Brashear City, military operations near.
This town of Louisiana
, afterwards Morgan City
, was, at the beginning of the Civil War
, in a singular country, composed of fertile plantations, extensive forests, sluggish lagoons and bayous, passable and impassable swamps, made dark by umbrageous cypress-trees draped with Spanish moss and festooned with interlacing vines, the earth in many places matted and miry, and the waters abounding in alligators.
At that time the whole country was half submerged by the superabundant waters of the Mississippi
and its tributaries.
A single railroad passed through this country from New Orleans to Brashear City
, on the Atchafalaya
, a distance of 80 miles, at which point the waters of the great bayou Teche meet those of the Atchafalaya
, on the Teche
, the Confederates
had erected fortifications, and gathered troops to dispute the passage of these important waters by National gunboats.
Gen. N. P. Banks
, in command of the Department of the Gulf, determined to expel the armed Confederates from Brashear City
and its vicinity.
An expedition for that purpose was led by Gen. Godfrey Weitzel
, accompanied by a squadron of gunboats, under Com. McKean Buchanan
, brother of the commander of the Merrimac
.). They penetrated to Brashear City
, and then proceeded (Jan. 11, 1863) to attack the works near Pattersonville
's infantry were placed in the gunboats, and his cavalry and artillery proceeded by land.
They encountered formidable river obstructions — torpedoes, an armored steamboat, and batteries well manned by 1,100 men, on each side of the bayou.
These were attacked on the 15th, and in that engagement Buchanan
was killed by a rifle-ball that passed through his head.
The Confederates were driven from their works, and their monster steamer was abandoned and burned.
In this affair the Nationals lost thirty-four men killed and wounded.