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Doc. 67.-operations in lower Louisiana.

Report of Lieutenant-General E. K. Smith.

headquarters Department Trans-Mississippi, Shreveport, Louisiana, November 7, 1863.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Virginia:
General: Enclosed, herewith, I have the honor to forward reports of engagements with the enemy in Lower Louisiana, from the twenty-sixth of June to the thirteenth of July, 1863, inclusive.

I am, General, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

E. Kirby Smith, Lieutenant-General

Report of General Walker.

headquarters Walker's division, Delhi, July 10, 1863.
Major E. Surget, A. A. G., Alexandria, La.:
Major: Since the date of my last report, the forces under my command have broken up the plantations engaged in raising cotton, under Federal leases, from Miliken's Bend to Lake Providence, capturing some two thousand negroes, who have been restored to their masters, with the exception of those captured in arms, and a few the property of disloyal citizens of Louisiana. I consider it an unfortunate circumstance that any armed negroes were captured, but in the cavalry expedition which broke up the plantations below Lake Providence, Colonel Parsons, commanding two cavalry regiments, from the district of Arkansas, acting under my orders, encountered a force of one hundred and thirteen negroes and their three white officers, in a fortified position, and when the officers proposed to surrender, upon condition of being treated as prisoners of war, and the armed negroes unconditionally, Colonel Parsons accepted the terms. The position, upon a high mound, the side of which had been scarped and otherwise strengthened, was of great strength, and would have cost many lives and much precious time to have captured by assault. Under these circumstances, Brigadier-General Tappan, who came up before the capitulation was consummated, approved the convention.

This was on the thirtieth ultimo, and I had made all my arrangements to push, the next day, towards Providence and Ashton, some miles above, where I intended to establish my batteries for the annoyance of the enemy's transports.

That night I received General Taylor's instructions to march my division to Berwick's Bay. I immediately returned to this point and had embarked one of my brigades on the railroad train, when I received instructions from Lieutenant-General Smith to remain in this vicinity.

On the fifth instant General Smith was here in person, and directed me to proceed to Ashton, on the Mississippi, and endeavor to blockade the river against the enemy's transports and supply boats. In accordance with these instructions, I marched from here on the ninth instant. The same morning Captain Janes, who had been sent with a flag of truce to deliver a communication from General Taylor to General Grant, returned and reported the delivery of the despatch to the enemy's pickets at Young's Point.

He brought intelligence, derived from sources that I did not wholly credit, that Vicksburg had capitulated on the fourth instant. Not considering this entirely certain, I continued my movements, but the same day I received the intelligence, unfortunately too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. At the same time I received instructions from Lieutenant-General Smith to return to this point, and if forced to abandon [749] the Washita Valley by superior numbers, to fall back on Red river to Natchitoches.

I am now engaged in burning all the cotton I can reach, from Lake Providence to the lower end of Concordia Parish, and shall endeavor to leave no spoil for the enemy. I have also instructed the cavalry to destroy all subsistence and forage on abandoned plantations, that, from its proximity to the river, may give the enemy facilities for invasion. When this destruction is effected, I shall withdraw the greater portion of my forces towards the Washita River, to some more healthy locality.

The ravages of disease have fearfully weakened my force, and I consider it essential to its future usefulness that it should be removed from here as early as practicable.

I am, Major, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Report of Major-General Taylor.

headquarters District of Western Louisiana, Berwick, July 14. 1863.
Major E. Surget, A. A. G(.:
Major: Your despatches of the tenth and eleventh came to hand. I had received from New Orleans news of the fall of Vicksburg. I trust the doubt you express may be well founded. Port Hudson surrendered on the ninth instant, literally from starvation.

