War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0218 W. FLA., S. ALA., S MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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attack on them would have given our locality, which I was anxious to conceal, I allowed them to pass unmolested.

At Bayou Goula took commissary and quartermaster's stores; destroyed Federal plantations; recaptured over 1,000 negroes, stolen by Banks from planters living in Saint Landry and Rapides Parishes; found them starving and in great destitution; kept the men, and left women and children. Heard that a Federal force was intrenched in strong works at Donaldsonville, and conceiving that if I took the place it would be at a great sacrifice of life, and unable to hold it against the gunboats, and believing I could operate to better advantage on the river below in cutting off Banks' supplies from New Orleans, I made a feint on the fort, and at dark sent a portion of Lane's and Phillips' regiments, under Colonel [W. P.] Lane, through the swamp direct to Thibodeaux, with instructions to take the place, possession of the railroad, and cut the telegraph wires.

At midnight I withdrew the remaining force, and moved for Thibodeaux; found that the Cut-off road had been blockaded by Federals, and pronounced entirely impracticable for artillery. Sent a party of negroes with a guard, under Lieutenant [J. A. A.] West, of [O. J.] Semmes' battery, to open it, and by 10 o'clock on the 20th passed by entire column through. I moved on to the La Fourche, striking it 6 miles below Donaldsonville. Here made another feint on the fort, and at night moved down the La Fourche. At Paincourtville received a dispatch from Colonel Lane, stating he had captured the town, taking 140 prisoners and a large amount of stores, also a small force at Terre Bonne Station, and that there was a force in strong position, with artillery, at La Fourche Crossing. I pushed on, and arrived at Thibodeaux at 3.30 a. m. on the 21st. Pickets reported re-enforcements from New Orleans during the night, and at sun-up reported the enemy advancing. I posted Pyron's regiment, West's battery, and two squadrons cavalry on the east bank La Fourche, and moved them down toward the railroad bridge. Lane, [B. W.] Stone, and Phillips were posted at Terre Bonne Station, and they were moved forward to La Fourche Crossing. The enemy fell back, and my pursuit was checked by one of the heaviest rains I ever saw fall. I rained until 5 p. m., and having only 30 rounds of ammunition to the man when I started, and not over 100 cartridge-boxes in the entire command, my ammunition was nearly all ruined, and I found myself with an enemy in front, rear, and on the flank, with only 3 rounds of ammunition to the man. I directed pyron, as soon as it stopped raining, to strengthen his picket and feel the enemy, find his position, and test his picket, driving the enemy into his stronghold, and then charged his works, taking 4 guns, and causing a great many of the federals to surrender. But night had come on; it was very dark, the ammunition nearly all gone, and just at that moment a train with about 300 fresh men arrived from New Orleans, and Pyron was forced to retire from a position won by a daring assault, unequaled, I think, in this war. Had I known his intention to assault the works, I could have sent him such re-enforcements as would have insured success. Pyron's strength in the attack was 206. The enemy's force, reported by themselves, was over 1,000.

The next day (22d) it rained again, and finding it impossible to dry my ammunition, and not hearing anything from our forces at Berwick Bay; knowing that I had only one avenue by which to connect with General Green's brigade, and that the enemy were intrenched on the route at Bayou Boeuf and at Brashear City; that their forces at those