we encountered was a party of the enemy returning to ascertain our movements. I do not expect to encounter them to-morrow. The condition of the enemy's army when it passed this point is described by those who witnessed it as deplorable. They threw a great deal of ammunition into Bayou Cocodrie, and they threw great quantities of small-arms into Bayou Boeuff. In short, they were disposed to abandon everything. The Texans declared they were going home, while the other troops said that if they failed to hold Alexandria they would retreat through Arkansas toward Vicksburg. Under these circumstances I can go as far toward Alexandria as the commanding general may direct.
From the information which I have here to-day it would seem that Washington might be made a base of operations. There are 25 feet of water in the bayou at this point. The difficulties of the Atchafalaya may be great-they appeared very great to Lieutenant-Commander Cooke-but surely where rebel gunboats have been, and waters which the rebels have navigated, our gunboats and transports can navigate.
It will ga impossible to get the supplies, which are in this country, of sugar, &c., out of the country, except by means of water transportation. There are 160 hogsheads of sugar at the very first plantation which we have reached. There are 10,000 barrels of corn there belonging to the Confederate Government, stored there for the supply of their army.
There is no enemy before us, for that army cannot rally. It is not likely that there is nay in the region of Buttle-a-la-Rose, or prepared to act on our communications on the Atchafalaya. I have further information that the raft on Grand River at present forms no obstruction at low water.
Much that I have written may be already known to you. I have written it because some of it is new to me.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM DWIGHT, JR.,
Lieutenant Col. RICHARD B. IRWIN,
AT THE BURNT BRIDGES ON BAYOUS COCODRIE AND BCEUFF, Beyond Washington, La., April 23, 1863-4.30 a. m.
SIR: My command is beyond Bayous Boeuff and Cocodrie. I shall make a long march to-day. Yesterday I got information that there was a large flat-boat loaded with supplies of flour, &c., up Bayou Cocodrie attempting to get to the railroad, for Alexandria. Having obtained a good guide, I sent a force of cavalry to capture this flat-boat. It was captured, and its captain is now here a prisoner. it turned out to be loaded with about 50 barrels of the best quality of Louisiana rum (made from the sugar instead of molasses), some sugar, and some lard. There had been some flour on board, but it was taken by a quartermaster in the Confederate Army. The captain of the flat is a speculator; he owned the steamer Wave, and he started from Alexandria with a cargo to run the blockade of the Mississippi and go to Natchez. He was stopped at the mouth of Red River by the Hartford, which fired several shots at him; he ran away from her, and by way of the Atchafalaya reached this point; here he changed his cargo from the Wave to the flat-boat.