War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0187 Chapter XXVII. BERWICK BAY, LA.

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they hoisted them again after a delay of about twenty minutes. One, more adventuresome than the rest, steadily steamed up the bayou; when in about 100 yards of the obstructions we gave her a plunging shot from each of our guns, which all struck near the water on the starboat quarter. The boat immediately ran her head upon shore, and was listed down so as to throw her guns out of use and ceased her fire, except occasionally from one gun on the bow. At this time, when but one of the enemy's boats fired with any vigor, when victory seemed to be within our reach, it was announced that we had no more cartridges, having fired the last one. Retreat was all the made by cutting off the legs from the pantaloons of some of our men, which we filled and returned fire with as often as we could in that manner obtain a cartridge. This we continued until out of range and the enemy ceased their fire. We had to mourn the loss of one brave soldier, killed by an accidental discharge of his gun, which severely wounded another. Another was accidentally wounded at another gun by the recoil of the carriage and has since died. One man was wounded by a piece of the enemy's shell. These are all the casualties that occurred. The boat sustained no perceptible damage.

On Tuesday morning we resumed our original position near the obstructions, the enemy having previously retired. We worked hard to improve the condition of our boat and got up some iron to shield the engines. Nothing occurred worthy of note during the day.

On Wednesday, the 5th instant, the enemy again opened fire upon us with four boats at about 10.30 o'clock. They fired from behind a point out of our range for about twenty minutes, then two of them steamed up into sight. We then immediately returned their fire, and with such effect that the enemy retired and abandoned the contest in fifty-five minutes from firing their first shot. The two boats that came into sight were badly damaged and their loss heavy; ours nothing; the only damage being a trifling break in the cabin roof. This day victory was clearly ours. The enemy retired from the action badly discouraged, with severe loss. We were unhurt.

On Thursday the enemy came up and opened fire upon us, but took care not to come into sight. I did not return their fire. They threw shells at us for half an hour and retired without doing us any damage. Since that up to present date they have not assailed us.

I cannot close this report without returning thanks to officers and men. Where all did their duty gallantly in may seem invidious to mention particular names, yet I must particularly mention the good conduct of O. S. Burdett, pilot, who for two hours and a half during the fierce combat on the 3rd instant maneuvered the boat with the utmost coolness; also the same gallant conduct on the 5th instant. Each of my lieutenants did his duty nobly and ably. Also F. G. Burbank, gunner, and Privates F. D. Wilkinson and Henry Dorning deserve particular mention for their gallant conduct. But all did their duty well, and are again ready to meet the enemy should they come up and try us again.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Commanding Gunboat Cotton.


Commanding Forces South of Red River.