War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0343 Chapter XXVII. OPERATIONS IN WEST LOUISIANA.

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No. 17. Report of Major A. Power Gallway, One hundred and seventy-third New York Infantry, of expedition from Saint Martinville to Breaux Bridge and Opelousas.


Opelousas, La., April 21, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report that one the afternoon of the 17th instant, in obedience to an order from Headquarters Department of the Gulf, I left the main column of General Emory's division, while on the march through Saint Martinville, with my regiment and a section of Battery F, First U. S. Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Norris, and proceeded by the road along and close to Bayou Teche to Breaux Bridge. When within 5 mile of the bridge 10 of my men, whom I had mounted, under command of Captain Conrady, encountered the pickets of the enemy, whom they drove in, taking 2 prisoners and 3 horses. Shortly afterward I discovered a heavy smoke above the town of Breaux, and on reaching the town found the bridge from its main street across the Bayou Teche in flames. I was there informed that the steamboats Darby, Louise, Blue hammock, and Uncle Tommy had passed up the bayou the day before-that is, the evening of the 16th instant-and having valuable stores belonging to the enemy. The enemy had, until within an hour of our arrival there, a force of 500 cavalry in the neighborhood of Breaux Bridge. This body, with the exception of one company, crossed to the opposite (the left) bank of Bayou Teche before burning the bridge.

The march of my command having been long, and from Saint Martinville rapid, and it being, besides, past 5 o'clock when I reached Breaux Bridge, I determined to bivouac for the night in a wood close to the town, and push on next morning to the junction of Bayous Teche and Fusilier, where I was informed the boats would probably get aground. I sent forward a man up the Bayou Teche to ascertain the position and condition of the boats. He reported next morning that all of them had been burned at the junction as soon as the enemy learned of the arrival of my command at Breaux Bridge. From him and from other parties I learned that the Darby had three guns on board when she was burned, and that they could be seem above water when the fire had died out. One gun was a 32-pounder and the other small brass guns. An order from Headquarters Department of the Gulf prevented my moving forward, as I had intended, on the morning of the 18th instant.

At 3 o'clock on the afternoon of the 19th, not having received an order from Headquarters Department of the Gulf, I marched with my command on Opelousas, by way of the junction and bayou roads. I reached the junction of Bayous Teche and Fusilier between 9 and 10 o'clock on the night of the 19th instant, and fund that the enemy had burned the bridge across Bayou Fusilier on the route I was to follow. I halted at the bridge for the night and got a gun of Lieutenant Norris' section in position to command a pile of planks on the opposite bank of the bayou, with which I intended building a bridge in the morning.

On the morning of the 20th instant I took from the neighboring plantations 50 negroes and made a bridge at the base of the pillars of the one destroyed, over which I crossed my command at 3 o'clock in the afternoon of that day. On the left bank of Bayou fusilier I found a hospital with 20 sick and wounded soldiers of the enemy. Six of them