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vision of Gen. Emory crossed, nndthc combined force made an advance, which the enemy opposed, but not obstinately. In this order tlio Federal column advanced, feeling its way, while the enemy, whose forces were commanded by Gen. Taylor, slowly retired upon their fortified po.sitiou a few miles above Pattersonville. On the 13th there was considerable fighting, mostly with the artillery, in which the Diana, a Federal gunboat, captured about four weeks previous, bore a conspicuous part. On the morning of Saturday, the 12th, the division of (Jen. Qrover left Brashear on tho gnnboats Clifton, Estrella, Arizona, and Calhoun, and transports, and proceeded up the Atehafalaya, into Lake Chetimaeha. The object was to get into the rear of the enemy, and if possible cut off his retreat if he evacuated his position, or to attack him in rear at the time of tho attack in front. Some difficulties delayed tho expedition, but it effected a landing early tho next morning, about three miles west of Franklin, noar a spot called Irish Bend. At this time the gunboat Queen of the West, which had been captured previously by the enemy, was blown up and destroyed on the lake. Skirmishing immediately eusued with a small forco of the enemy, that fell back as Gen. Grover advanced. His position was about eleven miles distant from Gen. Banks. At Irish Bend tho enemy seemed to be determined to mako a stand, and a sharp struggle followed, in which they were forced to retire to the woods and canes. On this retreat they destroyed tho gunboat Diana and the transports Gossamer, Newsboy, and Era No. 2, at Franklin. This sue cess of Gen. Grover was followed by tho evacuation of tho works before Gen. Banks. Early on Tuesday morning, the cavalry and artillery, followed by Gen. Weitzel's brigade, with Col. higruham's force of Gen. Emory's division as a support, followed the enemy. So rapid was the pursuit that tho enemy was unable to remove the transports at New Iberia, and five, with all the commissary stores and ammunition with which they were loaded, were destroyed at that place, together with an incomplete ironclad gunboat. On Thursday, the army reached New Iberia. A foundery for the manufacture of cannon and other munitions of war was immediately taken possession of, as a similar one had been seized two days before at Franklin. Two regiments were also sent to destroy the tools and machinery at the celebrated salt mine of the town. Thus far about fifteen hundred prisoners had been captured, and moro than five hundred horses, mules, and beef cattle taken from the plantations. The Federal loss was small. The entire force of tho enemy was about ten thousand men.
On the next day, the 17th, tho army moved forward, but Gen. Grover, who had marched from New Iberia by a shorter road, and thus gained the advance, met the enemy at Bayon Vermilion. Their force consisted of a considerable number of cavalry, one thousand in
fantry, and six piecea of artillery, massed in a 6troug position on tho opposite bank. They were immediately attacked and driven from their position, but not until they had succeeded in destroying by fire the bridge across the river. Tho night of the 17th and the next day was passed in rebuilding tho bridge. On the 19th, the march was resumed, and continued to the vicinity of Grand Coteau; and on the next day tho main forco of Gen. Banks occupied Opelousas. At the same time, the cavalry, supported by a regiment of infantry and a section of artillery, wero thrown forward six miles to Washington, on the Courtableau. OnthoSUt, no movement was made, but on the next day. Brig.-Gen. Dwight, of Gen. Grover's division, with detachments of artillery and cavalry, was pushed forward through Washington toward Alexandria. lie found tho bridges over tho Cocodrie and Bceuf destroyed, and during tho evening and night replaced them by a single bridge at the junction of the bayous. A steamer had just been burned by the enemy, but tho principal portion of her cargo, which had been transferred to a flat, was captured. Orders wero also found there from Gen. Moore to Gen. Taylor, in command of the Confederate force, directing him to retreat slowly to Alexandria, and, if pressed, to retire to Texas.
Another expedition, under Lieut.-Col. 151.".nchard, was sent out by way of Barre's Landing, to examino tho Bayou Courtableau in the direction of Bute-a-la-Rose, but ho found tho roads impassable four miles beyond Barre's Landing. The steamer Ellen was captured by him, which proved a timely assistance. Previously Bute-a-la-Rose had been taken by orders of Gen. Banks, with its garrison of sixty men, two heavy guns, and a large quantity of ammunition. The result of the expedition thus far is thus stated by Gen. Banks: "We havedestroyed the enemy's army and navy, and made their reorganization impossible by destroying or removing the material. We hold tho'key of the position. Among the evidences of our victory are two thousand prisoners, two transports, and twenty guns taken, and three gunboats and eight transports destroved." ,
On the 6th of May, Admiral Porter appeared before Alexandria with a fleet of gunboats, and took possession of the town without opposition. On that evening the cavalrv of Gen. Dwight dashed into the place, and the next morning the advance of Gen. Banks arrived. Alexandria is the capital of Rapides parish in Louisiana. It is situated on the Red river, about one hundred and fifty miles from its month, and in the centre of a rich cotton-growing region.