The plan I had arranged for an attack on New Orleans fell through, as soon as I was advised that Walker's division would not join me. My active force (not including the garrison of this place) is less than four thousand. That the plan referred to would have succeeded, any time before the ninth instant, I do not entertain the slightest doubt. Whether the city could have been held is another question. The fall of Port Hudson, and the almost certain fate of Vicksburg, render my present position in the Lafouche extremely hazardous, and not to be justified on any military grounds. The defences of this bay are far from satisfactory; and the entrance of a hostile fleet would ruin my little army. The enemy will doubtless throw troops across the Atchafalaya at Morgan's ferry, twenty-eight miles from Washington. He has already a brigade in the Grasse Tete. I cannot hope to unite with the forces now in north Louisiana; and the whole country between this point and Monroe is open. Since the communications of General Johnston led me to look forward to the fall of Vicksburg, I have been forming depots on the line from Lafayette to Niblett's bluff. In case I abandon this country, I expect to follow this line, and you will lay your plans regarding the limited amount of public property at Alexandria accordingly. I send, to-day, a staff officer to Morgan's ferry, to watch and report the enemy's movements. The reports will be forwarded also to you. You will take steps to secure early and accurate information of the enemy's movements on lower Red River and at Simmsport. Where is General Polignac's brigade? Is it armed and ready for service? At junction of the Huffpower and Boeuf, or on the latter, near Washington, as the enemy may move, would be the place for it. Communicate the contents of this to department headquarters. I have no staff officer with me, and am fatigued and jaded beyond description.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. Taylor, Major-General.
P. S.--Nothing of the boats, which left Alexandria on the seventh ultimo. Afraid they have come to grief on the Atchafalaya.

R. T. M. G. Major Surget, A. A. G.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

Headquartes District Western Louisiana, Alexandria, July 17, 1863.
Respecfully forwarded for the information of the Lieutenant-General commanding, with the remark, that the boats of which General Taylor speaks in the P. S., met the enemy's gunboats at the mouth of the Atchafalaya, and returned safely to this post

E. Surget, A. A. G.

headquarters District Western Louisiana, Lafourche, July 13, 1863
Brigadier-General W. R. Boggs, Chief of Staff:
General: I have the honor to announce a brilliant success gained by a portion of my forces under the command of Brigadier-General Green, over Weitzel and Dwight. The enemy, over four thousand strong, advanced to-day, six miles from Donaldsville, where he was met by General Green, with his own and a part of Major's brigade (in all twelve hundred men), and driven from the field, with a loss of about five hundred in killed and wounded, some three hundred prisoners, three pieces of artillery, many small arms, and the flag of a New York regiment. The gallant and noble Green dismounted from his horse, placed himself at the head of his old regiment, captured the enemy's guns, and drove his forces into the fort, and under the guns of the fleet. In the generalship and daring of the commander, and the devotion of the troops, this action will compare favorably with any I have witnessed during the war.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. Taylor, Major-General.

Report of Brigadier-General Green.

Ford and Davenport plantation, Saturday, June 27, 1863.
General Mouton: I have been all the morning collecting together all the information relative to the situation and strength of the defences of Donaldsonville. After travelling all night we [750] arrived here at sunrise this morning, eight or nine miles from Donaldsonville.

I learn from citizens that the fort contains from three to five hundred Yankees, and that there are five gunboats there now. The approach to the fort is through an open plain, nine hundred yards, and the ditch around it is sixteen feet wide and twelve feet deep, making it impossible to scale it, except by having strong plank or suitable ladders. I have had a full consultation (which, by the bye, is not the best thing to be governed by). They think that an attempt to storm will be attended with great loss, and no adequate benefit, even if successful, and this is my opinion. The object of the expedition being to annoy and take, if possible, the enemy's transports, can be better and more safely done by taking a position below Donald-sonville. I am making a bridge of sugar coolers at this camp to cross one regiment, intending to swim the horses. I will push that regiment close upon Donaldson, throwing pickets upon the river. I am about sending another regiment down on this side, near the fort, throwing pickets above where the river can be seen. My pickets above and below will be able to see what number of gunboats there are at the fort, and I propose to fire the bridge during the day so that I can get artillery on the Mississippi. With one rifle section I can make the transports coming up retreat. Come down and take command. I want you badly, as I do not know fully what are your views, and would not like to take any steps in conflict with them. Until I came down here, I had no idea of the position, strength, or feasibility of taking the fort, or the value when taken. I think now the fort can be rendered nugatory by taking a position below it. Adopting the latter view will induce the Yankees very probably to abandon the fort or come out and fight us.

Come down as soon as you can.


Green. A true copy:
John M. Avery, First Lieutenant and A. D. C.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

headquarters District Western Louisiana, Thirodeauxville, July 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. The reply of Brigadier-General Mouton approving the views of General Green as to turning the fort was not received by the latter officer until the attack had been made.

