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bullets of our sharp-shooters. IIis prisoners captured in the Port (the sick and wounded inclusive) were 6,408, of whom 455 were officers; while his own force that day was less than 10,000 men. His captures, during the campaign so gloriously terminated, he states at 10,584 men, 73 guns, 6,000 small arms, beside 3
gunboats, 8 other steamboats, and cotton, cattle, &c., &c., to an immense value.
Gen. Banks's sudden withdrawal from Alexandria and the Red river, and the employment of nearly all his disposable force in the siege of Port IIudson, necessarily proffered opportunities which Dick Taylor was on the alert to improve. Collecting in Upper Louisiana a force of some thousands, including several regiments, mainly of cavalry, from Texas, he, early in June, rêoccupied Alexandria and Opelousas; moving thence rapidly down the Atchafalaya, as if making directly for New Orleans. His approach appeared to have been made known to our officers at the front only by vague rumors, often circulated on purpose to mislead; but our advanced posts were drawn back across the Atchafalaya to Brashear; Berwick, just across the bayou, having been needlessly, therefore culpably, bombarded and ultimately burned" by a Mr. Ryder, in command of our only gunboat in the bayou. There was abundance of fuss and aimless activity, but no real preparation at Brashear, whither Lt.Col. Stickney had been recently sent over by Gen. Emory, at New Orleans, to take command: there were no intrenchments, though thousands of
willing contrabands were there to dig them; no mustering and drilling of the hundreds of idle convalescents in the hospital camps, awaiting orders to rejoin their regiments; and when at length word came that the Rebels had struck our line of communication and supply at Lafourche, well toward New Orleans, Stickney hurried down, with most of his effectives, to its defense. The enemy easily swept over Thibodeaux, Terre Bonne, and Bayou Boeuf, capturing our few men stationed at each post; while a cooperating force, under Gens. Mouton and Green, suddenly appeared" amid the ruins of Berwick, threatening Brashear, which was held by a sick Colonel and a motley garrison, without organization or discipline; who had hardly begun to fight when a charge was made on their rear by Major IIunter, with 325 Texans, who had crossed the bayou in row-boats during the preceding night, and, working their way through swamps which were on our side supposed impassable, were ready to rush in at the opportune moment, while Col. Majors, from the direction of Lafourche, barred all egress to or röenforcement from our rear. Fort Buchanan, mounting ten heavy guns, was formidable in front or toward the bayou only: it could not fire a shot eastward; and, in a few minutes, it was stormed and carried by the ragged Texans, who had easily disposed of the infantry mob behind it. Ryder, with his gunboat, made all haste to run away; affording a fresh proof that Vandals are almost always cowards. It was still early morning when Taylor, Mouton, and Green, as well as Hunter, were in Brashear, which we had shamefully lost, with nearly 1,000 prisoners, a strong fort, 10 heavy guns, many small arms, and tents, equipments, supplies, valued by the enemy at $6,000,000, and possibly worth to us $2,000,000. Thousands of negroes, liberated by Banks's triumphant advance to Alexandria, were reduced by this and our kindred reverses to a harsher slavery than that from which they had so recently been delivered. The road to New Orleans “–at least, to Algiers, its western suburb— was now open ; for Lafourche had been evacuated by Stickney after a gallant defense by the 47th Massachusetts, in which they had repulsed two assaults; but Taylor was too weak to make the great venture. If he had, as is asserted, but 4,000 men at Brashear and between it and Lafourche, he could not have assailed New Orleans with more than double that number at most; and, so long as Farragut held the mastery of the river, this was not enough even to compel Banks to raise the siege of Port IIudson.” Moving north instead of east, Taylor's van, under Green, menaced Donaldsonville, while a small force of Texans, raiding into Plaquemine, burned two steamboats lying there, and took 68 convalescents prisoners; but were soon shelled out by the gunboat Winona. Green next attempted" to carry
* June 19. vol. II.-22
*7 June 22.