The country thus occupied bv Gen. Banks was tho most fertile portion of'the State ot Louisiana, lhs movements had been so rapid that the enemy had been allowed no opportunity to mako a stand against him after their defea near Franklin. The capture of Alexandria ana the attack on Fort de Russe below, was reportea by Admiral Porter, with his movements, thus. Mississippi Sorinnox, Flag Snip General Price, ) Gkasd Gclt, Miss., May Uth. f ToSwrttanjWtlU*:
Sir; I had the honor to inform you from Alexandria ef ihc capture of that place, and "the forts defending '.he approaches to the city, by the naval force under my command. Twenty-four hours affcr we arrived the advance guard of United States troops came into the city. Gen. Banks arriving soon after, I turned the place over to hi* keeping. The water beginning to fall, I deemed it prudent to return with the largest vessels to the month of the Red river. I dropped down to Fort de Russe in the Benton, and undertook to destroy these works. I only succeeded, however, in destroying the three heavy casemates commanding the channel and a small water battery for two guns. About COO yards below it I destroyed by bursting one heavy thirty-two poonder and some gun carriages left in their hurry by the enemy.
The ma'in fort, on a hill some 800 yards from thewater, I was unable to attend to. It is quite an extensive work, new and incomplete, but built with much labor and pains. It will take two or three vessels to pull it to pieces. I have not the powder to spare to lloir it up. The vessels will be ordered to work on it occasionally, and it will be soon destroyed. In this last-mentioned fort was mounted the 11-inch gun, which I am led to believe lies in the middle of the river, near the fort, the rebels throwing it overboard a their panic at the approach of our gunboats. The raft which closed the entrance I have blown up, sawed in two, and presented to the poor of the neighborhood. I sent Commander Woodworth in the Price, with the Switzerland, Pittsburg, and Arizona, up Black river to make a reconnoissance, and he destroyed a large amount of stores, valued at $300,000, consisting of silt, su<rar, rum, molasses, tobacco, and bacon. (Signed) DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
While at Opelousa's, Gen. Banks issued the following order:
Heapqitartees DEPARTMENT OF THE GFLF, |
19th Army Corps, Opelousas, May U(, 1S03. ) The Major-Gcneral commanding the Department proposes the organization of a corps d'armuo of colored troops, to be designated as the " Corps d'Afrique." It will consist ultimately of eighteen regiments, representing all arms—infantry", artillery, cavalry—making nine brigades, of two regiments each, mid three divisions of three brigades each, with appropriate corps of engineers, and flying hospitals for each division. Appropriate uniforms, and the graduation of pay to correspond with the valucof services, will be hereafter awarded.
In the field, the efficiency of each corps depends upon Ibe influence of its officers upon the troops engaged, and the practicallimits of one direct command is generally estimated at 1,000 men. The most eminent military historians and commanders, among others, "birrs and Chambray, express the opinion, upon a full renew of the elemeuts of military power, that the valor of the soldier is rather acquired than natural. Nations whose individual heroism is undisputed, have failed as soldiers in the field. The European and American continents exhibit instances of this character, and the military prowess of every nation may be estimated by the centuries it has devoted to military contest, or the traditional passion of its people for military glory. With a race unaccustomed to military service, much more depends on the immediate influence of officers upon individual members, than with those that have acquired more or less of warlike habits «id spirit by centuries of contest. It4s deemed best, 'nercfore, in the organization of the Corps d'Afrique, •o limit the regiment to the smallest number of men consistent with efficient service in the field, in order to secure the most thorough instruction and discipline, and the largest influence of the officers over the troops. At first they will be limited to five hundred men. The
average of American regiments is less than that number.
The Commanding General desires to detail, for temporary or permanent duty, the best officers of the army, for the organization, instruction, and discipline of this corns. 'With their aid he is confident that the corps will render important service to the Government. It is not established upon any dogma of equality, or other theory, but as a practical and sensible matter of business. The Government makes use of mules, horses, uneducated and educated white men, in the defence of its institutions. Why should not the negro contribute whatever is in his power for the cause in which he is as deeply interested as other men? We may properly demand from him whatever service he can render. The chief defect in organizations of this character has arisen from incorrect ideas of the officers in command. Their discipline has been lax, and, in some cases, the conduct of their regiments unsatisfactory and discreditable. Controversies unnecessary and injurious to the service have arisen between them and other troops. The organization proposed will reconcile and avoid many of these troubles.