R. Taylor, Major-General commanding.

Report of Brigadier-General Green.

headquarters First cavalry brigade, camp on La Fourohe, near Para Court, July 8, 1863.
Major Louis Bush, A. A. General, Thibodeaux:
Major: In accordance with the order of General Mouton, commanding, of the twenty-sixth ultimo, dated at Thibodeauxville, commanding me to take possession of the Federal fort at Donaldsonville, I took up the line of march from Thibodeaux about eight o'clock at night, with Hardeman's, Shannon's, and Herbert's regiments of my brigade, and Lane, Stone, and Phillips, of Colonel Major's brigade, and Semmes' battery. After marching the entire night, I encamped in nine miles of the fort, about sunrise the next morning.

During the twenty-seventh I rested our jaded troops and horses, getting all the information which could be procured in relation to the situation of the fort, its force, defences, etc. I placed a pontoon bridge across the Lafourche, made of sugar coolers, and crossed over Stone's regiment to the east of the bayou, and ordered him to advance towards Donaldsonville, on that bank, and attract the attention of the enemy, and if possible, to attack him on that side. With the balance of the command, I advanced during the night of the twenty-seventh to within one and a half miles of the fort, where I dismounted the command. Having determined on the plan of attack, I called the officers commanding regiments together, and explained to them specifically the position each one was to occupy in the assault.

Major Shannon, of the Fifth T. M. V., was to perform a circuit around the fort, reach the Mississippi a mile above, and advance down the levee to the stockade of upright timbers set in the ground between the levee and the water's edge, and there make an entrance. Colonel Hardeman, with the Fourth T. M. V., was to move up the bayou road, along the levee of the Lafourche, and as soon as he heard the fire opened by Shannon or a fire opened by the enemy, to assault the fort at the water's edge, along the stockade, and simultaneously with Shannon, to make an entrance through the stockade, and with Shannon, assault the garrison within. hand to hand. Both Shannon and Hardeman were charged that they were expected to take the fort, while Phillips, Lane, and Herbert, with their regiments, were to envelop the works, moving up around them to the brink of the ditch, shooting down the cannoniers and their supporters from the ramparts at a distance of only sixteen or eighteen feet.

After a full explanation to the commanding officers of regiments of the plan of attack, and furnishing Shannon and Hardeman with guides, and the head of the column of the three regiments which were to envelop the fort, I moved Shannon and Hardeman forward. Waiting a short time for Major Shannon to fire from the circuit around the fort to the Mississippi above, I moved the column which was to envelop the ditch, with Colonel Major at the head. Before this column had advanced to the place intended for it, preparatory to the assault, Major Shannon, of the Fifth Texas, encountered the pickets of the enemy, and a fire from above was opened upon him by the artillery of the fort and from [751] two gunboats in the river. He advanced down the levee of the Mississippi, next to the water's edge, to the stockade of upright timbers behind the levee, driving the enemy from the stockade and firing upon them through their own portholes. He pushed a portion of his men over their works (the men helping each other over), the balance of his men moved around the stockade through the water, which was shallow, into the fort. Hearing the small arms of Major Shannon amidst the roar of artillery, I ordered an advance of the whole line. Colonel Phillips, at the head of the column under Colonel Major, made a circuit of the fort, and, with most of his men and officers, made our entrance into the fort with Shannon, of the Fifth; Colonel Herbert, with the Seventh, enveloped the ditch as directed. The fight was desperately contested on every part of the ground. Colonel Hardeman, with the Fourth Texas, being unable to control his guide, was delayed in his attack on the stockade on the Lafourche side until nearly daylight, but his casualties show with what determined courage that veteran regiment stood its ground after it came into action. By some mistake Colonel Lane's regiment did not get into action. He was waiting for and expecting a guide, while I supposed, and was informed, that he was at the head of the column under Colonel Major. There is no blame attached to Colonel Lane for the mistake.

