No. 25. Report of Lieutenant Joseph L. Hallett, Thirty-first Massachusetts Infantry, Acting Signal Officer.
HEADQUARTERS SIGNAL CORPS, Port Hudson, La., July 10, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience with Special orders, No. 2, dated New Orleans, La., April 7, 1863, I proceeded with my flagmen, horses, and signal equipments to Brashear City, La., and arrived at Brashear City to Captain W. W. Rowley, and agreeable to instructions received from him reported for duty on the same day to Brigadier-General Grover, commanding Forth Division.
First Lieutenant Thomas S. Hall and Second Lieutenant R. C. Harris were assigned to my charge, and reported to me on the 11th. By direction of the commanding general, Lieutenant Hall was detailed for signal duty on the gunboat Clifton and Lieutenant Harris on the Estrella. The expedition under command of Brigadier-General Grover embarked on transports on Saturday, April 11, and left Brashear City at sunrise on Sunday, the 12th. The fleet proceeded up Berwick Bay, Bayou Teche, and Grand Lake. Communication was kept open with the fleet by signals until it reached Indian Bend, where the expedition arrived at 5 p. m. An unsuccessful attempt was made to land troops that night, and the fleet lay off Indian Bend until the next day at 6 a. m., when four companies of the First Louisiana Volunteers landed under cover of the gunboats. They were at once opened upon by four pieces of the enemy's artillery, supported by 300 of his sharpshooters. I ordered Lieutenant Hall to the Laurel Hill, which lay near the shore, to direct the fire of the gunboat. In twenty minutes after the rebel artillery commenced firing it was silenced by the guns of the Clifton and the enemy driven from his position. At 11 o'clock the troops had all disembarked,a nd soon took up their march to Franklin. As the gunboats were to accompany the land force up the Teche, Lieutenant Hall remained on the Clifton and Lieutenant Harris on the Estrella.
I disembarked with the troops at Indian Bend, and was with the Fourth Division until it reached Thompson's plantation, 18 miles from Alexandria. I have no report to make of the battles of Irish Bend and Vermillionville, I have no report to make of the battles of Irish Bend and Vermillionville, the signal officers ot the gunboats, and I had no officer to signalize with. Had the object of the expedition been accomplished, and the retreat of the enemy been cut off at Franklin, as was accomplished, and the retreat of the enemy been cut off at Franklin, as was anticipated, I should have opened communication with the signal officers attached to the Second and Third Divisions, which left Berwick City by land, but did not reach Franklin until after the enemy had retreated.*
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I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOS. L. HALLETT,
First Lieutenant, Thirty-first Mass. Vols, Acting Signal Officer.
Lieutenant GEORGE R. HERBERT,
Acting Adjutant, Signal Corps, Department of the Gulf.
*Portion here omitted will be printed in chapter covering operations against Port Hudson, May 14-july 9. Series I, Vol. XXVI.