Officers and soldiers will consider the exigencies of the service in this department, and the absolute necessity of appropriating every clement of power to the support of the Government. The prejudices or opinions of men are in no wise involved. The cooperation and active support of all officers nnd men, and the nomination of fit men from the ranks, and from the lists of non-commissioned and commissioned officers, are respectfully solicited from the Generals commanding the respective divisions.
By command of Major-Gen. BANKS.
Richard B. Irwin, A. A. G.
The subsequent movements of Gen. Banks in this part of the State met with no serious opposition from the enemy. After the investment of Vicksburg, his forces were concentrated at Simmcsport for an advance against Port Hudson. Meanwhile the division of (Jen. Sherman, which had been quartered at New Orleans, was not inactive. A brigade was sent out under Gen. Niekerson, for the purpose of attacking any forces that the enemy might have in the neighborhood of Lake Pontehartrnin. The first Texas cavalry, under Col. Davis, pushed as far as Tick fa w Station on the railroad, and captured a largo amount of cotton, lumber, corn, and bacon. A lieutenant and eight men were made prisoners, among whom were fourteen Choctaw Indians. In this neighborhood a large tannery was also destroyed, and a largo car shop, the Tangipaha bridge, and other valuable property. On the hike, four schooners, with cargoes of contraband goods, were burned.
The division of Gen. Augur had returned to Baton Rouge, from which a force was sent out that penetrated to a point on the railroad between Clinton and Port Hudson. A body of the enemy were encountered and routed. Of this body five were killed, several wounded,' and twenty-five prisoners taken with their horses nnd accoutrements. About the samo time Col. Grierson captured near Port Hudson three hundred head of cattle. The squadron, meanwhile, was anchored at the head of Profit's Island, not attempting any hostile demonstrations, except the mortar vessels, which at night threw a few shells into Port Hudson.
About the middle of May all the available force near the river was concentrated at Baton
Rouge, to assist in tho attack on Port Hudson. Thence Gens. Augur and Sherman moved to tho south and east of that position, to cooperate with Gen. Banks. From Simmesport Gen. Banks moved his army to invest Port Hudson. A portion of his infantry was transported in steamors, and tho residue with the artillery and cavalry and wagon train moved down on the west bank of the river, and thence across to Bayou Sara, which is five miles above Port Hudson, on the east bank of tho Mississippi river. It was on tho 21st of May that Gen. Banks landed, and on the next day a junction was effected with the advance of Maj.-Gen. Augur and Brig.-Gcn. Sherman. His lino occupied the Bayou Sara road. On this road Gen. Augur had an encounter with a force of the enemy, which resulted in their repulse with heavy loss. On the 25th, the enemy was compelled to abandon his first line of works. On the next day Gen. "Weitzel's brigade, which had covered tho rear in the march from Alexandria, arrived, and on tho morning of the 27th a general assault was made on tho fortifications. Port Hudson, or Hickey's Landing, as it was called some years ago, is situated on a bend in the Mississippi river, about twenty-two miles above Baton Rouge, and one hundred and forty-seven above New Orleans. Approaching Port Hudson by water from below, tho first batteries were situated on a blutf about forty
feet above high water mark. Thence three series of batteries exteuded along the river above Port Hudson to a point on Thompson's creek, making a continuous lino about three and a half miles in extent. Above Thompson's creek is an impassable marsh, forming a natural defence. From the lower battery began a line of land fortifications, of semi-circular form, about ten miles in extent, with Thompson's creek for its natural terminus above. The guns were of heavy caliber; in addition to which there were light batteries, that might be easily taken to any part of the line. The position was under tho command of Col. Frank Gardner.
