No. 5. Reports of Brigadier General Godfrey Witzel, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, First Division, of operations April 2-May 11.
HDQRS. 2ND BRIGADIER, 1ST DIV., DEPT. OF THE GULF,
Above Opelousas, La., April 23, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit a report of the recent operations of my brigade:
I left Bayou Boeuff on the night of the 2nd instant for Brashear City and encamped until the 9th, when I crossed Berwick Bay. There I bivouacked in line of battle until Saturday, the 11th.
Immediately after crossing I sent a reconnaissance, under Captain Hubbard, my assistant adjutant-general, consisting of Perkins' and Williamson's cavalry and a section of Bainbridge's battery. The enemy was discovered with artillery about 4 miles off, with pickets to within about 1 mile of my position.
On Saturday, April 11, at 12 m., I moved, by order, skirmish with the enemy all the way, and bivouacked in line of battle above Pattersonville.
On Sunday, the 12th, at about 11 a. m., moved forward against the enemy's position, skirmish all the way. I arrived within range of their guns at about 4 p. m. They opened a little later front heir works and the gunboat Diana. I immediately replied with my artillery, Bainbridge's battery on my right in the road and Carruth's battery near my left. I directed my infantry to lie down for protection. The enemy's fire was quite severe. My artillery replied with fine effect. At about dusk I fell back out of range by order, and bivouacked in two lines on the left of Paine's brigade, of Emory's division.
On Monday, April 13, again advanced to within rifle range of the enemy's works, and engaged him with my artillery and skirmish in front, and at the same time endeavored to turn his right flank with the Seventy-fifth New York, supported by One hundred and fourteenth New York. This attempt failed in consequence of the impassable nature of the wood. I therefore ordered these two regiments to fall back to the edge of the woods in line perpendicular to my front, to prevent any movement on the part of the enemy to turn my left flank. He was, however, splendidly repulsed by the Seventy-fifth and One hundred and fourteenth. My artillery and skirmishers in front did splendid execution, and compelled the enemy not only to expose his whole force of infantry, but also to work his guns with caution. About dusk I w as ordered to fall back a slight distance and bivouac for the night. I did this.
Next morning at daylight advanced, by order, on the enemy's works, and found them deserted. Pushed on ahead, and soon came upon the enemy's rear guard, which consisted of two or three pieces of artillery and a few cavalry. Passed through Franklin and bivouacked for the night about 1 mile beyond.
Marched again the next morning at 6 o'clock, skirmish all the way, and bivouacked about 2 miles above New Iberia.
Moved on again the next morning at 6 o'clock without any skirmishing, passed through Saint Martinville, and bivouacked about 5 miles from Vermillion Bayou.