The attack on the fort was made at two o'clock A. M., being before daylight, for the purpose of preventing the gunboats from seeing our advance. The columns of attack, of Shannon above and Hardeman below, were expected to move along under the levee, sheltered from the artillery and musketry of the fort, until they reached the stockade, the weeds on the margin of the water, as I was informed, preventing a full view of them by the gunboats. Shannon succeeded in making the entrance with little or no loss, and he and Colonel Phillips (entering on the same side) would doubtless have succeeded in capturing the works had it not been for the existence of a ditch fronting and inside the levee, of which I had no knowledge or information. All my guides) and some of them resided within two miles of the fort) assured me that when we got through the stockade between the levee and the river, we had an open way into the fort without impediment other than the bayonets of the enemy. We were not repulsed and never would have been until we found, after getting into the stockade, there was yet a ditch to cross, running in front of and parallel with the river, and no means whatever on hand to cross it. At this ditch a most desperate fight ensued between the commands of Shannon and Phillips and the enemy. Our men here used brickbats upon the heads of the enemy, who returned the same. Captain Killough and Lieutenant Land and other officers and men were wounded on their heads with bricks, thrown by the enemy, which had first been thrown by our men. There never was more desperate courage displayed than was shown by our men engaged in this assault. The enemy have been shown an example of desperate courage which will not be without its effect. But for the false information in relation to that part of the fort fronting the river, it would most certainly have fallen into our hands. Had we known of the existence of this ditch we would have been prepared to have crossed it.

We fought from two o'clock A. M., until daylight, without intermission, and our dead and wounded show the desperation of the assault.

The garrison contained between five and six hundred Federals, our assaulting party engaged was about eight hundred strong.

At daylight I sent in a flag of truce, asking permission to pick up our wounded and bury our dead, which was refused, as I expected. My object in sending a flag so early was to get away a great number of our men who had found a little shelter near the enemy's works, and who would have been inevitably taken prisoners. I must have saved one hundred men by instructing my flag of truce officer, as he approached the fort, to order our troops still there away.

We mourn the fall of many of our bravest and best officers and men; among the former are Major Shannon, Captain Ragsdale, Lieutenants Starby and Cole, of the Fifth, Major Redley, of Phillips' regiment, and A. Cartwright, of the Fourth, and others.

The fort was much stronger than it was represented to be, or than we expected to find it. Had it fallen into our hands, I am satisfied, with a little work on it, we would have held it against all the gunboats below Port Hudson. Its capture and occupation would doubtless have caused great uneasiness and inconvenience to. the Federal army besieging that fortress. In this river much risk was justified in its attempted capture.

I cannot say too much in commendation of the officers and men who were engaged in this assault.

Colonel Major, commanding the second cavalry brigade, lead the head of the column enveloping the fort, carrying his men to the ditch amidst a storm of shot and shell, in the most dauntless manner, and where he was himself wounded.

The conduct of the lamented Shannon and his officers, Colonel Phillips and his officers, and Colonel Herbert and his officers, and, in fact, all the officers whose conduct came under my observation, is above all praise.

My own staff came fully up to my expectations. Captain C. B. Sheppard, my Aide-de-Camp, and my volunteer Aids, W. G. Wilking and Leander McAnelley, rendered me good service, and behaved themselves as they had on former occasions, with coolness and courage.

I herewith submit a list of casualties-full reports showing the killed, wounded, and missing, are enclosed.

Fourth Texas cavalry--Killed, two; wounded, twenty-three; missing, three--twenty-eight.

Fifth Texas cavalry--Killed, twelve; wounded, [752] in hands of the enemy, eighteen; wounded, present, twenty; missing, forty-nine--ninety-nine.

Seventh Texas Cavalry--Killed, six; wounded, twenty-seven; missing, forty-two--seventy-five.

Stone's Regiment--Killed (no wounded or missing), one.

Lane's Regiment--No killed, wounded, or missing.

Phillips' Regiment--Killed, eighteen; wounded, eighteen; missing, twenty-one--fifty-seven.

Total casualties, two hundred and sixty.

Respectfully submitted,

Thomas Green, Brigadier-General, commanding.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

headquarters Distriot Western Louisiana, Thibodeauxville, July 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. Personal observation satisfies me that if the guide of Hardeman's regiment had not failed to conduct it to the fort, its capture would have been accomplished. No engagement during the war has illustrated more signally the desperate valor of Confederate troops than the attack of this position, although the attack may have been, in some respects, an unadvised one. I am not disposed to attach the slightest censure to so gallant a soldier as General Green, whose disposition it is to attack the enemy wherever he finds him.

