Headquarters of the Nineteenth Army Corps, my division commenced embarkation on transports at Baton Rouge for Donaldsonville on March 26. The whole division encamped at the latter place on the evening of the 30th, and took up its line of march for Thibodeaux, on April 2. From this point the division was transported by rail to Bayou Boeuff, where it encamped from April 4 to 9.
On the 9th it again marched and encamped at Brasher City, where it awaited transportation by water. Here I received orders to embark the division upon the gunboats Estrella, Clifton, Arizona, and Calhoun, under Lieutenant-Commander Cooke, and such transports as could at the time be obtained, and sail up through Berwick Bay into Grand Lake, and to endeavor to effect a landing on its southwestern shore at Madam Porter's plantation, or some other more convenient point beyond, and there debarking, ot march to the Bayou Teche, cross, if possible, and move upon Franklin on the south side, with a view to cut off the retreat of the rebel garrison at Camp Bisland; or, in event of their holding their position in their fortifications, to attack them in rear. The transportation, however, at Brashear City was found to be so limited that it was found necessary to embark all my artillery, the horses of one battery, and a great portion of our necessary stores upon flats picket up along the bay. So much valuable time was thus lost that it was not till late in the evening of the 11th instant that the division was entirely embarked.
It was my intention to have sailed at 2 a. m. on the next morning, but a heavy fog settled over the bay during the night and delayed our departure until 8 a. m., when we sailed up the bay, the Clifton leading. Nothing of consequence occurred in our course until about 11.30 a. m., when the Arizona grounded off Cypress Island. Every means of possible application were at once used to get her afloat, but without effect, and at 3.30 p. m. she was left and the flotilla proceeded on its destination, and dropped anchor off Madam Porter's plantation about 7.30 p. m.
A reconnoitering party, under Lieutenant-Colonel fiske, First Louisiana Volunteers, was at once landed in the ship's boats and the road and landing thoroughly examined. In about two hours this party returned, finding the road utterly impassable for even infantry, the lake from some cause having overflown the greater part of it. The Clifton immediately weighed anchor, and, sailing around the point about 6 miles farther, came to anchor at what is known at McWilliams' plantation. Here a reconnaissance, made by Captain Denslow, Sixth New York Volunteers, and Lieutenant Matthews, aide-de-camp, in command of a small party of the Sixth New York Volunteers, found the roads to the Teche to be practicable.
The difficulties of landing at this, as well as at all other adjacent landings, are very great for boats of any considerable draught. No transport of any considerable capacity was able to go nearer than 100 yards of the shore; but by constructing a bridge of flats, and by the assistance of two very small-boats, the debarkation, which commenced by Brigadier General William Dwight, was first debarked and ordered to the front to dislodge the enemy from a thick skirt of wood, form which, with one piece of artillery, supported by infantry or dismounted cavalry, to the amount of about 300 or 400 strong, they endeavored to destroy our transports and retard our landing. Having executed my ordered in that respect with small loss, he was directed to