War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0173 Chapter XXVII. THE LA FOURCHE DISTRICT, LA.

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No. 3. Report of Lieutenant John A. Vance, Sixteenth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer.

THIBODEAUX, LA., November 1, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that Friday, October 24, 1862, the party under my command embarked with the reserve brigade at Carrollton, La. The officers were distributed as follows: Lieutenant Eaton on the Iberville, the leading transport; Lieutenant Butterfield on the Sallie Robinson, the rearmost transport; Lieutenant Dana on the Kineo, the leading gunboat, and myself on the General Williams, in the center. General Weitzel was also on this transports.*

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Early in the evening the general gave me orders not to allow the line to extend more than 1 1/2 miles, and during the night I was in almost constant communication with some of the officers, directing this in advance to go slower and the transports in the rear to close up.

Saturday, October 25, we landed at daylight and marched to Donaldsonville.

Sunday we commenced our march down the left bank of Bayou La Fourche; Lieutenant Eaton I sent with the advance guard, Lieutenant Butterfield with the rear guard, Lieutenant Dana at the head of the column, while I occupied the center. During the entire day we had comparatively nothing to do.

Monday we were disposed in the same manner, with the exception of Lieutenant Dana, who crossed with he Eighth New Hampshire to the right bank of the bayou. At noon our advance on the right bank fell in with the enemy, concealed in a woods. Lieutenant Dana instantly called Lieutenant Eaton and sent S. W. F. 55, F. O. Lieutenant Eaton received this message and communicated it to the assistant adjutant-general, and at the same time I communicated it to General Weitzel, who ordered up four pieces of Thompson's battery to shell the woods. The range being too high, Lieutenant Dana sent S. O. E., which message Lieutenant Eaton delivered to officer in charge of the battery, but it was unheeded. A bridge was then thrown across the bayou and the Twelfth and Thirteenth Connecticut ordered to cross. Lieutenant Butterfield crossed with the Twelfth, and during the engagement which ensued his horse was struck by a piece of shell, became unmanageable, threw his rider, and escaped to the lines of the enemy. Lieutenant Butterfield fortunately escaped uninjured. Our forces on the left bank fell back to the crossing, and from there one section of Thompson's battery opened upon the enemy on the opposite side, when Lieutenant Dana sent the following messages, which were received by me:

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During the time Lieutenant Dana was sending these messages he was exposed to a fire of artillery and musketry. Lieutenant Eaton during this time was pushing from and on the left bank, endeavoring to ascertain the position of a battery which was playing upon us. Soon as the enemy retreated they were followed by our cavalry and with them went Lieutenant Dana. When they had advanced about a mile he sent, "Send Thompson's battery here." This was received by Lieutenant Butterfield. Private Abbott was thrown from his horse,


*Some unimportant messages here inserted by Lieutenant Vance omitted.