Donaldsonville by assault; but Farragut had been seasonably apprised of his intention, and had sent thither the Princess Royal, Kineo, and Winona; which, cóoperating with the little garrison (225) of the 28th Maine, Maj. Bullen, tore the assaulting column with their shells, and soon put the Rebels to flight, with a loss of 200 killed and wounded, and 124 prisoners. Among their killed was Col. Phillips. Pollard reports another fight,” six miles from Donaldsonville, between' 1,200 Texans, under Green, and “the enemy, over 4,000 strong;” wherein we were beaten, with a loss of 500 killed and wounded, 300 prisoners, 3 guns, many small arms, and the flag of a New York regiment. Banks’s report is silent with regard to this fight; yet it seems that a collision actually took place; the forces on our side being commanded by Gen. Dudley, and our loss considerable—450 killed and wounded, with two guns, says a newspaper report. The affair can not have been creditable to the Union side, or it would not have been so completely hushed up. Gen. Banks’s force in the field having been rendered disposable by the fall of Port Hudson, Taylor and his subordinates made haste to abandon the country east of the Atchafalaya; evacuating “Brashear City just one month after its capture; but not till they had carefully stripped it of every thing of value that was either movable or combustible. Gen. Banks now united with Gen. Grant in urging an immediate combined movement upon Mobile; but the suggestion was overruled at Washington, in deference to the urgent representations of Texan refugees; and Gen. B. directed" to operate against Texas. IIe was advised that a movement by the Red river on Natchitoches or Shreveport was deemed most feasible, but was authorized to act as his own judgment should dictate. Deeming the route suggested impracticable at that season, he decided to demonstrate by way of the Sabine, with Houston as his objective point. Accordingly, an expedition, including a land force of 4,000 men, was fitted out at New Orleans, and dispatched “to the Sabine, under command of Maj.-Gen. Franklin; the naval force, detailed by Admiral Farragut, consisting of the gunboats Clifton, Sachem, Arizona, and Granite City, under command of Lt. Fred. Crocker. Banks gave Franklin written instructions to debark his troops 10 or 12 miles below Sabine Pass; thence moving rapidly on the Rebel defenses, unless a naval reconnoissance should prove those works unoccupied, or so weak that they could be easily and promptly reduced by bombardment. Decently managed, this movement could not have miscarried. The troops were abundant and efficient; the weather fine; the sea smooth; and the enemy unwarned of the point of attack. But Franklin and Crocker decided to take the works at once by a naval attack; and, without landing the troops, moved” di
* The Louisiana Democrat (Alexandria, July 1) has a magnifying Rebel letter from one engaged in the capture of Brashear, who claims for that post an importance hardly second to Wicksburg, numbers 1,800 prisoners and 6,000 negroes among the spoils, and adds:
“This brilliant campaign of Gen. Taylor has another great object in view, and one of vast importance, namely: A diversion to force the enemy to raise the siege of Port Hudson. He
now has his choice, to lose New Orleans or to abandon his operations against Port Hudson, and retire with his beaten and demoralized army into that city.”
*Banks says that barely 400 of our men at one time held New Orleans; but the river and the fleet, with his army not far away, were its main defenses.
* June 28, 1 A. M. * July 12. * July 22. * Aug. 12; by dispatch received Aug. 27.
rectly upon them with the gunboats, after having been 24 hours in sight, so as to give the Rebels ample warming of their peril. The result proved this a foolhardy procedure. The gunboats were old merchant steamers, of inferior strength; their guns were of moderate caliber, and made no impression on the Rebel works; while several of them soon grounded in the shallow water of the Pass, where they were exposed to certain destruction by the fire of the batteries, and were soon torn to pieces; when Crocker surrendered the Clifton, as Lt. Johnson did the Sachem; each having been quickly disabled by a shot through her boiler—Franklin thus achieving the distinction of being the first American General [for Renshaw was not a General] who managed to lose a fleet in a contest with land batteries alone. The Arizona grounded, and had her engine disabled; but was kedged off with difficulty at midnight, having received no damage. She was, in fact, of too heavy draft to run fairly abreast of the batteries —at least, to maneuver there with safety. Crocker and Johnson fought their vessels bravely and well; but they were light-draft boats, utterly unfit to assail such batteries, and should not have been impelled to their certain destruction. Our loss in this affair, beside the two boats and their 15 heavy rifled guns, was 50 killed and wounded, beside 200 prisoners—in all, just about equal to the whole number of Rebels engaged; of whom (says Pollard) “not a man was lost on our side, nor a gun injured.” Franklin had still his 4,000 sol
