At Vermillion Crossing sharp skirmishing was kept up and no demonstration of importance was made by the enemy while our forces were encamped at the bayou. The retreat was recommenced on Friday, and on Sunday our forces and train left Washington, the troops and commissary, medical, and ordnance wagons proceeding up the Bayou road by Moundville, and the quartermaster train moving by way of Ville Platte and Chicot to the Bayou Boeuff, the two trains uniting on the Boeuff about 16 miles below Chenyville.
After crossing at Moundville I had the bridges across the Bayous Boeuff and Cocodrie at that place, the bridge over the Cocodrie at Judge Moore's plantation, and that known as La Fleur's, about 20 miles above Washington, burned. Colonel Green, with his rear guard, effectually covered the retreat, and continued his skirmishing with the enemy until near the town of Opelousas, enabling us to move across the Boeuff, and beyond danger of capture, an extensive train. On Monday morning I started the whole cavalry force of my command, except Waller's battalion on the open prairie, where from the nature of the country and its adaptation to cavalry movements it can harass the enemy on his flank and rear, attack his trains, and if not successful in preventing his farther advance into the interior of the State, will render it so slow and cautions as to give us time for making such dispositions of our forces as will be of great benefit to us.
The remainder of the forces are now encamped at Lecompte, the terminus of the Alexandria Railroad, at which place the wagons are also, with all the stores, except such as have been brought to Alexandria.
The loss sustained by us in killed, wounded, and prisoners captured in battle I cannot at present estimate. The number of prisoners actually captured by the enemy was small. I regret, however, to report that a very considerable number have voluntarily placed themselves within reach of the enemy by stopping at their houses in the parishes through which we retreated, a very large proportion of our army being composed of conscripts, unwillingly put into service, and those who volunteered at a late date to avoid conscription. From Sibley's brigade also a very considerable number have straggled off and returned to their homes in Texas. This was the case with all the regiments and the constant fighting on the retreat behaved with distinguished gallantry, it is to be regretted that a great lack of discipline pervades the brigade, which it its to be hoped will be corrected and the excellent material rendered of more efficient service to our cause.
In all our engagements with the enemy and during the fighting on the retreat, running through ten days, the conduct of officers and troops who participated therein cannot be too highly extolled. Their patient endurance of fatigue and privation, pertinacious and successful resistance ot the pursuing columns of the enemy are worthy of great commendation.
Brigadier-General Morton, commanding the troops on the left of our line below Bethel's, and to whom I assigned the command of the troops at McKerall's field after their repulse, behaved with marked gallantry, and I take pleasure in bearing testimony to his skill, fidelity, and courage in every position in which he was placed. Colonel Green, commanding the rear guard, distinguished himself by the faithful and successful manner in which he discharged the important duties instructed to him. To his zeal, vigilance, and daring the extrication of our little army from