War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0179 Chapter XXVII. THE LA FOURCHE DISTRICT, LA.

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report, and even now it is very imperfect, from the reason that I have been unable to obtain from the different commands all the information needed. I, however, had the honor on the 29th ultimo of submitting a brief statement of his presence here. This communication was forwarded by mail to the care of Colonel Burke, with request that he would forward without delay. On the 30th, to the care of Captain Lindsay, I sent on a telegram to General Taylor of the same import. While at the bay with my troops at about 3 in the morning on the 30th the Seger came up from the Passes and informed me that four of the enemy's boats were in sight, but the information obtained from the captain was so confused that I immediately dispatched Captain Fuller on board the Hart to ascertain the facts. Upon his return he confirmed the presence of the boats outside the obstructions placed in the Passes and reported four visible, two of which fired into him after he had opened on them to draw their five to ascertain their caliber.

In the mean time, knowing full well that I could offer no resistance to gunboats at the bay, I dispatched Colonel Sulakowski up the Teche to select a defensible position and erect fortifications. The position chosen was about half a mile up the bayou, along a heavy point in the neighborhood of Mr. Charpantier's, where entrenchments were immediately commenced and preparations made to obstruct the stream a little above this, at Mr. Cornay's bridge, it being impossible to do so effectually anywhere below. Favored with a low tide, I had hoped the enemy would be prevented from removing the obstructions or finding a channel, and the work was urged forward with all the expedition possible under the circumstances, having obtained hands sufficient only by the 31st. From this time forward all dispatch was used and every means in my power employed to offer a successful resistance at this point before the arrival of the boats, but in this I was grievously disappointed. On the 1st Captain Fuller, who was constantly on the alert, informed me that one of the boats was within the obstructions and that the others were making their way past them. I bade him hold them in check and give me all the time he could, which he did to the best of his ability, and I immediately selected another position about 2 miles above the obstructions at Mrs. Meade's, where I commenced entrenchments with a few of establishing heavy guns.

On the 1st the four boats of the enemy had come within the obstructions and moved up the bay cautiously and slowly, and I again ordered Captain Fuller with the Cotton to face and delay them as long as he could. This he accomplished by retarding them at the bay on the 1st. On the 2nd they moved up the bay reconnoitering, and exchanged several shots with the Cotton without injuring her, and they finally dropped back to the bay at night, anchoring one of their boats at Gibbon's Point. Deeming it all important to save the Cotton, with the hope that I might perhaps check them with her in the bayou, should they remove the obstructions at Cornay's previous to the completion of the entrenchments, I ordered him to back her up the Teche a little above the works, and there hold himself in readiness to engage the boats should they come up, while I urged on the entrenchments. All the while I kept scouts forward, who informed me of the movements of the enemy. On the 3rd the enemy moved up with his whole force, and at 2 p.m. engaged the Cotton and an uncovered land battery of rifled pieces, which I had stationed in such manner as to co-operate with and protect the Cotton. The engagement lasted till 3.30 p.m., when the enemy's boats came within such close range that the battery and the Cotton were