HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Morganza, October 2, 1863.
COLONEL: I reported to you in my dispatch of the 29th ultimo the particulars of the affair at Bayou Fordoche, where a detachment composed of portions of the Nineteenth Iowa and Twenty-sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry and a section of artillery were surprised and cut up by four brigades of the enemy.
the suspension of hostilities, which, at the solicitation of the rebel commander, I consented to, to enable me to bring in my wounded, expired at daylight yesterday morning. The night of the 29th and the day of the 30th were spent in bringing in our dead and wounded. The former were buried here yesterday, and the latter will be sent to New Orleans by the first boat.
At daylight yesterday morning, I sent out the cavalry force, supported by the Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, all under command of Colonel Black, of that regiment, with orders to push a reconnaissance as much beyond the battle-field as prudence would allow, to push back the pickets of the enemy, to gather whatever information he could, and to make efforts to capture some prisoners, and bring in any public property which the enemy might have been unable to carry off.
The work was well done, and it is believed, though not positively ascertained, that the enemy's force has recrossed the Atchafalaya, with the exception of about 400 or 500 men.
At a distance of 3 miles from here, the detachment was met by a flag, with a demand for a suspension of hostilities, to enable the rebel commander to care for his wounded.
This I refused, and the reconnaissance was pushed forward between 8 and 9 miles, some distance beyond the battle-field. Nineteenth rebels badly wounded were found in a building near the field. One of our caissons was found destroyed by all the spokes being cut, but we brought in a limber and some muskets and ammunition.
The detachment in returning was located, by my order, 2 1/2 miles from here, with the cavalry half a mile in the front. The recent rain has supplied water.
In the afternoon yesterday I sent out an officer of my staff with about 20 mounted men to reconnoiter the road from here to New Texas Landing, and the direct road from there to Bayou La Tenache. he found the enemy's pickets about 3 1/2 miles out that road, about 5 miles from here.
I have directed a portion of the cavalry to drive them back to-day and ascertain if there is anything behind them. My effective cavalry force is reduced to less than 100, and the country here is so difficult to patrol and affords so much cover that it would require five times that number to keep it properly reconnoitered, considering the perfect knowledge our enemy has of it.
I am satisfied that the enemy met with severe punishment in the affair of Fordoche. His loss was not less than 30 killed and 70 wounded, and some of the rebels at the field hospital placed the number as high as 50 killed and 80 wounded.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. J. T. DANA,
Lieutenant Colonel WALTER B. SCATES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Thirteenth Army Corps.