War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0495 Chapter XXXVI. MILLIKEN'S BEND TO NEW CARTHAGE, La.

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March 30, 1863.

Brigadier General PETER J. OSTERHAUS,


GENERAL: You will order one regiment, armed and equipped, with 40 rounds of ammunition in their cartridge-boxes, an ammunition wagon laden with suitable ammunition, their camp and garrison equipage, and four days' prepared rations, to report opposite these headquarters by 8 a. m. to-morrow for further orders. I would suggest that the Sixty-NINTH Indiana, Colonel Bennett, be detached for the service contemplated.

By order of Major General John A. McClernand:


Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.


Milliken's Bend, March 30, 1863.

Colonel BENNETT,

Commanding Sixty-NINTH Indiana Volunteers:

COLONEL: Besides your own regiment, you will have command of detachments of cavalry and pioneers for the purpose of the important expedition with which you are charged. The main purpose of the expedition is to open a practicable communication for our forces via Richmond, La., between this camp and New Carthage. Of course, the shortest route, whether by land or water, all other things being equal, would be preferable. It is certain that there is a navigable communication between Richmond and New Carthage by Roundaway and Vidal Bayous, and it is also believed that there is a road along the bank of Roundaway Bayou almost the whole distance. That route which you can make available for the passage of troops and trains with the least labor and in the shortest time, you will select, and make available at the earliest practicable moment. The detachment of pioneers, as already mentioned, will be at your command for that purpose, and Lieutenant [William R.] McComas, aide-de-camp and engineer, on my staff, will give you any assistance in his power.

If a practicable route be found, you will not only consider it with reference to passage, but also with reference to its capability of defense, and for this purpose you will select and report suitable sites for posts or garrisons along it. If no practicable route can be found, you will immediately report that fact.

Starting to-morrow, you will march to Richmond, and, upon personal examination, you will decide, in view of military considerations, whether you will encamp on this or the other side of Roundaway Bayou. Upon reaching the bayou at Richmond, it may be found expedient to cross the cavalry first, and send it forward rapidly, under orders to scour the country around Richmond as far as water will permit, for the purpose of capturing hostile parties, preventing the destruction of cotton and other property, verifying the names and political antecedents of its owners, and bringing in beef-cattle. All cotton abandoned by its owners or forfeited by treasonable acts, may be brought in and condemned by a provost-marshal for the use of the United States, in which case the particular lot of cotton and the facts relating to it will be reported to these headquarters.