War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0393 Chapter XXVII. OPERATIONS IN WEST LOUISIANA.

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as prearranged was prevented, and I fear that he and the grated portion of the crew have become prisoners.

At about 9.30 o'clock a. m. all the wagons and troops had passed through the town of Franklin, and as the rear of General Mouton's command left the upper portion of the town the advance guard of the enemy entered the lower portion. At Franklin the steamboats which had been in the Lower Teche and used for transportation of troops and stores were burned to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy, with the exsection of the steamer Cornie, on which the sick and wounded had been removed from Camp Bisland, and the unheard of plan was adopted of attempting ot pas the boat with the sick and wounded on board through the enemy's lines under a hospital flag, although I had given orders for a sufficient number of behicles ot be in readiness at Franklin to transport the sick and wounded by land to a place of safety. This course was adopted by Chief Surgeon Parish, under orders from Brigadier-General Sibley, and of course the boat and those on board fell into the enemy's hands. Our troops and train then proceeded, encamping on Tuesday night just above Jeanerette, Colonel Green, in command of the rear guard, covering the retreat and keeping up almost constant skirmishing with the enemy's advance. On leaving Franklin I in person, ordered Brigadier-General Sibley to march at the head of the column, preventing straggling, select which he had made of camping ground for the night. Keeping in the rear of our column I was much surprised to find late in the afternoon that this order had not been complied with; that General Sibley was not with the command, but had taken a different road from that of the troops, and that the men were straggling without order over the whole line of march and adjacent country. I immediately dispatched a note to General Sibley, requiring his prompt obedience to the orders referred to, but not hearing from him at once I selected in person the camping ground and endeavored to collect the stragglers. Late in the evening General Sibley reported to me in person, stating that he was sick, and asking permission to go on the line of retreat in advance of the column, which request I granted.

Thus commenced the scattering and straggling of our troops and falling back to Vermillion Bridge. Nearly the whole of Lieutenant-Colonel Fournet's battalion, passing through the country in which the men had lived before joining the army, deserted with their arms, remaining at their homes. I was compelled to order the destruction of the gunboat Stevens below New Iberia; she was in charge of the Navy Department and under command of Lieutenant Humphreys, C. S. Navy. That officer reporting to me that she was in an unfinished condition and unfit for action with the enemy, there being no means of getting her out of reach of the enemy, I ordered her to be sunk as low down the bayou as possible, so that she would afford an obstruction to the enemy's boats ascending. This order was not carried out as given by me, but she was sunk abut 2 miles below New Iberia, when she might have been sunk 5 or 6 miles lower.

The retreat continued, halting only for the night until our arrival at Vermillion Bayou, the rear guard under Colonel Green keeping almost constantly within gunshot distance of the enemy's advance, skirmishing all the time and charging them frequently. As soon as the whole train and all our forces had crossed the bayou I had the bridges burned, and posting four pieces of artillery on the heights and sharpshooters along the upper banks, the troops and teams, which were much exhausted, were allowed to rest from Thursday afternoon until midday on Friday.