War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0333 Chapter XXVII. OPERATIONS IN WEST LOUISIANA.

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by the Courtableau; if overpowered we can by no possibility retreat by this line. No steamer has reached Barre's Landing since you left. I do not, however, consider myself a liberty to make any change until I hear from you.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

APRIL 28, 1863.

Colonel IRWIN:

Telegraph this to General Banks:

Paine's brigade has returned. The main body of the Texans have retreated across Mermenton River.

General Smith is in Alexandria, but I cannot learn positively that any part of his Arkansas re-enforcements have arrived.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Also give an order to the commanding officer at Iberia to repair the telegraph line.


Lieutenant Emerson will send the above immediately by two orderlies, traveling together.



Opelousas, La., May 2, 1863.

COLONEL: In compliance with instructions this day received, to make out a full report of movements taken place during the period of my being in command of all the forces about this place, I have the honor to state that on the 26th, the day after General Banks left, I sent Paine's brigade, including the Fourth Wisconsin Mounted Infantry, to go out two days' march on the Texas road toward Niblett's Bluff, to drive off or disperse a large force of rebel cavalry known to be on our flank and rear. This cavalry retreated across the mermenton River, 35 miles distant from here, as Paine advanced, and it has not since been heard of. General Paine returned to camp on the morning of the 29th, and the Fourth Wisconsin went out to guard the wagon train at Vermillionville. Believing from the reports that General Dwight's rear was seriously threatened I directed him, if he had accomplished all the objects for which he was sent (leaving, however, large discretionary power with him), to lessen the space between himself and the main army, and to fall back on Washington, which he did on the 30th. The report of his operations will be found in your office.

On the 29th, hearing various conflicting rumors of the enemy's having received re-enforcements, that he was retreating his steps on the Cheneyville road, I sent forward Colonel Corliss, of the Second Rhode Island Cavalry, on the Chicotville road, accompanied by Colonel Abert, of General Banks' staff, to ascertain, if possible, the movements of the enemy, and to attack and disperse any cavalry he might find on the road. His advance went as far as the bayou beyond Chicotville, where the bridge was found burned and the bayou impassable. He found no force of any importance on the road, but a few of the enemy's pickets, which he captured.