The enemy moved down about equally strong on both blanks, his force being from 1,500 to 1,800 on each side. The column on the right bank pressed on more speedily than that on the left, and approached our line of battle at about 9 a.m. near the road leading into the settlement called Texas, in Assumption. Our forces, though much inferior in numbers, resisted their onward march and effectually succeeded in checking them, until, unfortunately, Ralston's battery was so severely injured by the enemy's, and their ammunition giving out, they were compelled to fall back, which was done in some confusion, owing to the loss of their commander. I then took position about a mile and a half below, at Labadieville, at about 4 p.m., and awaited the advance of the enemy. This retrograde movement was rendered the more necessary from the fact that the enemy was crossing troops on pontoon bridge to the right bank and there massing forces. Immediately I also threw across part of the infantry stationed on the left; and at the closes of the day the force of the enemy numbered about 2,000 infantry, 100 cavalry, and a battery, while my own barely reached 1,000, including infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Informed that the enemy would make simultaneous movements via Donaldsonville, Des Allemands, and Berwick Bay, I had foreseen that the necessity would arise of abandoning Des Allemads and concentrating our forces, believing that the salvation of the troops required the adoption of this course. On the 27th, at about 12 m., I gave orders to Major Sanders, assistant quartermaster, to send over the train to get Colonel [T. E.] Vick's command, consisting of the La Fourche militia regiment, about 500 strong, and a detachment from the Thirty-third of about 300, with instructions to save everything he could and to destroy everything he might be compelled to leave behind. At the same time I have orders to the Saint Charles and Saint John the Baptist regiments and to the cavalry picket at the Vacherie and at the Boutte to fall back without delay on the main body.
Major Sanders executed his orders, and in person directed the conductor of the train to move off from the Terre Bonne Station to the Des Allemands to bring in Colonel Vick's command. The engineer on board, a Mr. Jacobs, laboring under a misapprehension of the orders given to Captain Kerr, superintendent, refused to go unless by orders in writing from Captain Kerr or from my headquarters. This man, I am inclined to believe from all the information I could obtain, acted conscientiously, but he certainly caused me much embarrassment. Mr. Nelson, the assistant superintendent, arriving at about 3 p.m., went over with the train, but fearing lest he might be violating orders he and the conductor merely ran through to deliver the orders and returned only with the sick and a portion of the baggage.
In the mean time Colonel Vick prepared for destroying everything at the Des Allemands Station, and after burning the bridge took up his line of march to join me. Colonel Vick's command was so worn-out by the labor required to destroy the Des Allemands Bridge and the depots and their tedious march over the bed of the road, that he reached me only at about 3 p.m. of the 28th notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts on his part to get in earlier.
My object, could I have united my force, was to make a desperate resistance and to drive the enemy back if possible, but when my re-enforcements failed to come in no alternative was left to me but to maneuver with the enemy and save my force. In consequence I issued orders for the removal of the sick to Berwick Bay, and made all needful preparation for the removal of the stores.
12 R R-VOL XV