R. Taylor, Major-General, commanding.

Report of Casualties in the First and Second Cavalry Brigades in the Assault upon Donaldsonville, June 28, 1863.

Fourth Texas Cavalry21571328Of the wounded, eight are missing.
Fifth Texas Cavalry121721 4999
Seventh Texas Cavalry6191513475
Phillips' regiment1899 2157
Stone's regiment1    1
 3960522107260Killed, wounded, and missing.

Thomas Green, Brigadier-General, commanding.

Report of Brigadier-General Mouton.

headquarters forces South of Red River, Thibodeaux, La., July 4, 1863.
Major. E. Surget, A. A. G., District Western Louisiana:
Major: In obedience to instructions from Major-General R. Taylor, commanding District of Western Louisiana, on the twenty-second day of June, after surmounting difficulties amounting to almost impossibilities, I succeeded in collecting some thirty-seven skiffs and other row-boats, near the mouth of the Teche, with a view to co-operate, from the west side of the Atchafalaya, with Colonel Major's command, then on the Lafourche. An expedition, numbering three hundred and twenty-five gallant volunteers from the different regiments under my command, under the gallant Major Sherod Hunter, of Baylor's regiment, started at six o'clock P. M. to turn the enemy's stronghold at Brashear City. General Thomas Green, with the Fifth Texas mounted volunteers, the Second Louisiana cavalry, Waller's Texas battalion, and the Valverde and Nicholls' batteries, advanced under cover of night, to opposite the enemy's camp. The Seventh Texas, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert commanding, the Fourth Texas, Lieutenant-Colonel Hampton, and Baylor's regiments, were thrown across the Atchafalaya to Gibbons' Island during the night. General Green was to attract the enemy's attention and fire, while the troops on Gibbons' Island were to be thrown across to the support of Major Hunter, as soon as the boats returned from the latter's landing point, in rear of the enemy's position. Everything remained quiet; and the enemy were aware of our purpose only when awakened by the shots from the Valverde battery. The enemy's whole attention was drawn to General Green's position — the land batteries concentrating their fire upon him, while their gunboat shamefully retreated in the beginning of the action. At about half-past 6 A. M. of the twenty-third, the shouts from Hunter's party were heard in the rear of the railroad depot. Our gallant men charged the enemy's guns, one after the other; and when they arrived near the main fort (Buchanan), the garrison surrendered without a struggle. The enemy surrendered a force of over twelve hundred men, strongly posted and intrenched, and eleven heavy guns — all protected by a gunboat — to a force of three hundred and twenty men. Our [753] loss was two killed and eighteen woupded. The amount of quartermaster, commissary, and ordnance stores is very large. Our troops crossed the bay as rapidly as possible, but were delayed on account of want of transportation — nothing larger than skiffs could be had. As rapidly as possible General Green was ordered to the Bayous Ramos and Boeuf, to capture those of the enemy who had escaped, and also to prevent them from burning the bridges, locomotives, and cars. Unfortunately they had already destroyed the railroad and wagon bridge over the Ramos, and had retired to the Boeuf. Our troops pushed on, and at daylight of the twenty-fourth, the enemy surrendered to a scouting party under the command of General Green's daring scout, McAnally. The force consisted of four hundred and thirty-five officers and men, three siege guns, and a twelve-pounder gun. At this point General Green's and Colonel Major's command connected. Their troops were pushed forward to the Thibodeaux and Lafourche railroad-crossing, capturing twenty-five Federal sick and wounded and four pieces of light artillery.

On the twenty-seventh the troops marched to Donaldsonville. On the twenty-eighth, at one o'clock A. M., the fort (Butler) was attacked and at daylight, after the most desperate struggle, we were repulsed, with two hundred and sixty casualties. Too much cannot be said of the gallantry and devotion of the brave men who stormed this stronghold. Colonel Phillips, Lieutenant. Colonel Shannon, and Major Ridley are among the missing. They fell in a desperate hand-to-hand fight; but I hope they are only wounded. As one of the main objects of this campaign was to take possession of the Mississippi, I immediately threw, by roads passing through plantations, troops on the river bank. I have the honor to report that, on the third instant, the Federal transport Huville was badly crippled by Colonel Hardeman's regiment and the rifle section of Semmes' battery. To-day one section attacked the flag-ship Monongahela. The work is going on bravely. While General Green and Colonel Major were marching upon Donaldsonville, Major Boone, with Waller's battalion and Pyron's regiment, pushed on to Raceland, and thence to the Des Allemands, at which latter place the enemy had abandoned a piece of artillery and burned the railroad bridge. Major Boone, with his usual energy, swam some of his horses and pushed on, driving the enemy from Boulton station. But his force being small, he had to return to the Des Allemands.

