by 300 infantry, took and occupied the town, destroyed the telegraph and post-offices, captured the dispatches, possessed of the general's presentation sword, spurs, and bridle as trophies (our officers do not plunder generals' quarters of shirts and stockings), burned his supply train of twenty cars, and returned at his leisure, inflicting treble loss upon the enemy in killed and wounded.
I beg to commend this to the commanding general as one of the most daring and successful exploits of the war-equal in dash, spirit, and cool courage to anything attempted on either side. Major Strong and his officers and men deserve great credit. It may have been a little daring, perhaps rash, but that has not been an epidemic fault with our officers.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding Armies of the United States.
No. 2. Report of Major George C. Strong, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Gulf.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., September 24, 1862.
GENERAL: Pursuant to your orders of the 13th instant I embarked on the afternoon of that day on board steamer Ceres, at Lakeport, with three companies of the Twelfth Regiment Maine Volunteers, commanded respectively by Captains Thornton, Farrington, and Winter, and one company (Captain Pickering's) of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Regiment. I had previously sent 100 men of the Thirteenth Connecticut Regiment on board the gunboat New London, commander. Captain Read, had kindly consented to co-operate with me. The object in view was to surprise the village of Ponchatoula, the headquarters of the rebel General Jeff. Thompson, 48 miles north of this city, on the line of the Jackson Railroad. To that end the New London was to land her men at Manchac Bridge, where at daybreak next morning they were to drive the enemy that might be found there northward to Ponchatoula, while the remainder of the force, having found our way 15 miles up to Tangipahoa River in the night, should have landed, marched 6 miles westward, and captured Ponchatoula in season to secure those of the enemy who had been driven up from Pass Manchac.
The attempt at surprise failed, for not only was the New London unable to get over the bar into Manchac Pass in the darkness, but the Ceres, too large for the was navigation of the narrow and winding Tangipahoa, failed in each of the succeeding nights to reach her destination on that river in season to admit of our gaining Ponchatoula before daylight. I resolved therefore to go with that steamer to Manchac Bridge, and did so on the morning of the 15th. From that point Captain Winter was sent with his company southward, to make the destruction of the railroad on Manchac Island more complete, which duty he thoroughly performed. Captain Pickering's company was left to guard the steamer, and the companies of Captain Thornton and