Expecting an attack at daylight on the morning of the 13th, I had my whole force under arms at 3 a. m. About 4.30 o'clock they advanced in considerable force, compelling my pickets to retire a short distance. I immediately re-enforced them, and ordered the section in rear to the front, placing it in advance of the position occupied by the One hundred and seventy-fourth New York Volunteers during the night. The section in the road was thrown forward, and placed in an angle of the levee, supported by the One hundred and seventy-fourth Regiment.
Finding that the enemy were trying to flank me on the right; that they had considerable force on the left of the bayou; that they had thrown several hundred sharpshooters into the tall cornfield immediately in front, and by their rapid firing they developed a superior force of artillery, I deemed it prudent to request of the commanding general re-enforcements, which very promptly brought up Colonel Paine's brigade, and First Maine Battery, under command of First Lieutenant Haley. Withdrawing the section of Sixth Massachusetts Battery, I replaced it by the rifles of the First Maine, transferring the former to a position alongside of the other section of the same battery to the right.
The fire from the enemy at this time had partially slackened, and I directed Lieutenant Haley to advance a second section about 300 yards to another angle in the levee. This effectually silenced the enemy's fire for over two hours and a half. Colonel Paine's infantry was up to this time held in reserve some distance in the rear.
During the forenoon, I had communications with Colonel Morgan, who assured me that one of his regiments occupied the first sugar-house on his front; that his pickets were half-way between it and another sugar-house nearly half a mile nearer the enemy's pickets.
About 1.30 p. m. the enemy commenced a rapid cannonade at several points, followed up almost instantly by a warm musketry fire from corn-fields in the front, down the Bayou road, and from cornfield in the front, down the Bayou road, and from the left side of the bayou, from behind the levee. Lieutenant Haley nobly fought his two advanced pieces until ordered to retire, which movement he successfully executed under a cross-fire from three different points. The other section was no so fortunate; only one piece was brought off, notwithstanding every effort was made on the part of the supports to save it, as the casualties in a space of 20 yards around the piece give sufficient proof; 16 dead belonging to the Thirtieth Massachusetts and the One hundred and seventy-fourth New York Volunteers, and some 20 wounded, with 8 horses killed, were found in the evening by our flag of truce. Most gallantly did Major Keating, of the One hundred and seventy-fourth New York, and his two companies, aided by Captain Fiske, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts, and his company, vainly strive to retrieve this gun.
The fire that caused this sacrifice came principally from the south side of the bayou, and nearly opposite the battery, where it was expected our own troops were stationed. At this crisis, I moved Colonel Harrower's regiment, the One hundred and sixty-first New York Volunteers, to the front, in order to cover the withdrawal of the three pieces of the Sixth Massachusetts Battery, which I ordered to be taken to the rear by detail. This regiment I specially attached, as it covered my rear in falling back to take up a new position, which I had decided to do. I would like to refer specially to the cool and determined manner in which this regiment, under its brave colonel, retraced its steps, but where all behaved so admirably, I cannot for fear of injustice particularize.
Previous to making these preparations to fall back on a line just in