War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0323 Chapter XXXVIII. ACTION AT STIRLING'S PLANTATION, LA.

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To which the following was made:


September 29, 1863-7.30 p. m.

Captain W. B. RATLIFF,

Commanding Post at Bayou Fordoche:

Your dispatch band flag of truce, addressed to Major-General Herron, is this moment received, and I am instructed by Major-General Dana, who now commands the United States forces here, to reply that, for the reasons stated, he accepts the proposition of Brigadier-General Green for a suspension of hostilities for twenty-four hours, the time to commence at daylight to-morrow morning, and he will immediately send out some surgeons and medical supplies, with such vehicles as can be procured to bring in the wounded, and will also send out a burial party at daylight.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

From the information gathered, it now appears that rebel Brigadier-General Green with his own and Colonel Major's brigade of cavalry (dismounted), and with General Mounton's and Colonel Speight's brigade of infantry (Semmes') and probably two batteries of artillery, crossed the Atchafalaya at Morganza Ferry during the afternoon and night of the 28th. Their effective force is variously stated at from 3,500 to 7,000 men, and from six to twelve guns. They took different roads and by-paths, and at about 1 p. m. yesterday attacked our advance on all sides, and, after a gallant resistance, finally overpowered and broke it up, and captured most of the infantry force and the section of artillery with it.

In fairness to Lieutenant-Colonel Leake, who is wounded and a prisoner in the hands of the rebels, I refrain from passing judgment on him in the harsh terms in which this surprise would appear to make it my duty to do. Bearing heretofore a high reputation as an officer and a gentleman, and selected by a discriminating commander from a knowledge of his qualities to fulfill his delicate task, it is to be sincerely hoped that an investigation will, on his return, place him in a satisfactory light. Of one thing I feel sure-that, after being surprised, they fought as officers and men gallantly, and even after all hope was gone they broke into squads, and endeavored singly to make their escape, in which many succeeded. They sustained the high reputation of veteran soldiers.

We have captured 1 lieutenant-colonel and 9 prisoners. Our loss is, commissioned officers, 2 killed and 4 wounded; enlisted men, 12 killed and 29 wounded; total, 47.*

It is impossible to obtain a correct statement of the number taken prisoners, as stragglers are coming in every hour, and having laid out all night in the rain and without food since yesterday morning, they scatter themselves among the camps for food and rest, and do not report. At present there are about 500 men and officers missing. This will, however, in my opinion, be much diminished by stragglers coming in, and as others who are already in report themselves. A correct list of killed and wounded accompanies this report, and a list of prisoners will be sent as soon as possible.

Very respectfully,

N. J. T. DANA,


Lieutenant Colonel WALTER B. SCATES,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Thirteenth Army Corps.


*But see revised statement, p. 325.