War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0195 Chapter XXVII. AFFAIRS AT PLAQUEMINE, LA.

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upon his informing me that his command were totally without and in need.

I was also compelled to leave my ammunition, 22 boxes, of caliber .54.

On communicating to the captain of the gunboat at 5 p.m. he said he would render me all assistance before dark, but could do nothing for me after. To have taken my ammunition on board would have occupied at least an hour's more time. I had another and, as I considered, important reasons for moving nothing. The citizens had constant communication across the Bayou Plaquemine by means of skiffs; for with my small force it was impossible for me to post sentries close enough to prevent that evil, and had they any idea of my evacuating it would have been immediately communicated to the enemy, who could have crossed on the flats in sufficient numbers to have annoyed me, and most probably deterred my embarking.

All of my small command, including the wounded whom I sent off on the first boat, was aboard the gunboats by 7 o'clock, and we then took our course for Donaldsonville, running slowly to cover the retreat of Lieutenant Perkins' cavalry by the river road. Had we been attacked while embarking it would have resulted in the total destruction of not only my own men but those of the gunboats and of the boats also, for I could not defend myself, nor could the gunboats render me any assistance with their guns, for the enemy would have been behind a levee 12 feet high.

We arrived at Donaldsonville this morning at 8 o'clock, my officers and men having been treated in the most courteous manner by the gunboat commanders.

At Donaldsonville I found the river steamer Morning Light with 200 of the Forty-second Massachusetts on board for me from General Grover at Baton Rouge. They arrived at Plaquemine at 7.30; not seeing us, they proceeded down the river to this place and reported to me. General Grover requested me to return the troops as soon as possible, as I ordered them to return as soon as practicable, the Morning Light having some repairs to make before being able to move up the river.

Colonel Holcomb, commanding at this place, did not desire me to remain, so I took the first river boat (Sallie Robinson) and returned to Camp Parapet, where we arrived this evening at 10 o'clock.

In conclusion I would speak of my orders. When I reported to the captain of the gunboat, as my orders were to co-operate with the naval force, he said he could give me no advice in the matter, for he knew nothing of the state of affairs on shore.

I further add as a postscript, the embarkation was the decision of a consultation of all my officers, fully approved by the commandants of the gunboats.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Comdg. Detachment 162nd New York Vols.


Comdg. One hundred and sixty-second N. Y. Vols.

I would report as a certainly the loss of the enemy to be 2 killed on the 2nd and 1 on the 3rd of January.

Yours, respectfully,


Major, Comdg. Detachment 162nd New York Vols.