War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0195 Chapter XXXVIII. OPERATIONS IN LA., WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

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son I had building fired on the other side of the bayou, anticipating that the Confederate might come down on that side and attempt to cross the railroad bridge.

Up to this time, Saturday evening, June 20, our forces amounted to about 502 men, as follows: 195 of the Twenty-third Connecticut; 154 of the One hundred and seventy-sixth New York; 46 of the Forty-second Massachusetts; 37 of the Twenty-sixth Maine; 50 men in Captain Blober's cavalry, and about 20 artillerists, mostly of the Twenty-first Indiana.

The men were kept under arms, at their several posts, ready to repel an attack at any moment. Pickets were thrown out on the front to a distance of about 400 yards, and squads of cavalry scouted on our right and rear.

About 11 p. m. of the 20th, Lieutenant-Colonel Sawtell, of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts, arrived with five companies (306 men). As he was the senior officers, I offered him the command, which he refused. I then ordered his regiment into line on the front, to relieve the men posted there. During that night no demonstration were made by the enemy.

On the following morning, Captain Grow, of the Twenty-fifth New York Battery, reached La Fourche Crossing, with one section of his battery, about 30 men, one gun of which I ordered into possession on the extreme left of our front on the Bayou road, and the other within our lines, so that it could be moved to our front or right flank as occasion should require. We had begun throwing up slight earthworks, but they were at no point over 2 feet in height, and extended only a few yards in either direction from the angle formed by our two fronts. At different times during the morning reconnoitering cavalry of the enemy appeared in or front and at some distance on the right, but only came within fire of our outposts.

A little after noon, a heavy rain commenced and continued until about 6.30 p. m., thoroughly drenching the men, who were in line a greater part of the time. This was necessary, as I could not depend upon their falling into position with sufficient alacrity at the least warning.

About 4 p. m. the infantry and cavalry of the enemy, about 150 strong, engaged our outposts and pickets, but made no attempt to advance on our main force. An intermittent fire was kept up for an hour and a half, when the enemy retired, and our pickets again resumed their places.

At 6.30 p. m. the Confederates again came in view, and this time in large force. Our position was much the same as on the previous night, except that two companies of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts were on our front, two on our right flank, and the remaining one protecting the field piece on the bridge. The artillery was all posted as before described. The enemy advanced rapidly, and soon compelled the pickets to fall back on the main line, which they reached in rather a straggling condition at our left wing.

Just about dusk the enemy opened upon us with one field piece (which appeared to be a 12-pounder howitzer), throwing shell and solid shot, when I ordered the reserve piece of the Twenty-fifth New York Battery to take such a position on the right as would enable them to reply to this piece. The howitzer of the enemy soon ceased firing, whether compelled by the shots of our piece or the bad quality of their ammunition I am unable to say. Prisoners subsequently stated that they had other guns in position, which the rain prevented their using. All this time our artillery had been constantly firing, using shell for the most part; but the infantry did not, as yet, reply to the straggling bullets which