On Saturday evening, November 1, the smoke from the enemy's boats warned me of their near approach in such force that resistance at the bay was considered by me to be rashness. Acting upon your order, received but a few minutes previously, I immediately gave the necessary orders for leaving the bay. The steamers Hart and Seger were there at the time, also Launch No. 1, under the command of J. M. Rogers, who I had temporarily appointed to the position of acting master. My orders to the officers of those boats were to get immediately under way-the Hart, under the command of Lieutenant C. Montage, to proceed up to the Teche with a barge loaded with Government sugar in tow. This was safely done according to orders, with one exception-Lieutenant Montage at one time dropped his barge and returned like a gallant soldier to aid the Cotton in an unequal conflict. As soon as I could communicate to him my wishes he resumed his tow and proceeded safely to destination. Launch No. 1 also obeyed the order given to her commander, and conveyed the launch up the lake to a place near Indian Bend, from where he has since safely reported, and is now in position to render valuable service. The Seger, under the command of Acting Master I. C. Coons, disobeyed the order I gave of proceeding up the lake and turned up the Atchafalaya, and was ignobly abandoned to the enemy at a time when the Cotton was between the enemy and the Seger. The commanding officer has not since reported. I have been informed that he abandoned his men and proceeded as fast as possible to Saint Martinville. Up to the present time the only reliable fact I have about the Seger is that it is in the hands of the enemy, prowling about Grand Lake and bayous in the vicinity; of the crew, nothing.
The enemy came into Berwick Bay on Saturday evening just at dark. As to Cotton was in range, having had to wait to get the other boats off, they immediately opened fire upon us and gave chase up the bay with three boats, continuing the fire, which I did not return until rounding into the Atchafalaya, when one of our guns was brought to bear, and we fired one shot, which sped straight to its mark, striking one of the Federal boats in her be, breaking many timbers, and I have since been informed that it killed 3 and wounded 5 men. The Federals continued to fire shot and shell at us from eighteen guns for about thirty minutes, when they gave up the chase. The Cotton came up to the Teche, turned bow down and backed into it, keeping our teeth to the enemy. We backed up to the Turelier plantation, where we stopped for the night.
On Sunday morning, the 2nd instant, I received orders to move the Cotton above Cornay's bridge, which I did as soon as possible. The bayou had some obstructions thrown across at that point, which I was ordered to defend until it got too hot for me and then to fall back, turn my boat across the bayou at the second bridge, and, if pursued, sink her.
On Monday, at 2 p.m., the four Federal boats, mounting twenty-seen guns, came up and opened fire upon us. They came up in full confidence of overpowering numbers, giving us broadside after broadside, frequently the whole four delivering their fire at once. The shot and shell literally rained on and about our boat, several striking us, but without doing serious damage. We returned their fire, my brave boys cheering frequently when a well-directed shot struck the Federal boats. One of them retired from the contest in about fifteen minutes, her place being taken by another. One boat for several minutes had her colors down, whether accidentally down or that they hauled it down to indicate a surrender we had no means of learning; however,