ammunition or provisions, but from the exhaustion of his men, who had been without rest for more than six weeks, and who could not resist another attack. Though they might have held out a day or two longer, the attempt would have been at the expense of a useless effusion of blood.
During the investment and siege of Port Hudson, the enemy west of the Mississippi had been concentrating, and on June 18 one regiment of infantry and two of cavalry, under command of Colonel [J. P.] Major, captured and burned two of our small steamers at Plaquemine, taking 68 prisoners, mostly convalescents of the Twenty-eighth Maine Volunteers. The same force then passed down the river and Bayou La Fourche, avoiding Donaldsonville, and attacked our forces on the 20th at La Fourche Crossing, on the Opelousas Railway, cutting off communication between Brashear City and New Orleans. They were, however, finally repulsed, but renewed their attack on the 21st, which resulted in their again being repulsed, leaving 53 of their dead upon the field and 16 prisoners in our hands. Our loss ws 8 killed and 16 wounded.* Re-enforcements were sent from New Orleans, but the enemy did not renew the attack. Our forces were under command of Lieutenant Colonel Albert Stickney, Forty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers. Subsequently they fell back to Algiers.
Orders had been sent to Brashear City to remove all stores, and hold the position, with the aid of the gunboats, to the last; but the enemy succeeded in crossing Grand Lake by means of rafts, and surprised and captured the garrison June 22 , consisting of about 300 men, two 30-pounder Parrott guns, and six 24-pounder. The enemy, greatly increased in numbers, then attacked the works at Donaldsonville, on the Mississippi, which were defended by a garrison of 225 men, including convalescent, commanded by Major J. D. Bullen, Twenty-eight Maine Volunteers. The attack was made at 4.30 in the morning of June 28, and lasted until daylight. The garrison made a splendid defense, killing and wounding more than their own number, and capturing as many officers and nearly as many men as their garrison numbered. The enemy's troops were under command of General [Thomas] Green, of Texas, and consisted of the Louisiana troops, under General Taylor, and 5,000 Texas cavalry, making a force of 9,000 to 12,000 in all, in that vicinity. The troops engaged in these operations left but 400 men in New Orleans. The vigor and strength of the enemy in these several attacks show that, with the aid of the garrison at Port Hudson, New Orleans could not have been defended had my command been involved in the operations against Vicksburg.
Upon the surrender of Port Hudson, it was found that the enemy had established batteries below on the river, cutting off our communication with New Orleans, making it necessary to send a large force to dislodge them. The troops, exhausted by the labors of the long campaign, including nine-months' men and the regiment of colored troops, which had been organized during the campaign from the negroes of the country, did not number 10,000 effective men. It was impossible to drive the enemy from the river below, and leave troops enough at Port Hudson to maintain the position and guard between 6,000 and 7,000 prisoners. For these reasons, the privates were paroled and the officers sent to New Orleans.
On July 9, seven transports, containing all my available force, were sent below against the enemy in the vicinity of Donaldsonville. The
*But see report of Lieutenant-Colonel Stickney, p.192.