Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/72
Southern Historical Society Papers.
[The following letter, from one of the most gallant and successful Generals of the Trans-Mississippi Department, gives, with all the freedom of private correspondence, a vivid description of a hotly contested fight. We are anxious to obtain more material from the Trans-Mississippi Department, and are taking steps to secure it.]
HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON ATCHAFALAYA,
October 1, 1863.
MY DEAR WIFE :
I am yet in the land of the living, after another brilliant victory near the banks of the Mississippi. I crossed the Atchafalaya during the night of the 28th September, and moved upon the enemy on the 29th in three columns—one column of infantry, 1,400 strong, consisting of Mouton's and Speight's brigades. I moved on a trail through the swamps and took position behind the enemy. My own brigade, dismounted, with Wallen's and Rountree's battalions of cavalry, moved upon the enemy in front. I sent one of Majou's regiments of cavalry upon the left flank of the enemy, crossing the Atchafalaya twenty miles below my position. At about twelve o'clock M. I closed in upon the enemy on all sides. Speight's brigade of 600 men and Major Boon's cavalry of 200 were the only troops closely engaged. The fight was a very hot one for a half or three-quarters of an hour. Boon charged the enemy's cavalry and dispersed them. Colonel Harrison of Speight's brigade charged the enemy's infantry in rear during the very heat of the action. Major Boon having dispersed the cavalry of the enemy, I ordered him to go to the assistance of Harrison, and charge the enemy in front, which he did in the most dashing and gallant manner. Nothing could be imagined more terrible on the same scale. Boon dashed through and through the entire encampment of the enemy, sabering* and shooting, and trampling the living, wounded and dead under the feet of his horses. The whole affair was a most brilliant success, and has added another victory to our long list. It has cheered the hearts of our soldiers, and cast a gloom over the enemy. I have five hundred prisoners, many of whom are officers (say thirty or forty), two colonels, and many captains and lieutenants.
.* Major Boon, mentioned in the foregoing letter, informs me that the writer erred in this statement, and that the sabre was not used in the engagement by the combatants on either side.
Austin, Texas, October 6, 1876.
V. O. KING.