On the 28th, whilst slowly receding, I held the enemy in check, and at about 12 m. concluded that I was reduced to the sad alternative of evacuating the place or have my entire command captured. Resistance with the small force I was no longer possible, especially as the men were worn-out with fatigue and loss of rest; besides, the mounted picket at Boutte had been driven in by the enemy, who was advancing by the Des Allamands to re-enforce the enemy in front of me, and vague rumors were afloat that the expedition to Berwick Bay had reached its destination. Information also came to me that two transports and two gunboats had gone down from Donaldsonville to New Orleans, and that they had returned and were landing re-enforcements at the Assumption Cut-off. Hence I fell back to the Terre Bonne Station, embarked all the stores and troops, and moved them over to Berwick Bay. Colonel Vick's command had not yet arrived, and I remained at the station with the cavalry to protect and cover it, while I sent on the artillery and wagon train via Chucahoula by land to rendezvous at Tigerville for transportation, the cars being already filled with troops and stores. About 3 p.m. such portion of Colonel Vick's command as he could bring up arrived, and it was sent on over the railroad track till it met a return train which had been ordered up to receive it.
At 4 p.m. all the troops which could be collected having been sent forward I caused the Thibodeaux Bridge, the La Fourche Crossing Bridge, and the Terre Bonne Station to be burned, and moved on with the cavalry, reaching the bay on the 29th, and crossing everything by the 30th.
The casualties in the engagement of the 27th are, according to returns made, as follows, viz: Killed, 5; wounded, 8; missing, 186; 3 horses were killed and 9 wounded; one 12-pounder howitzer axle broken, since replaced by one from Des Allemads.
The enemy's loss reaches fully 250 to 300, as I have been informed by an officer of the Eighteenth Regiment, who was taken prisoner and released on parole.
It is my painful duty to record the death of Colonel McPheeters, commanding the Crescent Regiment, who fell gallantly and nobly defending our sacred cause at the head of his command. Captain Ralston, commanding the battery, was wounded and captured. Efforts were made to bring him from the field, but failed, owing to the rapid advance of the enemy. This officer managed his battery with coolness and ability, and deserves much praise for the efficient services which he rendered.
Captain [B. S.] Story, commanding Company D, Eighteenth Regiment, and Lieutenant [J. D.] Burke, of same company, were captured and paroled. The former went over to New Orleans and the latter returned to New Iberia, their respective domiciles. Colonel Armant, of the Eighteenth Regiment, commanded the troops and disposed of them with ability and judgment, availing himself of every cover and protection at hand and falling back in perfect order.
The bridge at Bayou Boeuf, after all the troops and stores had been crossed, was burned, and all the public property at the bay which could not be saved was destroyed before abandoning the latter position, as hereafter explained. On the retreat, I am sorry to say, many of the conscripts attached to Colonel Vick's command lagged behind and are now in the enemy's lines, he reaching the bay with only 82 of them out of about 300.
Having been constantly moving since the 26th and closely watching and engaging the enemy has prevented me sooner from making a full