At daylight I sent in a flag of truce, asking permission to pick up our wounded and bury our dead, which was refused, as I expected. My object in sending a flag so early was to get away a great number of our men who had found a little shelter near the enemy's works, and who would have been inevitably taken prisoners. I must have saved 100 men by instructing my flag of truce officer as he approached the fort to order our troops still there away.
We mourn the fall of many of our bravest and best officers and men. Among the former are Major Shannon, Captain [D. H.] Ragsdale, Lieutenants [James A.] Darby and [James F.] Cole, of the Fifth; Major [Alonzo] Ridley, of Phillips' regiment, and Lieutenant [N. D.] Cartwrights, of the Fourth, and others.
The fort was much stronger than it was represented to be, or than we expected to find it. Had it fallen into our hands, I am satisfied, with a little work on it, we would have held it against all the gunboats below Port Hudson. It capture and occupation would doubtless have caused great uneasiness and inconvenience to the Federal army besieging that fortress. In this view, much risk was justified in its attempted capture.
I cannot say too much in commendation of the officers and men who were engaged in this assault. Colonel Major, commanding the Second Cavalry Brigade, led the head of the column enveloping the fort, carrying his men to the ditch amid a storm of shot and shell in the most dauntless manner, where he was himself wounded.
The conduct of the lamented Shannon and his officers, Colonel Phillips and his officers, and Colonel Herbert and his officers, and, in fact all the officers whose conduct came under my observation, is above all praise.
My own staff came fully up to my expectations. Captain C. B. Shepard, my aide-de-camp, and my volunteer aides, W. F. Wilkins and Leander McAnelly, rendered me good service, and behaved themselves, as they had on many former occasions done, with coolness and courage.
I herewith submit a list of casualties. Full reports, showing the killed, wounded, and missing, are inclosed.
Major LOUIS BUSH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Thibodeaux.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Thibodeaux, July 6, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded. Personal observation satisfies me that if the guide of [W. P.] Hardeman's regiment had not failed to conduct it to the fort, its capture would have been accomplished. No engagement during this war has illustrated more signally the desperate valor of Confederate troops than the attack on this position.
Although the attack may have been in some respects an unwise one, I am not disposed to attach the slightest censure to so gallant a soldier as General Green, whose disposition it is to attack the enemy wherever he finds him.