We have again given the enemy a wholesome lesson, and I have so far been exceedingly fortunate as commander, beginning with Val Verde. The last four battles fought in Louisiana have been under my command, three of which are splendid victories, and the other one of the most desperate fights on record, for the numbers engaged, and one where there was more fruitless courage displayed than any other, perhaps, during the war. We did not achieve this last victory without loss. About thirty of Speight's brigade were killed dead, and sixty or seventy wounded. My own brigade suffered in the death of Lieutenant Spivey and three or four others of my cavalry; but the loss which was greater to me than all the others put together, was the desperate wounding of the best cavalry officer in the army—Major Boon of my brigade. The Major's right arm was torn to atoms, and amputated in the socket of the shoulder. His left hand was also torn up and two-thirds of it amputated, leaving him only his little finger and one next to it, having lost the thumb and two fingers of that hand and over half the hand itself. I am again encamped at my old headquarters, Morgan's ferry, on Atchafalaya. The Yankees are to-day making demonstrations as though they intended to advance upon us; but if they do, it will be after very heavy reinforcement, as we gave those now here such a terrible basting day before yesterday that they will not again voluntarily engage us.
There has been a torrent of rain. It poured down all day the day we were fighting, and rained without intermission twenty-four hours after that day. The mud in these swamps is over the tops of our highest boots—in fact, the roads now are next to impassable. I have had a dumb chill to-day—the first one I have had in Louisiana. I fear we will have serious sickness as the winter approaches. There have been very few deaths so far. If I had a little good brandy or whisky, or even (Louisiana lightning) rum I could break my dumb chill in a minute; but there is nothing of that kind in the wilderness of the Atchafalaya. I will try very hard to get a furlough, unless I find that active operations are again close at hand. Major and Leigh were with me in the fight on the 29th, and are well.
The messenger is waiting for this.