This, Major, covers the whole field of operations on the west side of the bay. The other part of the operations, under the accomplished and gallant soldier, Colonel Major, will be found in his enclosed report.

The conduct of General Green, Colonel Major, Major Hunter, and the officers and men under them, is beyond all praise, and deserves the thanks of the country.

I beg leave to tender my thanks to the officers of my staff for their energy and faithful per formance of all the arduous duties imposed upon them--Major Louis Bush, Assistant Adjutant-General; Lieutenant A. J. Watt, Aide-de-Camp; Captain A. Schruber, Ordnance Officer; Major R. W. Sanders, Assistant Quartermaster, and Captain M. T. Squires, Chief of Artillery, who were with me all the time. I will again, in this report, particularly mention Private Alfred Fuselin, to whose indomitable energy and devotion to duty I owe mostly the successful collecting of boats for Major Hunter's expedition.

Accompanying this report please find those of General Green, Colonel Major, and Major Hunter.

I am, Major, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

A. Mouton. Brigadier-General, commanding.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

headquarters Distriot Western Louisiana, Thbodeauxville, July 6, 1863.
The zeal, energy, and ardor manifested by Brigadier-General Mouton, commanding forces south of Red River, merit the highest praise. The conduct of Brigadier-General Green fully justified the high expectations which I had formed, based upon the previous services of this officer in the field, under my own observations.

Report of Colonel Major.

headquarters Second cavalry brigade, near Napolronville, June 30, 1868.
Major Lewis Bush, A. A. G.:
Major: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade since June tenth, pursuant to orders received from your headquarters, dated eighth instant:

I left Washington on the tenth, and arrived at Morgan's Ferry, on the Atchafalaya, on the eleventh. I was detained there one day, in making preparations to cross the river, the entire command, owing to conflicting orders, not arriving until the fourteenth, and on the fifteenth I moved for Hermitage; arrived within five miles the same night, found the bridge burned across Bayou Seria, halted until daylight, then moved on Waterloo, four miles above Hermitage. The enemy were reinforced from Banks' army at Port Hudson. I made demonstrations of an attack during the day; at night drove in the enemy's pickets, and, under cover of darkness, withdrew my force, leaving a strong picket force in the rear, and moved for Grosse Tete.

On the seventeenth, went down Grosse Tete to Rosedale; fed horses and men. At dark started for Indian village; arrived at two A. M., on eighteenth. Crossed Phillips' regiment, who made a dash into Plaquemine, taking eightyseven prisoners, burning three fine steamers, [754] 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 [755] party, under General Green's intrepid scout, McAnally, being the only force of their command near, and to him the flags were delivered. The colonel (Federal), however, on my asking to what force he had surrendered, said to mine, supposing it to be a portion of Mouton's, who had made a previous demand for surrender, and seeing McAnally had sent to him a white flag. I mention this merely to show that, although the flags were delivered to others, the surrender was in fact to my force, and the gallant General Green waived the honor of the capture to me. The prisoners here captured were two hundred and seventy-five, four guns, ammunition, small arms, commissary and quartermaster stores, and about three thousand negroes. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the gallant band who comprise the second cavalry brigade, who, without murmur, shared in the trials and hardships incident to so extended and rapid a march through country occupied by the enemy, passing many sleepless nights and fasting days, subsisting through the entire march on one ration per day, and averaging but three hours of rest in every twenty-four. To the citizens on the route I have to acknowledge many favors, who generously furnished the infantry with transportation, until I mounted them upon animals captured from the plantations cultivated by the Federal authorities. This command, composed of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, marched one hundred and seventy-six miles in four days, an average of forty-four miles per day; it moved in an orderly manner, never depredating on private property, and bore their hardships without a murmur. It is, however, with sorrow that I have to report the death of the noble men who fell in the charge under the gallant Colonel Pyron at Lafourche, and under Colonel Phillips at Plaquemine, of which casualties I will make a detailed report. To the members of my staff, Captains Wade and Zacharie, I am indebted for a hearty co-operation throughout the trip. Also to Lieutenant West, for his efficiency in his department. The services of Captain Ratcliffe, volunteer aid, were invaluable, owing to his thorough knowledge of the country and indefatigable exertions. Volunteer aids, Major McGoffin and Captain Duzenberry, also rendered me great service.

