War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0341 Chapter XXVII. OPERATIONS IN WEST LOUISIANA.

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ordered to move forward skirmishers to ascertain whether the enemy had not evacuated their works, and sent forward a detachment of cavalry. But their appearance in front immediately drew the fire of several of the enemy's guns and they retired, when the contest was renewed on both sides; but before noon the enemy abandoned his attempt to dislodge my command, and the firing ceased, excepting an occasional discharge from our guns.

With the conduct of the officers and men of my own brigade I was entirely satisfied, and cannot withhold an expression of admiration for the behavior of the officers and men of the artillery detachments which were under my command.

After noon General Emory ordered me to move forward against the entrenchments in conjunction with General Weitzel. I disposed of my brigade in two lines in front of the left of the entrenchments, and General Weitzel took the same line sin front of the right of the works. The first line of battle, being thus composed of regiments of each brigade, was 500 yards from the enemy. The artillery of the division was posted in the center and on my right, which rested on the bayou road. My first line was composed of the Fourth Wisconsin on the right and the Eighth New Hampshire on the left. My second, of the One hundred and thirty-third New York on the right and the One hundred and seventy-third New York on the left. Company D, Fourth Wisconsin, Lieutenant Herron commanding, covered my front as skirmishers, and most bravely fought the sharpshooters of the enemy. The contest raged during the whole afternoon. My brigade was constantly swept by the enemy's projectiles, which, but for the shelter afforded by the ditches, would have inflicted upon me a fearful loss. Sharpshooters of the enemy seemed to be posted in a sugar-house within the entrenchments. Captain Duryea directed his fire upon it and completely riddled it. It was left discretionary with General Weitzel and myself to determine when an assault should be made, if at all. My ignorance respecting the number of troops within the entrenchments, and the nature of the ground over which the assaulting force would be compelled to pass, prompted me to leave the desicion with General Weitzel, whose judgment, eminent ability, and great experience have gained so much weight. In reply to a communication from him he was informed that my movements would be guided by his judgment. After two personal interviews on the field he sent me word that if I would advance to the assault he would conform his own movements to mine. I immediately admonished my troops to move steadily and together, especially in hat part of the charge which was to be made at double-quick. To dos o I was compelled by the uproar of the battle to address each regiment separately. In response they promised with loud hurrahs to go over the breastworks or perish in the attempt. All being ready the command was given and the march commenced. We had proceeded but a short distance when one of General Weitzel's staff officers overtook me and requested me to delay the attack until he could obtain an answer to a communication which he had sent ot General Banks. I accordingly moved my brigade back to its position, and soon afterward the following order was received, viz:


April 13, 1863.

General EMORY:

If the commanders in the front line are not prepared to make an assault, under the discretionary power already given them, the front line will, under cover of darkness, fall back to a line having on the point of wood in front of the position of