BATON ROUGE, LA., August 7, 1862.
GENERAL: As soon as I arrived here this morning, I examined the position of our troops (which were drawn up in line of battle), although it was at 1 a.m. I was convinced, after hearing everything I could, that the enemy met with a bad repulse, and was certain that he would not again attack soon. I recommended to Colonel Paine to send out reconnoitering parties in every direction, so as to ascertain exactly the position of the enemy. Up the this moment (3.30 p.m.) but one of the five parties sent out has returned, bringing with it five abandoned caissons of the enemy, partially filled with ammunition. Our forces cannot pursue. Only about 1,200 men of the 2,500 engaged could march 5 miles. I send you a truthful account of the battle. I ascertained all these facts by actually examining the grounds and all truthful men. I send this in such a manner as to be fit for publication in the Delta or in any paper. I did not state what is true, that the Seventh Vermont behaved very badly. The colonel is an exception. He fought bravely and was mortally wounded. I have advised Colonel Paine to send down all the sick and wounded.
Be sure, general, to send back all these transports at once.
The difficulty about burning this town is there is a large orphan asylum and a tremendous insane asylum, both of which humanity forbids us to destroy.
Colonel Cahill did well, and I have not the least doubt from what I have seen from him that he was equal to the emergency.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
Baton Rouge, August 8, 1862-6.15 p.m.
CAPTAIN: I have just heard, as the boat is starting, from two intelligent deserters that the following was the plan of the rebels:
Breckinridge was to take Baton Rouge; the ram to clear out the gunboats here; he then would march down to attack Phelps, assisted by a large force which was in waiting on the right bank of the river and some parties from the city. This is from, I consider, very good authority.
We have already buried over 250 rebels. Their wounded are continually reported to us by scouting parties as lying around in great numbers in negro cabins and houses on the outskirts. We are getting them in. We have besides a large number in the city in the hands of rebel friends.
Our total loss is 95 killed, 265 wounded, and about 40 missing.*
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant, U. S. Engineers.
Captain R. S. DAVIS,
*But see revised statement, p. 51.