War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0183 Chapter XXXVIII. ATTACK ON STEAMER LOUISIANA BELLE.

Search Civil War Official Records



Assumption Church, on La Fourche, July 5, 1863.

To any Confederate Officer commanding on the east of the Mississippi.

I send my young volunteer aide-de-camp, Leander McAnelly, of the Fifth Texas Cavalry, to communicate with any Confederate force on the east of the Mississippi.

We have a sufficient force on this side, of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, to hold it against any force the Yankees can bring against us. If a force on the east, below Donaldsonville, could hold their own on the river, we can stop the supplies to Banks' army, and force him to raise the siege of Port Hudson. We will, I am confident, be able to whip his army in the open field should he move on this side.

McAnelly will give you full details.


Brigadier-General, Commanding First Cavalry Brigade.

MAY 22, 1863.-Steamer Louisiana Belle attacked near Barre's Landing, Bayou Teche, La.

Report of Captain George S. Merrill, Fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

BRASHERAR CITY, May 23, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report concerning the recent guerrilla attack upon a detachment of this regiment:

On Wednesday, the 20th instant, by orders from headquarters, I was directed to report with 50 members of my company (B) to Colonel Chandler, assistant quartermaster, on board steamer Louisiana Belle. My subsequent orders from Colonel Chandler were to proceed with the steamer, principally as a guard against guerrilla attacks while taking freight. We reached Washington about sunset on the 21st, and, after stationing a guard, commenced loading with cotton. Our forces had been entirely withdrawn from the town, and the inhabitants, in our limited intercourse, received us with evident lack of friendship. At 10 p. m., from reports brought in by some of my guards of suspicious movements, and after a personal investigation, I became fearful of a night attack by a band of guerrillas, and thereupon doubled the number of my sentries, and adopted other extra precautions to guard against the apprehended surprise. The night passed quietly, our freight being stowed by midnight.

At 6 a.m . on the 22nd we started down by bayou. When about 1 mile above Barre's Landing, I observed 3 horsemen some distance in advance (on the left bank, coming down), leisurely riding along the road. They were well mounted, and carried arms, blankets, and canteens. No sooner did the steamer come within their sight than they put spurs to their horses and galloped out of our view, in the direction of Barre's Landing. While passing this point, a citizen came toward the bank and warned us against a band of guerrillas, who, he stated, were located just below. I immediately ordered my men to put on their full equipments, and hold themselves in readiness to repel any attack should we be molested. A mile and a quarter, I judge, from the Landing had been passed without indications of any foe, and my men, without, however, removing equipments or putting aside arms, were on the