War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0125 Chapter XXVII. EXPEDITION TO LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN.

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of the river below to oppose our passage to the lake. I regret to report that during this march 2 men fell from sun-stroke and died before night.

As the boat was about leaving we were surprised with a volley of musketry from the thick bushes which cover the river banks. Our men immediately sprang to their arms and returned the fire with steadiness and spirit. Captain Holcomb almost instantly sent a charge of canister after them, and Lieutentant Buchanan brought his 32-pounders to bear with terrible effect. Of course their fire was soon silenced. The cars upon the boat is evidence of its severity.

Our casualties were marvelously few, considering our exposed position. Only 3 men were wounded, and none of them seriously-1 soldier and 2 sailors. We cleared a passage for ourselves out of the river, at each turn firing shell and canister into the thick bushes upon the shore and sending an occasional shell back into the woods from Captain Holcomb's 20-pounder Parrott. We were not fired on again, but could frequently see armed men retreating into the woods.

Monday, the 28th, was sent in taking in coal, &c.

Tuesday, the 29th, we crossed the lake, and by one of the bayous went some distance into the country. Reports of guerrillas we found everywhere, but none showed themselves.

Failing to induce them to meet us anywhere on the lake shore, and hearing of some farther east, on the 30th we went up Pearl River, as far as Pearlington. We found the people in great destitution and beset by plunderers on every side. A company was sent back into the country, but found no enemy.

Hearing that a small party were prowling about Pass Christian, Miss., on the 31st we sailed up the Bay of Saint Louis, and landed about daylight opposite the town, hoping to capture a picket stationed there by approaching them from the rear. They had, however, perceived the approach of our boat. We found the place deserted by nearly all its population, who, as from other towns we visited, are flying daily by boat loads to escape impressment into the Confederate service. They are destitute of the necessaries of life, being dependent entirely upon the small amounts smuggled from Mobile.

We afterward visited Shieldsborough, where we found the same state of things existing. Here outrages too gross for description have been recently perpetrated by guerrillas, who find apologists among the most prominent citizens of the place.

On August 1 we visited Louisburg. All the docks and landings at this place, and at Mandeville, 2 miles distant, were burned by a party of guerrillas some two weeks since. It will cost many thousands of dollars to rebuild them. A company was landed in small boats and marched back into the woods, where till recently has been one of their camps. They found it deserted, as about this region too there was nothing left to plunder.

We then revisited the Tchefuncta as far as Madisonville. The picket which has been stationed there has been removed. The town was deserted, and nearly every public and private building closed.

Despairing of finding an enemy who would stand fire within the circuit designated for our expedition we thence returned to camp. We heard various reports at different places of the loss on the part of the guerrillas from our engagement on Sunday. That which seemed to come most direct and to be most reliable was the admission of 7 killed, 4 by our musketry and canister shots and 3 from the explosion of a shell in the woods at a distance. I give it no great credit.