War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0399 Chapter XXVII. OPERATIONS IN WEST LOUISIANA.

Search Civil War Official Records

our troops under the immediate command of Major-General Taylor, he leading the van, upon the enemy at early dawn, thereby arresting the advance of the whole force of the enemy, 8,000 to 10,000 strong, with not over 1,200 men, until our retreating forces had gotten far on the road leading to the Cypremort and beyond the reach of pursuit. The enemy were thus kept at bay until midday, when one of my staff officers, Major R. W. Sanders, assistant quartermaster, informed me that all our troops had retired and that the enemy were in Franklin. The enemy were in a position and threatened to cut off our retreat, but by means of a by-path I succeeded in eluding their pursuit and extricated the troops from a very perilous attitude, arising from information not having been given me in time of the arrival of our rear guard in Franklin, and saw every man file over a burning bridge in the rear of the village, myself and staff crossing when it was almost entirely consumed.

It would be a dereliction of duty were I to fail to mention hat I am greatly indebted to the invaluable services of Captain O. J. Semmes and the officers and men under his command, on board of the Diana, in retarding the enemy at this point. As ever, he proved himself na officer of high merit, and the duties confided to him could not have been intrusted to safer hands.

At about 2 p. m. I came up with Colonel Green, of Sibley's brigade, and assigned him to the command of the entire cavalry, while I collected and reorganized as rapidly as I could the shattered fragments of my own brigade. With such of them as I could unite I bivouacked on the plantation of Louis Gravemberg for the night, about 10 miles from New Iberia, and proceeded Wednesday, 15th, to that point. Here I received orders to assume command of the forces south of Red River, and in fulfillment of that duty I proceeded early Thursday morning toward the enemy, who were being held in check by Colonel Green with the cavalry and artillery under him.

From this time till Friday, 17th, 5 p. m., the enemy, by movements on their flanks, feints, charges, and maneuvers, were retarded in their progress to Vermillion Bridge, where, after retiring over the bayou and burning the bridge, heavy skirmishing and an artillery duel ensued, resulting in nothing of serious consequence, except to delay the enemy; thence to Opelousas, distance of 25 miles, the enemy, numbering form 18,000 to 20,000, were retarded till Monday, 20th, about 12 m., on which day I executed the flank movement ordered, concerning which I have already reported.

To the military knowledge, intrepidity, and undaunted bravery of Col. Thomas Green I am greatly indebted for the successful check of the advance of the enemy. From our entrenchments to Opelousas he brought up the rear, faced the enemy at every step, and exhibited energy, zeal, and courage unsurpassable by that of any officer in the service.

My most sincere thanks are due and gratefully tendered to the officers of my staff. Captain Louis Bush, my adjutant, displayed his usual coolness, energy, and devotedness to our cause. In the most perilous situations he communicated my orders fearlessly and rapidly; directed the movements confided to him with marked ability, and rendered me the most important services while combating the enemy and during the retreat.

Captain A. Schreiber, acting ordnance officer; Lieutenant D. Avery, acting aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant J. G. Olivier, volunteer aide-de-camp, did all that could be expected from men who, knowing their duty, act up fully to all its requirements. Amidst the warmest of the conflict, and