ground they formed upon the day you entered Opelousas. They were driven away, and took refuge in the woods. Maneuvering for a long time to draw them out, we failed to do so, and finally commenced to fall back. They then swung round, and formed a line in the prairie on our left, and charged down, about 1,500 strong.
Twice they attempted a charge, and as often the plain was swept by our artillery, and they retired, and finally, about 3 p. m., withdrew altogether. I think their move to-day was to endeavor to develop our strength.
I directed as little to be exposed to view as possible. After they made their last and most formidable display, I ordered a part of the troops here up, but they had only moved a mile or two when it became apparent that they would not be wanted, and they returned to camp. I shall expect fighting every day that I remain here and probably we may have to meet their entire force if we stay long enough for them to concentrate it. I do not apprehend that we shall need any help, though I wish we had more cavalry.
Should you send out to the Mermenton, would it not be advisable to send a good force! They, no doubt, think that we are covering a move in that direction, and as soon as they know that troops are going that way, they, very likely, will dispatch the force now in our front across by the direct road from Opelousas to the Mermenton Crossing, and if our force there should be small, they might be handled roughly.
If you do not make that move, but will send here Colonel Mudd and his cavalry, Colonel Lucas with his mounted infantry, and any other cavalry you can scare up, we will make a strong effort to capture some of their force before we leave here.
I had a captain of the Twenty- fourth Iowa Infantry shot to-day under circumstances of great atrocity. He supposed them to be our soldiers, and rode alone toward them, and the parties were seen to salute each other as he came near them, and the first knowledge he had that he was approaching enemies was given by a rifle- ball through his heart. They robbed him of his clothing, watch, and pistol, and fled.
I presume the enemy has come back to his old camp this side of Opelousas. There is little chance to catch any of his men, unless we can get in his rear. If I had 2,000 cavalry, I believe that I could make a move at night that would entrap some of them, but, knowing the country as they do, and with fleet horses, the chance is not the best.
C. C. WASHBURN,
Major- General FRANKLIN, Commanding Forces in the Field.
HDQRS. DETACHMENT THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Vermillion Bridge, November 7, 1863.
MAJOR: I inclose herewith report of Brigadier- General Burbridge in regard to the battle of Grand Coteau on the 3rd instant; also of Lieutenant- Colonel Robinson, commanding Second Louisiana Cavalry, and statements of Captain Sims, Sixty- seventh Indiana, and Lieutenant Gorman, First Louisiana Cavalry,* who were wounded and taken
*Statements of Sims and Gorman not found.