HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Thibodeaux, July 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. The reply of Brigadier-General Mouton, approving the views of General Green as to turning the fort, was not received by the latter officer until the attack had been made.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Camp on La Fourche, near Paincourtville, July 3, 1863.
MAJOR: In accordance with the order of General Mouton, commanding, of the 26th ultimo, dated at Thibodeaux, commanding me to take possession of the Federal fort at Donaldsonville, I took up the line of march from Thibodeaux about 8 o'clock at night, with [W. P.] Hardeman's [D. W.] Shannon's, and [P. T.] Herbert's regiments, of my brigade, and [W. P.] Lane's [B. W.] Stone's, and [Joseph] Phillips' regiments, of Colonel [James P.] Major's brigade, and [O. J.] Semmes' battery. After marching the entire night, I encamped within 9 miles of the fort about sunrise the next morning.
During the 27th, I rested our jaded troops and horses, getting all the information which could be procured in relation to the situation of the fort, its force, defenses, &c. I placed a pontoon bridge across the La Fourche, made of sugar-coolers, and crossed over Stone's regiment to take east of the bayou, and ordered him to advance toward Donaldsonville on that bank, and attract the attention of the enemy, and, if possible, to attack him on that side. With the balance of the command, I advanced during the night of the 27th to within 1 1/2 mils of the fort, where I dismounted the command. Having determined on the plan of attack, I called the officers commanding regiments together, and explained to them specifically the position each one was to occupy in the assault.
Major Shannon, of the Fifth Texas Mounted Volunteers, was to perform a circuit around the fort, reach the Mississippi 1 miles above, and advanced down the levee to the stockade of upright timbers set in the ground between the levee and the water's edge, and there make an entrance. Colonel hardeman, with the Fourth Texas Mounted Volunteers, was to move up the Bayou road along the levee of the La Fourche, and as soon as he heard the fire opened by Shannon, or a fire opened by the enemy, to assault the fort at the water's edge, along the stockade, and with Shannon assault the garrison within, hand to hand. Both Shannon and Hardeman were charged that they wee expected to take the fort, while Phillips, Lane, and Herbert, with their regiments, were to envelop the works, moving up around them to the brink of the ditch, shooting down the cannoneers and their supporters from the ramparts at a distance of only 16 or 18 feet.
After a full explanation to the commanding officers of regiments of the plan of attack, and furnishing Shannon and Hardeman with guides, and the head of the column of the three regiments which wee to envelop the fort, I moved Shannon and Hardeman forward. Waiting a short time for Major Shannon to perform the circuit around the fort to the Mississippi above, I moved to column which was to envelop the ditch, with Colonel Major at the head. Before this column had advanced to the place intended for it preparatory to the assault, Major Shannon, of the Fifth