4 a. m. of the 14th, when I relieve his pickets by four companies of my battalion -- A, Lieutenant Stewart; K, Captain Hovey; D, Captain Allen, and E, Captain Nettleton, all under command of Captain Hollister. The two battalions were then withdrawn to a new position, in anticipation of the old positions being shelled at daybreak. no attack, however, being made either upon our forces or our pickets, Colonel Gooding shortly ordered that my picket force advance and ascertain the situation in the enemy's works. Captain W. I. Allen, Company D, advancing through the wood, which was charged, entered a redoubt, palisade in rear, capable of mounting three guns, with a ditch of five feet of water in front, and from which some of the best sharpshooting against us was done on the previous day. This advance disclosed the evacuation of the enemy's works during the night. This was the left of the enemy's works.
In the rifle-pits, redoubt, and the immediate wood were found about 25 bodies of the enemy's dead and 1 wounded, some 20 dead horses, and 40 pieces of small-arms. The latter were collected, but for total want of transportation were left in the works by the picket. In the immediate vicinity the pickets captured some 20 serviceable horses, and on the ensuing march some 20 mules, all of which were informally turned over by order of Major-General Banks. The prisoners taken by the pickets and those who were brought in to the battalion on the march amounted in all to 33, besides about 6 wounded, who were returned to the hospital. These were turned over-a few to General Emory and the remainder to the provost-marshal at Franklin.
On the 14th the battalion marched with the brigade to the city of Franklin.
My battalion, during the time reported on, consisted of 1 field officer, 3 staff officers, 12 lines officers, and 400 enlisted men. These are in seven companies, three large, healthy companies of the regiment being at Fort Pike, which, had they been with me, would have made my battalion of disciplined men probably the largest in the field or the corps.
It is but due to all the officers of the battalion to say that without exception they behaved with marked courage and energy, handling their men with coolness and efficiency in every position in which they were placed. Individual comment would include all, or do injustice to some.
Of the non-commissioned officers of the regiment the same may be said, and of all the enlisted men. I am happy to say that their baptism of fire has proved them brave without exception, obedient without question, and reliable for any position. I saw no man fall out, fall back, or falter.*
W. S. B. HOPKINS,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Thirty-first Massachusetts.
Captain E. H. FORDHAM, A. A. A. G.,
3rd Brigadier, 3rd Div., 19th A. C.
No. 21. Report of Lieutenant Col. William L. Rodman, Thirty-eighth Massachusetts Infantry, of engagement of Fort Bisland.
HDQRS. THIRTY-EIGHTH REGT. MASSACHUSETTS VOLS.,
On the road to Opelousas, La., April 18, 1863.
COLONEL: In obedience to your order I beg leave to forward my
*Nominal list of casualties omitted; embodied inrevised statement, p. 319.