his fleet to steam up the river past the rebel batteries.
This the admiral succeeded in doing with two of his vessels, viz., the flagship Hartford
and the gunboat Albatross
; the rest of the fleet, being disabled, fell back below Port Hudson
again, in doing which the Mississippi
got aground, and was set on fire and blown up by her own crew to save her from the rebels.
became, to a certain extent, master of the river from Port Hudson
was afterwards blamed by Halleck
's Chief of Staff
, for not taking Port Hudson
at this time, but as the rebel garrison was from 16,000 to 20,000 strong behind strong fortifications, while Banks
had only 15,000 men, 12,000 of them only available for the attack, and all in the open such an attempt would have been almost criminal.
Shortly after this Banks
withdrew his forces to Baton Rouge
, and a little later the most of them to New Orleans.
On April 8, 1863, we crossed the Mississippi River
from New Orleans to Algiers
, a dirty, dismal city opposite the terminus of the New Orleans, Opelousas
, and Great Western Railroad, over which road, through cypress swamp and alligator paradise, we were carried some seventy-five miles to Brashear City
on the Atchafalaya River
This place had been taken possession of in 1862 by Butler
, as a base of operations in West Louisiana
; and again in January, 1863, learning that the rebel, General Dick Taylor
, son of ex-President Zachary Taylor