War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0039 Chapter XXVII. VICKSBURG, MISS., AND BATON ROUGE, LA.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, July 31, 1862.

Lieutenant Col. ALFRED W. ELLET,

Steam Ram Switzerland, off Vicksburg:

Your dispatch of 23rd instant, relating to the engagement with the Arkansas, has just been received, and I have referred it to General Halleck, commander-in-chief, to give you instructions on the points desired. For your great gallantry I shall recommend you for nomination by the President as brigadier-general. You will return to Lieutenant Hunter and the gallant officers and soldiers and boatmen of your command the thanks of this Department. You will please make known to me anything that may be required by your fleet, in order that it may be promptly supplied. The lamented death of your brother, deprives the country of the full report expected from him, and I wish you would supply it.


Secretary of War.

No. 9. Report of Major General Benjamin F. Butler, U. S. Army, commanding the Department of the Gulf, of engagement at Baton Rouge, La., with orders and resulting correspondence.


New Orleans, La., August 10, 1862.

SIR: Owing to the withdrawal of the fleet from before Vicksburg it became necessary to return Williams' brigade to Baton Rouge. The services before Vicksburg had weakened very much that force by sickness. The overflow of the river and the number of dead animals in the swamps made a fearful malaria; but while it caused illness in almost the entire command it did not produce a large mortality. The healthy air and water of Baton Rouge rapidly recruit the troops.

The cessation of operations at Vicksburg allowed the enemy to concentrate a very large part of his available force at Camp Moore, about 60 miles from Baton Rouge. From thence he marched to attack that post, and on the morning of the 5th instant appeared before our lines. His force consisted of two Louisiana regiments; two Mississippi regiments; two Tennessee regiments; the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Seventh and Eighth Kentucky regiments; and Alabama regiment: a Texas and a Georgia regiment; fourteen pieces of artillery, and a large force of guerrilla cavalry. These were under the command of Major General John C. Breckinridge, Brigadier-General Ruggles, Benjamin H. Helm, Allen and Clark. They were supported by the ram Arkansas which inspired them with the greatest hopes and the utmost confidence in their attack.

To oppose this formidable force Brigadier-General Williams had the Fourteenth Maine, Seventh Vermont, nine companies of the Ninth Connecticut the Twenty-first Indiana, Fourth Wisconsin, and Sixth Michigan regiments; Nims', Everett's, and Manning's Massachusetts batteries, and Magee's company, of Massachusetts cavalry. Nearly one-half of all this force were on the sick list.

Leaving two regiments in the village for a reserve, with high chivalry General Williams formed his lines at daybreak, nearly a mile beyond the town, in an admirably chosen position.