No. 2. Report of Captain Gadi Herren, First Mississippi Cavalry.
CAMP RUGGLES, April 13, 1863.
COLONEL: In obedience to your orders, on Thursday, the 9th instant, I proceeded with my company (H), First Mississippi Cavalry, and Company C, Second Arkansas Cavalry, to the wreck of the gunboats in the mouth of the Amite River to remove the cannon and other valuables to a point where they could be transported to this place. I had great difficulty in getting a schooner into the lake, owing to the fierce gale blowing from the south. I succeeded, however, after two days' hard labor, in sailing out and getting the cannon above water on board. I found the tide very high, covering the whole wreck with 2 feet water. This cannon and a little iron was all I could procure at this stage of the water. I took on board the schooner with me Lieutenant Allen and 20 men. I sent the remainder of my force to camp by land, under Lieutenant Elliot. I sailed for the Tickfaw at 10 o'clock a. m. Sunday, the 12th instant. I had light wind for some time and traveled very slowly until getting out 2 miles form land, when the breeze suddenly charged and blew from the north, driving me off in the direction of the South Pass. At this time I discovered smoke from a boat coming up the Pass. She came up to the lake and halted, evidently watching my movements. She remained in this position some half hour and then dropped down the Pass again. I could at the same time distinctly see smoke arising from three or four other boats farther down and beyond the first one. By this time I had gotten the schooner into the mouth of the river, and feeling confident I had been discovered and would be pursued I directed Lieutenant Allen to take charge of the schooner and move up as fats as possible. I then took a small boat and went back to the lake to watch any movement from that direction. I soon discovered a small craft making out of the Pass direct for me I immediately hastened back to the schooner and landed two-thirds of my force on the east bank of the river, placing them in ambush in the tall grass on the river bank. I then directed Lieutenant Allen to conceal his men on the schooner and bear in to the west shore. By this time the enemy came in sight, but to my surprise and mortification they passed close to the opposite shore, compelling me to fire at them over 200 yards. They were so near the land they succeeded in getting out of their boats. I then directed Lieutenant Allen to move rapidly with his force on the west bank and cut off their retreat. He obeyed this order promptly, and after chasing them some distance captured their whole party. I killed 1 and took 8 prisoners; among the prisoners are two lieutenant. I also captured a large yawl, capable of carrying 35 men, and one small boat. My loss, nothing. I could still see the smoke in the Pass, moving in the direction of the lake. I was satisfied they were after me and that it would be impossible to tow the schooner up the river (the wind being against us) in time to escape them. I therefore determined, in order to save my command from capture, to throw the cannon overboard and leave the schooner, which I did 1 mile inside the mouth of the river.
I cannot close this report without calling special attention to the cool and determined courage of every officer and man under my command in this engagement. There was no landing behind; every man
26 R R - VOL XV