I am, Major, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

James P. Major, Colonel, commanding Second Cavalry Brigade.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

headquarters District Western Louisiana, Thibodeauxville, July 6, 1863.
The conduct of Colonel Major, during the service herein mentioned, has been above all praise. He has shown energy, industry, and capacity which render him fit for any command, and I respectfully recommend and request that his command as colonel commanding brigade may be made permanent, as I am sure the interests of the service and the country will be promoted by his promotion.

R. Taylor, Major-General, commanding.

Report of Major Sherod Hunter.

Brashear city, June 26, 1863.
Brigadier--General A. Mouton, commanding South Red River:
General: I have the honor to report to you the result of the expedition placed under my command, by your order, June twentieth, 1863. In obedience to your order, I embarked my command, three hundred and twenty-five strong, on the evening of the twenty-second June, at the mouth of Bayou Teche, in forty-eight skiffs and flats, collected for that purpose. Proceeding up the Atchafalaya into Grand Lake, I halted and muffled oars, and again struck, and after a steady pull of about eight hours, reached the shore in the rear of Brashear City. Here, owing to the swampy nature of the country, we were delayed some time in finding a landing place, but at length succeeded, and about sunrise commenced to disembark my troops, the men wading out in the water from two to three feet deep to the shore, shoving their boats into deep water as they left them, thus cutting off all means of retreat; we could only fight and win. We were again delayed here a short time in finding a road, but succeeded at length in finding a trail that led us by a circuitous route through a palmetto swamp, some two miles across, through which I could only move in single file. About half-past 5 we reached open ground in the rear of a fence, in full view of Brashear City, about eight hundred yards distant.

I here halted the command, and after resting a few minutes, again moved on under cover of a skirt of timber, until within four hundred yards of the enemy's position, where I formed my men in order of battle. Finding myself discovered by the enemy, I determined to charge at once, and dividing my command into two columns, ordered the left, composed of Captains Clough of Green's regiment, McDade of Waller's battalion, Hamilton of Perudtree's battalion, and Blair of Second Louisiana cavalry, to charge the fort and camp below and to the left of the depot, and the right, composed of Captains Price, Carrington, and Boyce, all of Baylor's Texas cavalry, to charge the fort and sugarhouse, above and on the right of the depot, both columns to concentrate at the railroad buildings, at which point the enemy were posted in force and under good cover. Each column having nearly the same distance to move, would arrive simultaneously at the point of concentration.

Everything being in readiness, the command was given, and the troops moved on with a yell. Being in full view, we were subjected to a heavy fire from the forts above and below-- [756] the gun at the sugar-house and gunboats below — but, owing to the rapidity of our movements, it had but little effect. The forts made but a feeble resistance, and each column pressed on to the point of concentration, carrying everything before them. At the depot the fighting was severe, but of short duration; the enemy surrendered the town.

My loss is three killed and eighteen wounded. That of the enemy, forty-six killed, forty wounded, and about thirteen hundred prisoners.

We have captured eleven (twenty-four and thirty-two pounder) siege guns. Twenty-five hundred stand small arms (Enfield and Burnside rifles), and immense quantities of quartermaster. commissary, and ordnance stores. Some two thousand negroes, and between two and three hundred wagons and carts. I cannot speak too highly of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers and men under my command. All did their whole duty and deserve alike equal credit from our country, for our glorious and signal victory.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Sherod Hunter, Major Baylor's Texas Cavalry, commanding Mosquito Fleet.

Upon the foregoing report was the following endorsement:

headquarters District Western Louisiana, Thibodeauxville, July 6, 1863.
I would respectfully call the attention of the Lieutenant-General commanding, to the gallantry and meritorious services of Major Hunter and the officers commanding the detachments which composed his expedition, and earnestly suggest that they may be brought to the notice of the Government.