diers, with his transports and two remaining gunboats; while there were not Rebel soldiers enough within a day’s ride to have brought to a halt one of his regiments, properly led. Dick Taylor's force, such as it was, was far away; Houston, flanking Galveston, was but 40 miles distant; Gen. Washburne was at Brashear, with a force equal to Franklin's, ready to cooperate in the purposed advance, in case the latter had taken these poor earthworks, defended by a captain" and 250 men, and sent back his transports for réenforcements. Instead of taking them, however, or even trying, Franklin—finding no place to land where he might not get his feet wet—slunk meekly back to New Orleans;" leaving the Texans to exult, very fairly, over a fruitful victory gained against odds of at least twenty to one. Gen. Banks now concentrated his disposable forces on the Atchafalaya, with intent to advance directly upon Shreveport; but found this utterly impracticable. The country west and north-west of Brashear had been so exhausted by the armies that had successively occupied it that no food and little forage was to be gleaned from it; an intense drouth now prevailed all over that flat region; where, though bayous abound, living springs and brooks of drinkable water are scarce; the roads were few and very bad, often winding for miles through dense forests; and it was not possible to transport by wagons all the food and forage needed by an army strong enough to overcome all probable resistance. No course seemed open for a fulfillment of the desires and expectations of the Government
concerning Texas but that of a marine expedition; which was accordingly resolved on. Meantime, a considerable force had been sent, under Gen. F. J. Herron, to Morganzia, opposite but above Port Hudson, where the Rebels had a vicious habit of taking advantage of the narrowness and crookedness of the Mississippi to “bushwhack” our passing vessels. No resistance being here encountered, an outpost had been established several miles inland, consisting of the 19th Iowa and 26th Indiana, with two guns, under Lt.-Col. Leake, with 150 cavalry, under Major Montgomery—in all, some 600 to 800 strong. Though it was known that Green, with a far stronger Rebel force, was in their front across the Atchafalaya, no proper vigilance was exercised; and, three weeks after this outpost had been established, it was surprised" by Green, who, with a far superior force, crossed the bayou during a dark night, surrounded our camp, and captured our guns and most of our infantry—not less than 400, including Leake and Lt.-Col. Rose. The cavalry escaped with a loss of five men. We had 14 killed and 40 wounded. Gen. N. J. T. Dana had just succeeded Herron in command at Morganzia. In order to mask his intended movement on Texas by sea, Gen. Banks now pushed out a considerable force, under Gen. C. C. Washburne, to Opelousas, which was reached without a conflict; but, when Washburne commenced “ his retreat to the Teche, pursuant to orders, the Rebels, under Taylor and Green, followed sharply on his track, and, stealing up," under cover of woods, to our right, under Gen. Burbridge, struck suddenly and heavily, about noon, while the 23d Wisconsin was engaged in voting for State officers— that being election day in their State. That regiment was speedily reduced from 226 to 98 men—many of the rest, of course, prisoners, including its Colonel, Guppy, who was wounded; while the brigade of which it formed a part went into the fight numbering 1,010, and came out 361. The loss was mainly in the 67th Indiana, which ingloriously surrendered without having lost a man. Our right, thus suddenly assailed in great force, and with intense fury, was broken, and was saved from utter destruction by the devoted bravery of the 23d Wisconsin and the efficient service of Nim's battery. We lost one gun, which was not recovered; the Rebels, upon the bringing up of the 3d division, Gen. McGinnis, retreating rapidly to the shelter of the adjacent woods. Washburne reports a loss of 26 killed, 124 wounded, and 566 missing (prisoners); total: 716. The Rebels lost 60 killed, 65 prisoners, and 300 wounded.
* F. A. Odlum. * Arriving Sept. 11.
* Sept. 30. * Nov. 1.
Gen. Banks's new expedition, 6,000 strong, led by Banks himself, but more immediately commanded by Gen. Dana, made * directly for the Rio Grande, debarking “ at Brazos Santiago, driving off the small cavalry force there stationed, and following it to Brownsville, 30 miles above, which was entered by our advance on the 16th; as was Point Isabel two days later. The Rebel works commanding Aransas Pass were next taken by as: sault, which gave us their guns and
100 prisoners. Moving thence on Pass Cavallo, commanding the western entrance to Matagorda Bay, our army invested Fort Esperanza, which was thereupon abandoned; most of its garrison escaping to the main land.
Banks had expected to follow up this success—which gave us control of the coast from the Rio Grande to the Drazos—by a movement on Indianola or on Matagorda: but this involved a collision with whatever Rebel force could be collected in Texas; and he deemed himself too weak to challenge such an encounter. With a moderate rêenforcement, he might have seized Galveston Island— sealing up the coast of Texas against blockade-runners: as it was, he felt obliged to desist and return to New Orleans.
Gen. Dana, after Banks had left him in command at Brownsville, sent an expedition up the river 120 miles to Roma, which encountered much privation, but no enemy; then another 70 miles eastward, toward Cor. pus Christi, which found no Rebel force in this direction. The Rebels had shifted their Mexican trade to Eagle Pass, 350 miles up, whither Dana was unable to follow them. Being afterward ordered to Pass Cavallo, he found * two of our brigades in quiet possession of Indianola, on the main land, with an equal force on the Matagorda peninsula opposite, and all Texas west of the Colorado virtually abandoned to our arms. IIe believed we had force enough then on that coast to have moved boldly inland and contested the mastery of the State; but he was overruled, and soon relieved from command.
* Nov. 3. ** Oct. 26.
* Nov. 2. * Jan. 12, 1864.