points were greater than mine, besides the advantage of position, and, in consequence, I would be compelled to cut my way to Berwick Bay, unless General Green cut toward me, I therefore refrained from attacking with my whole force the enemy at La Fourche Crossing, although I could certainly have demolished him, and the temptation was great to revenge the death of those gallant men who fell in Pyron's assault. I then gave the order to march on Brashear City. The movement began at nightfall. Making demonstrations of a night attack, and opening a heavy fire on their position with my artillery, I withdrew my force, and commenced marching at 9 p. m., moving all night.
I arrived at Chacahoula Station just before dawn on the 23d, and at the same instant heard with no little pleasure the cannonade at Brashear. I rested my command two horses, feeding the horses and men, and arrived at Bayou Boeuf at 4.20 p. m., having driven in the pickets of the enemy for 6 miles. I at once took possession of the east bank (the enemy being intrenched on the opposite bank), made a reconnaissance of his position, and began crossing at 2 a. m. on the 24th.
At daylight had Lane and Stone entirely surrounding the fort, while Phillips, Pyron, and the artillery were posted in front on the eastern bank. Just as I had arranged to open from my batteries, I discovered a white flag flying from a large house near the crossing, and, on sending to inquire the reason, was surprised to learn that the fort had surrendered to General Mouton, whose advance was 5 miles off on Bayou Ramos, a scouting party under General Green's intrepid scout, [Leander] McAnelly, being the only force of their command near, and to him the flags were delivered. The colonel (Federal), however, on my asking to what force he had surrendered, said to mine, supposing it to be a portion of Mouton's, who had made a previous demand for surrender, and, seeing McAnelly, had sent to him a white flag. I mention this merely to show that, although the flags were delivered to others, the surrender was in fact to my force, and the gallant General Green waived the honor of the capture to me.
The prisoners here captured were 275; four guns, ammunition, small-arms, commissary and quartermaster's stores, and about 3,000 negroes.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the gallant band who comprise the Second Cavalry Brigade, who, without murmur, shared in the trials and hardships incident to so extended and rapid a march through country occupied by the enemy, passing many sleepless nights and fasting days, subsisting through the entire march on one ration per day, and averaging but three hours of rest in every twenty-four.
To the citizens on the route I have to acknowledge many favors, who generously furnished the infantry with transportation until I mounted them upon animals captured from the plantations cultivated by the Federal authorities.
This command, composed of artillery, artillery, and cavalry, marched 176 miles in four day, an average of 44 miles per day. It moved in an orderly manner, never depredating on private property, and bore the hardships without a murmur. It is, however, with sorrow that I have to report the death of the noble men who fell in the charge under the gallant Colonel [C. L.] Pyron, at La Fourche, and under Colonel Phillips at Plaquemine, of which casualties I will make a detailed report.
To the members of my staff, Captains [Henry F.] Wade, jr., and [H. H.] Zacharie, I am indebted for a heavy co-operation throughout the trip; also to Lieutenant [J. A. A.] West, for his efficiency in his department. The services of Captain Ratliffe, volunteer aide, were invaluable, owing to his thorough knowledge of the country and indefatigable exertions.