The firo of the artillery of Gen. Banks opened about six o'clock on the morning of the 27th, and continued with animation during tho day. At ten o'clock, Gen. Weitzel's brigade, with the division of Gen. Grover—reduced to about two brigades—and the division of Gen. Emory, temporarily reduced by detachments to about a brigade, under command of Col. Paine, with two regiments of colored troops, mado an assault upon tho right of tho enemy's w-orks, crossing Sandy creek, and driving them through tho woods into thoir fortifications. The fight lasted on this lino until four o'clock, and was very severely contested. On tho left, the infantry did not come up until later in the day; but at two o'clock an assault was commenced on tho works on the centre and left of centre, by the divisions under Maj.Gen. Augur and Brig.-Gen. Sherman. The enemy was driven into his works, and the Federal troops moved up to the fortifications, holding the opposite sides of the parapet with the enemy. On the right, the troops continued to hold their position; but on the left, after dark, the main body, being exposed to a flank fire, withdrew to a belt of woods. The skirmishers remained close upon the fortifications. On the extreme right, the first and third regiments of negro troops were posted. Of their behavior in action, Gen. Banks thus reports: ,-The position occupied by these troops was one of importance, and called for the utmost steadiness and bravery in thoso to whom it was confided. It gives me pleasure to report that they answered every expectation. In many respects their conduct was heroic. No troops could be more determined or more darks. They made during the day three charges upon the batteries of the enemy, suffering very heavy losses, and holding their position at nightfall with the other troops on the right of onr line. The highest commendation is bestowed upon them by all the officers in command on tho right. Whatever doubt may have existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations of this character, the history of this day proves conclusively to thoso who wcro in condition to observe tho conduct of these regiments, that tho Government will find in this class of troops effective supporters and defenders. The severe test to which they were subjected, and the determined manner in which they encountered the enemy, leaves upon my mind no doubt of their ultimate success. They rcquiro only good officers, commands of limited numbers, and careful discipline, to make them excellent soldiers." Tho entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing, since landing at Bayou Sara to this timG, was nearly a thousand, including some of the ablest officers of the corps, among whom was Gen. Sherman.
A bombardment of the position had been made by the fleet under Admiral Farragut, for a week previous to this assault. Reconnoissances had discovered that the defences were very strong, consisting of several lines of intrenchments and rifle pits, with abatis of heavy trees felled in every direction. The upper batteries on the river were attacked by tho Hartford and Albatross, which had run the blockade, and the lower by the Monongahela, Richmond, Genesee, and Essex.
On the 14th of June, after a bombardment of several days, another assault on Port Hudson was made. Tho position of Gen. Banks's forces at this time was somewhat changed, forming only a right and left without a centre, and, joined together, making a right angle. The division of Gen. Grover, on the upper side of Port Hudson, extended a distanco of nearly four miles from tho river toward tho interior, within supporting distance' of Gen. Augur's division. This was on tho west side of the
enemy's fortifications, and extended a distance of three miles to the river, and within hailing of the fleet. At this time, looking from the extreme northeasterly range of the enemy's rifle pits toward the river, on tho upper side of Port Hudson,, a long line of earthworks could be seen, glistening with bayonets, and protected by a deep ditch nearly twelve feet in width. "Within short range, enfilading breastworks commanded every approaoh to the position of the enemy. The defences of the enemy formed nearly a right angle, both lines of which extended to the river, and enclosed a sharp bend. Tho point of attack was the extreme northeasterly angle of tho enemy's position. For some days previous, several pieces of their artillery had been dismounted by tho Federal fire and abandoned, while those in position were rendered useless by the fire of the sharpshooters. Two regiments were detailed as sharpshooters, who were to creep up and lie on the exterior slope of the enemy's breastworks, while another regiment—each soldier having a hand grenade besides his musket— followed. These grenades were to be thrown over into the enemy's position. Another regiment followed with bags filled with cotton, which were to bo used to fill up the ditch in front of tho breastworks. After these regiments came the others of Gen. Weitzel's brigade. Following these as a support were the brigades of Col. Kimball and Col. Morgan. These forces under Gen. Weitzel were designed for the attack on the right. In conjunction, on the left, moved the old division of Gen. Emory under Gen. Paine, forming a separate column. Both divisions were under the command of Gen. Grover, who planned tho attack. It was expected that Gen. Weitzel's command would make a lodgment inside of the enemy's works, and thus prepare the way for Gen. Paine's division. The advanco was made about daylight, through a covered way, to within three hundred yards of the enemy's position; then tho field consisted of deep gullies covered by brush and creeping vines. Tho fire of the enemy was incessant, but a part of the skirmishers succeeded in reaching the ditch, where they were immediately repulsed by an enfilading fire. But little was therefore accomplished with the hand grenades, as they were at once caught up by the enemy, and hurled back. Meanwhile the assaulting column moved forward as rapidly as possible, and made a scries of desperate assaults on tho works, but the enemy were fully prepared, and lined every part of their fortifications with heavy bodies of infantry. It was a part of tho general plan of attack that a feint should bo made on the extreme left by Gens. Augur and Dwight. This assault was made, and the fighting was extremely desperate on tho part of the forces under Gen. Dwight. At length all the assaulting columns were compelled to fall back under the deadly fire of the enemy, and the fighting finally ceased about 11 o'clock in the morning. Tho loss of Gen.
Banks was nearly 700 in killed and wounded. Meantime, the first parallel encircling the outer line of the enemy was pushed forward, and the skirmishers were posted in rifle pits so near that skirmishes were of constant occurrence at night. A small force of the enemy's cavalry hovered in the rear of Gen. Banks's army, without making any serious demonstrations.