R. Taylor, Major-General, commanding.

Report of Brigadier-General Green.

Headquaeters First cavalry brigade, near Panco on the Lafourche, June 30, 1863.
Brigadier-General Mouton, commanding:
General: Early in this month I was ordered by you to the lower Teche, for the purpose of reconnoitring the enemy at Brashear, and to collect together and fit up light boats, preparatory to making a descent upon the enemy, if practicable. While engaged in the execution of these orders, you came down and assumed command, ordering me to advance toward the bay.

On the night of the twenty-second instant, in accordance with orders, I moved to Cochran's sugar-house (two miles distant from the bay), with the Fifth Texas, Second Louisiana cavalry, and Waller's battalion, and the Valverde and a section of Nicholl's batteries; leaving our horses at that place, I advanced the troops, above mentioned, on foot before daylight, to the village of Berwick, opposite the enemy's encampment. At the dawn of day, finding the enemy quiet and asleep, I opened fire upon them from the Valverde battery; the first shot exploded in the centre of his encampment, causing the greatest confusion, the distance being only about nine hundred yards. We fired about forty or fifty shots from our battery into the enemy before he replied to us at all. The first shot from the enemy was fired on us from his gunboat, which was at anchor in the bay, a short distance below our position. After daylight the gunboat advanced towards us as if to contest with our battery the position we occupied on the water's edge, but a few shots, well directed from the Valverde battery, drove the boat a mile below, where she opened on us with her heavy guns; about the same time several batteries from the opposite shore opened on us; the shot of the enemy was so well directed that we found it necessary several times to shift the position of our guns and caissons. The heavy gun on shore, which first opened fire on us from the principal fort above Brashear, with the garrison of that fort, was brought down nearly opposite my position, and opened fire on me with the running of the gunboat, and drawing out this heavy gun and most of the garrison from Fort Buchanan, left the waters above free to the approach of Major Hunter's command, in our little flotilla, to Tiger Island.

Major Hunter, who had moved under your orders, from the mouth of the Teche, during the night of the twenty-second, on board our mosquito fleet, landed, unperceived and unsuspected by the enemy, above their defences, and making his way through the swamp, about seven o'clock, on the morning of the twenty-third, attacked the enemy in his rear, while I was occupying him in front, completely surprising and routing him. The enemy surrendered the defences and the town of Brashear, to Major Hunter, about half-past 7 o'clock on the morning of the twenty-third. Major Hunter's command consisted of about three hundred men from Baylor's, the Fifth Texas, and Wallar's battalion, and Second Louisiana cavalry (picked men). After crossing a part of the troops, I was ordered to pursue the enemy to the Boeuf. During the evening of the same day I had quite an animated skirmish with him at the Ramos, where he had burnt both the railroad and public bridges, and was well fortified on the east bank; but finding that I had flanked him with a part of my command, on the east side of the Boeuf, he hastily retreated. I threw a small detachment over the Ramos, on the night of the twenty-third, and moved them as close as possible to the enemy, on the Boeuf; Colonel Major's command being behind the enemy, and it being difficult for him to escape (about four hundred strong) surrendered to us about daylight on the morning of the twenty-fourth. Our troops, during the three days campaign, did their duty with great alacrity, and behaved with gallantry on all occasions.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Thomas Green, BrigadierGeneral, commanding First cavalry brigade.

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Brashear City (Louisiana, United States) (11)
Thibodeaux (Louisiana, United States) (10)
Donaldsonville (Louisiana, United States) (9)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (6)
LaFourche Crossing (Louisiana, United States) (6)
Natchitoches (Louisiana, United States) (5)
Port Hudson (Louisiana, United States) (4)
Washington (United States) (3)
Valverde, N. M. (New Mexico, United States) (3)
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Vicksburg (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Staulkinghead Creek (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Plaquemine (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Hermitage (Missouri, United States) (2)
Bayou Goula (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Atchafalaya River (Louisiana, United States) (2)
Waterloo, La. (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Tiger Island (Louisiana, United States) (1)
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Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)
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Concordia Parish (Louisiana, United States) (1)
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Berwick City (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Bayou Ramos (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Bayou Plaquemine (Louisiana, United States) (1)
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