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Doc. 165.-fight near Pascagoula, Miss.

Colonel Daniels's report.

Headquaiters, ship Island, Miss., April 11, 1863.
Brigadier-General Sherman, Commanding Defences of New-Orleans:
sir: In compliance with instructions from your headquarters to keep you promptly informed of any movements that the enemy might be known to be making up the Mississippi Sound, upon learning that repeated demonstrations had been made in the direction of Pascagoula, by confederate troops ashore, and in armed boats along the coast ; and, furthermore, having reliable information that the greater part of the forces at Mobile were being sent to reenforce Charleston, I determined to make a reconnoissance within the enemy's lines, at or near Pascagoula, for the purpose of not only breaking up their demonstrations, but of creating a diversion of the Mobile forces front Charleston, and precipitating them along the Sound; and, accordingly, embarked with a detachment of one hundred and eighty men of my command on United States transport General Banks, on the morning of ninth April, 1863, and made for Pascagoula, Miss., where we arrived about nine o'clock A. M.--landed and took possession of wharf and hotel-hoisted the Stars and Stripes upon the building-threw out pickets, and sent small detachments in various directions to take possession of the place, and hold the roads leading front the same. Immediately thereafter, a force of over three hundred confederate cavalry came down the Mobile road, drove in the pickets, and attacked the squad on the left, from whom they received a warm reception. They then fell back in some confusion, reformed, and made a dash upon the detachment [526] stationed at the hotel, at which point they were again repulsed; confederate infantry, meanwhile, attacking my forces on the extreme left, and forcing a small detachment to occupy a wharf, from which they poured volley after volley into the enemy's ranks, killing and wounding many, with a loss of one man only. The fight had now extended along the road from the river to the wharf, the enemy being under cover of the houses and forest, whilst my troops were, from the nature of the ground, unavoidably exposed. The confederates had placed their women and children in front of their houses, for a cover, and even armed their citizens, and forced them to fight against us. After an hour's continuous skirmishing, the enemy retreated to the woods, and my forces fell back to the hotel and wharf. Then the enemy sallied forth again, with apparently increased numbers, attempting to surround the hotel, and obtain possession of the wharf; but they were again repulsed, and driven back to their cover — the forest. It was here that Lieut. Jones, with a detachment of only seven men, having been placed on the extreme right, cut his way through a large force of the enemy's cavalry, and arrived at the hotel without losing a man, but killing and wounding a considerable number of the enemy.

After continuous fighting from ten o'clock A. M., to two o'clock P. M., and on learning that heavy reenforcements of infantry and artillery had arrived from the camps up the Pascagoula River, I withdrew my forces from the hotel, and returned to Ship Island. The enemy's loss was over twenty killed, and a large number wounded. From my own knowledge, and from information derived from prisoners taken in the fight, and from refugees since arrived, the enemy had over four hundred cavalry and infantry at Pascagoula, and heavy reenforcements within six miles of the place. Refugees, who have arrived since the engagement, report the enemy's loss as greater than mentioned in my first report.

The expedition was a perfect success, accomplishing all that was intended; resulting in the repulse of the enemy in every engagement with great loss, whilst our casualty was only two killed and eight wounded. Great credit is due to the troops engaged, for their unflinching bravery and steadiness under this their first fire — exchanging volley after volley with the coolness of veterans; and for their determined tenacity in maintaining their position, and taking advantage of every success that their courage and valor gave them; and also to their officers, who were cool and determined throughout the action — fighting their commands against five times their numbers, and confident throughout of success — all demonstrating, to its fullest extent, that the oppression which they have heretofore undergone, from the hands of their foes, and the obloquy that had been showered upon them by those who should have been friends, had not extinguished their manhood, or suppressed their bravery, and that they had still a hand to wield the sword, and a heart to vitalize its blow.

I would particularly call the attention of the department to Major F. E. Dumas, Capt. Villeverd, and Lieuts. Jones and Martin, who were constantly in the thickest of the fight, and by their unflinching bravery, and admirable handling of their commands, contributed to the success of the attack, and reflected great honor upon the flag under and for which they so nobly struggled. Repeated instances of individual bravery among the troops might be mentioned, but it would be invidious where all fought so manfully and so well.

I would also mention the names of, and thank, in behalf of the regiment, Dr. Celso Pierrucci, Surgeon of the United States store-ship Relief--Dr. Skinner, Surgeon of the United States sloop of war Vincennes--who so kindly volunteered their services in behalf of the wounded, and so assiduously attended to their every want; and also Quartermaster Sauvinet, who, by his valuable services, aided materially the embarkation and disembarkation of the forces.

This expedition has completely changed the plans of the rebel leaders at Mobile, by creating a diversion from Charleston; heavy reenforcements having already been sent to Pascagoula and other points along the Mississippi Sound.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. U. Daniels, Colonel Second Regiment Louisiana N. O. Volunteers, Commanding Post.

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William E. Jones (2)
N. U. Daniels (2)
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