War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0073 Chapter XXXVIII. SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON, LA.

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office. The post commissary, Lieutenant Darling, hastily arranging a few boxes and barrels in form of a breastwork, and rallying some men, opened fire upon the enemy's rear and flank. By this time the One hundred and sixty-second New York, Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Blanchard commanding, had got under arms, and moved at double-quick through the trail from the commissary stores to the elbow of the levee. On arriving at the levee, the two detachments of the enemy above named, united as described, being at X [on sketch], the regiment was rapidly thrown forward into line, and opened fire upon them. They immediately retreated in some confusion toward old Springfield Landing. Lieutenant-Colonel Blanchard followed them as far as the point of woods, and then, replacing his captured picket, returned, and formed line behind the levee, his left resting on the road, and thus remained until evening. In this affair we lost 1 severely and 1 slightly wounded.

The third detachment went up the road to the hill, and took prisoners (afterward paroling) 4 of the picket at that place watching the approach from above. Two others of that picket are missing, and the remaining 9 escaped and came safely into camp. Where this detachment met the Second Rhode Island Cavalry, and what happened then, I cannot yet learn. By 11 o'clock all was quiet. Our losses were, in all, 5 wounded, 12 prisoners, and 3 missing, and a full supply of clothing, camp and garrison equipage for nearly 1,000 men burned. A negro is supposed to have been drowned. Two plantation wagons were broken, and a number of mules got loose in the stampede of teamsters. Colonel Blanchard furnished the following pickets: 5 men by day and 15 at night, under an officer, near the old house on the old Springfield Landing road; 15 men on top of the hill by day, 25 at night, watching the approach from above; 3 mounted men at night at old Springfield Landing.

I attribute the surprise entirely to the negligence of the picket in allowing itself to be taken without a shot by an enemy who could not approach within 100 yards without being in sight. The pickets were, in my opinion, well posted. With any show of fidelity on their part, the surprise must have failed. The regimental commander visited them at 11 p. m. and 4 a. m. the night before, and says they were attentive; certainly I found them so to-day. I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Blanchard to post a picket of 5 men near the old house, and a reserve of 10 men about 100 yards this side, at a slight bend in the road, and to connect them by two vedettes as well as by patrols. Two colored sentinels, very wide awake, are posted in the middle of the field, about 200 yards from the main road. While I was at the Landing this afternoon, at about 1.30, the contrabands, seeing Lieutenant Sayles with 20 men coming from the same direction as yesterday's raiders, raising a wild cry of "Rebels!" "The rebs in coming'!" rushed in a frantic, terror-stricken mass of men, women, and children, with loud cries, toward the river. At the bluff they were stopped by the bayonets of the Sixteenth New Hampshire, which formed with great promptitude behind the levee. The One hundred and sixty-second New York got under arms at once, came up at double-quick, and in about five minutes was in line at the road, but by this time the alarm was over. Two negroes rushed into the river and were drowned. This affords a pretty fair idea, I think, of the alarm of yesterday. I respectfully recommend--

1. That the ammunition boat Suffolk be anchored in the stream, either above or below the chute.

2. That all the officers north of the main road be removed to the south side, where they will not be cut off from the troops, as they were