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[473] empty into the sea through a wide mouth. The second bayou has its origin much lower down, in the village of Donaldsonville, and, under the name of Bayou Lafourche, it pursues its winding course among the swamps which occupy the delta of the Mississippi to the west. These water-courses thus constitute two successive barriers, which protect New Orleans on the Texas side. The country watered by them, extremely spongy, intersected in every direction with channels and swamps, and covered with a rich vegetation, is of great fertility wherever the soil is sufficiently firm to admit of the cultivation of the sugar-cane or cotton. It was traversed by but one line of railway, the Great Western Railroad, which started from the right bank of the Mississippi, opposite New Orleans, for the west, crossed Bayou Lafourche a little below the village of Thibodeaux, and terminated at that time at the little town of Brashear City. This town, situated on the left bank of the Atchafalaya, at the point where its waters emerge from the lake to empty into the sea, derived from this position great commercial and military importance. A little below Brashear City, the Atchafalaya receives the waters of an important stream running from the north-west, known by the name of Bayou Teche, a rather inappropriate name, for it does not originate in another river like all real bayous. In approaching Lake Chestimache, the Teche skirts its borders at a short distance, as if afraid to discharge its waters into it, and, as we have remarked, empties into the Atchafalaya shortly after it has emerged from the lake.

At the end of October, the Federal general Weitzel, with a brigade of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and some cannon, landed at Donaldsonville. On the 26th, he began to descend Bayou Lafourche, keeping the main body of his forces on the left of the water-course, accompanied by a few boats, which enabled him at all times to establish communications between the two banks of the river. The next day, the 27th, he met a small body of Confederate troops, commanded by Colonel McPheeters, near the village of Labadieville, fifteen kilometres below Donaldsonville, and attacked it at once. The engagement was of short duration. After two hours of musketry-fire, McPheeters was killed, and the Confederates, put to flight, left one gun and

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