The withdrawal of Gen. Banks's force from tlio west side of the Mississippi was followed by great activity on the part of the enemy, for the purpose of recovering the places held by a small body of Federal troops, and to cause a diversion from Port Hudson. Opelousaa was reoccupied by a considerable) Confederate force ; the west bank of ihe Mississippi was lined with squads of the rebels, who fired upon every boat which passed. A raid was mado upon Plaquemine by a body of Texans, who burned two steamers lying there. They were driven out by Lieut. Weaver, commanding the gunboat Winona. On the 17th of Juno, an attack was mado on the Federal pickets at La Fotirche, which was repulsed. On the next day it was repeated with tho same, result. On the 23d, Brashear City was captured by a confederate force under Gens. Green and Morton. A camp of slaves, or contrabands, as they were called, was attacked by tho enemy, and large numbers killed. Immense quantities of ammunition, several pieces of artillery, three hundred thousand dollars' worth of sutler's goods, sugar, flour, pork, beef, and medical stores, of vast amount, were also captured. On the 28th, an attack was made on Donaldsonville, and the storming party succeeded in getting into the fort. But tho gunboats opened a flanking fire above and below the fort, and drove back tho supporting party, so that the enemy broke and fled. Of those who had entered tho fort, ono hundred and twenty were captured and nearly one hundred killed.
Other movements on the part of tho enemy were mado at this time, which indicated great activity, and enabled them to destroy much Federal property. No embarrassment however was caused to the position of Gen. Banks. Tho enemy, in short, recovered tho La Fourche, Teche, Attakapas, and Opclousas country, and captured Brashear, with fifteen hundred prisoners, a large number of slaves, and nearly all the confiscated cotton.
After these two attempts to reduce Port Hudson by a land assault, on the 27th of May and 1-ith of June, tho purpose to make another was given up by Gen. Banks, until he had fully invested tho placo by a series of irresistible approaches. He was thus engaged in pushing forward his works when .Vicksburg was surrendered. Information of this surrender was sout to Gen. Banks, and it was made tho occasion for firing salutes and a general excitement in his camp, which attracted the attention of tho enemy, to whom the surrender was communicated. Gen. Gardner, upon receiving the infor
mation, sent by flag of truce, about midnight cf the 7th, the following note to Gen. Banks:
Headquarters, Port HUDSON, La., July 7W, 1568.
To ilaj.-Gen. Banks, commanding United Statu Form
Your obedient servant,
To which Gen. Banks thus replied:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GrLF, I
To Muj.-Gen. Frank Gardner, commanding C. S.
"Headquarters Department Of Tnn Tennessee. 1 NEAR VICKSBURG, July 4th, 1S03. (
"Maj.-Gen. K. P. Batiks, commanding Department of the Gulf: "general: The garrison of Vicksburg surrendered this morning. The number of prisoners, as given liy tho officer, is 27,000, field artillery 1JS pieces, and a large number of siege guns, probably not less than eighty. Your obedient servant,
"U. S. GRANT, Major-General." I regret to say, that under present circumstances, I cannot, consistently with my duty, consent to a cessation of hostilities for the purpose you indicate. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
K. P. BANKS.
Tho following further correspondence then took place:
Port Hudson. July Stlt, 1SC3.
General : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, giving a copy of an official communication from Major-Gen. U. S. Grant. United States Army, announcing the surrender of Vicksburg.
Having defended this position as long as I deem my duty requires, 1 am willing to surrender to you, and will appoint a commission of three officers to meet a similar commission appointed by yourself, at nine o'clock this morning, for the purpose of agreeing upon and drawing up the terms of tho surrender, and for that purpose I ask for a cessation of hostilities.
Will you please designate a point outside of my breastworks, where the meeting shall be held for this purpose?
I am, verv respcctfullv, vour obedient servant, FRANK GARDNER, Commanding C. S. Forces. IlEADor Artf.rs U. S. Force*. Before (_ 1'out Hudson, July nth, 1S03. )
To Maj.-Gen. Frank Gardner, commanding Confederate States Forces, Port Hudson:
General: 1 have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, stating that you are willing to surrender the garrison under your command to the forces under my command, and that you will appoint a commission of three officers to meet a similar commission appointed bv me, at nine o'clock this morning, for the purpose of* agreeing upon and drawing up the terms of the surrender.
In replv, I have the honor to state that I have designated l!iig.-Gcn. Charles P. Stone, Col. Henry W. llirge, and Lieut.-Col. Richard B. Irwin, as the officers to meet the commission appointed by you.