NOVEMBER 21-22, 1862.-Affairs at Petite Anse Island, La.
Report of Captain T. A. Faries, Louisiana Artillery.
QUARTERS FARIES' BATTERY, P. L. A.,
Camp Bisland, Bayou Teche, November 26, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to orders, the right and left sections of this battery, viz, two 3-inch rifles and two 12-pounder bronze field howitzers, were put on the steam transport Hart about 1 a.m. on the 19th November, instant, to proceed to Petite Anse Island, on Vermillion Bay, via Bayou Teche (three caissons being sent by land). The steamer, with the four pieces, reached New Iberia the same day, and the command bivouacked at night 9 miles beyond that point, near the end of the causeway connecting the mainland, or prairie, with the island. This causeway was built through a sea marsh, subject to tidal action; the road over it had become impassable from the action of frequent rains on the soft soil.
On the 20th instant, after much trouble and delay, succeeded in crossing to the island by removing the six-horse teams in each carriage and subsisting oxen in their stead. On the same day the left or howitzer, under Second Lieutenant Oscar Gaudet, took position on the outskirts of a narrow strip of woods on the sea front of the island, bordering the sea marsh which surrounds the island. A small bayou runs through the marsh from the island to the bay, distance some 1 1/2 miles. Two gunboats of the enemy could be seen in the mouth of this bayou, but beyond the range of the howitzers, posted within range of their heavy guns.
On Friday, the 21st instant, the enemy having landed, by means of boats, a small body of men, five spherical case were fired as they approached Lieutenant Gaudet's position, which caused them to disperse and retire hastily to their boats, dragging with them a number of dead or wounded men.
The right section, two 3-inch rifles (iron), from their position on an elevated part of the island, opened fire, on the 22nd instant, upon the gunboats of the enemy, distant about 1 1/2 miles. After firing thirty-three shot and shell, and finding that only a few reached the gunboats, ceased firing and moved the section below the hill. Immediately after, a shell from one of the gunboats struck the ground just where Lieutenant Winchester, the chief of the section, had been posted.
The two sections remained at Petite Anse Island until Monday, 24th instant, at 5.30 a.m., when orders were received to return to this post. Marching some 10 miles to New Iberia, the two sections were placed on the steamers Darby and Hart, and reached here at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 25th instant, in good order (excepting the breaking of one pole and two sponge staffs), considering the very scant subsistence furnished the men and horses.
The cartridges furnished by the Ordnance Department from the arsenal at New Iberia, for the 3-inch rifles, proved to be filled with very inferior powder, and unfit for use. This, I trust, will account for the absence of effective execution by these two guns.
I inclose herewith a detailed report of First Lieutenant B. F. Winchester, the senior officer command the two sections.*
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. A. FARIES,
Captain, Commanding Battery.
Captain R. C. BOND, Chief of Artillery.
* Not found.