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10 Series I Volume XXVI-I Serial 41 - Port Hudson Part I

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Page 10 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

communication with the admiral, who had moved to the Red River. In one of these expeditions the chief signal officer and a party of his men were taken prisoners opposite Port Hudson.

Orders were given on March 25 to take up the line of march to Brashear City. The rebel steamers Queen of the West and Webb were reported at Butte-a-la-Rose, on the Atchafalaya, and it was understood that the enemy, supposing my command to be fixed at Port Hudson, threatened to move at once upon the La Fourche and New Orleans. Weitzel reached Brashear City on April 8, and Grover and Emory on the 9th and 10th. They commenced crossing Berwick Bay on the 9th. It was a very slow process, on account of the want of transportation, but Weitzel and Emory succeeded in crossing by dark on the 10th, their transportation and supplies being sent over the same night and the following morning. General Grover arrived on the 10th,in the evening, and his command was immediately put on board the transports of my command, and sent up the Atchafalaya and Grand Lake, to turn the enemy's position, landing his force at Indian Bend, above Fort Bisland. It was estimated that his movement and landing would require about twelve hours, but the difficulties of navigating unknown rivers made his voyage longer than was anticipated. His boats could not came within 1/4 miles of the shore on account of shoal water, and he was obliged to use flatboats to land his men and artillery. After Grover's departure, we advanced directly upon Franklin, a distance of 20 miles, encountering small bodies of the enemy during the march.

On the 13th, we had advanced within 400 yards of his works, on both sides of the Bayou Teche, driving him to his fortifications and destroying the gunboat Diana, which he had captured from us a short time before. This battle lasted the whole day. We captured many prisoners. Our troops were ready for an assault upon the works in the evening, but it not being certain that Grover had reached the position assigned him for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the enemy, it was deferred until the morning of the 14th.

During the night the enemy, learning of Grover's successful landing, sent a large part of his force to attack him at Irish Bend. The fight was very severe. The enemy was defeated, but Grover was unable to get into such position as to cut off his retreat.

Early on the following morning, the balance of the enemy's forces evacuated Fort Bisland, which ws immediately occupied by our troops, and we pursued the enemy with great vigor, capturing many prisoners. The enemy's forces in this affair were commanded by General Taylor, Sibley, and Mouton. They retreated toward Opelousas, making a strong resistance at Vermillion Bayou, from which position they were quickly driven. The gunboats in the meantime had encountered the steamer Queen of the West on Grand Lake, destroying her, and capturing her officers and crew.

We reached Opelousas April 20, the enemy retreating toward Alexandria in disorder, and destroying the bridges in his flight. The same day the gunboats, under command of Lieutenant Commander A. P. Cooke, assisted by four companies of infantry, captured the works at Butte-a-la-Rose, which contained two heavy guns and a large quantity of ammunition, and was garrisoned by a force of 60 men, all of whom were captured.

These works constituted the key of the Atchafalaya, and, being in our possession, opened the way to Red River.

On May 2, we established communication with Admiral Farragut, at the month of Red River, through the Atchafalaya, by the gun boat Arizona,


Page 10 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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