HEADQUARTERS RESERVE BRIGADE
HEADQUARTERS RESERVE BRIGADE,
In Camp, near Thibodeaux, La., November 1, 1862.
MAJOR: Since my last dispatch I have received information that the enemy has evacuated Berwick Bay, and in such a hurry (as our gunboats were in sight) that they left over 400 wagon loads of negroes behind at Brashear City. To substantiate this report the negroes are already returning. Now, what shall I do with them? I have already twice as many negroes in and around my camp as I have soldiers within. I cannot feed them; as a consequence they must feed themselves. The community, of whom already quite a number have taken the oath of allegiance, is in great terror, fearing trouble with the negroes. They beg me to allow them to retain their arms. I cannot do this without authority from headquarters. Last night my pickets were fired upon by some person armed with a shot-gun. This would make it prudent to allow only those to retain arms who have taken the oath or are paroled. Please to give me instructions on this point.
There is plenty of sugar here. I have already collected a large number of cavalry and artillery horses and mules. Please organize that railroad now properly with a superintendent and proper employ�s, so that we may run regular trains, and not have our rolling stock ruined by bad management. Tell Captain [George A.] Kensel to hurry up the ammunition asked for.
I have sent a force to Berwick Bay to take possession of the road from Tigerville to Berwick Bay, communicate with the gunboats, and repair the bridges across the Bayou B�uf. I will have the bridges across Bayou La Fourche completed at 4 o'clock this afternoon, and the bridge at Terre Bonne will be completed to-morrow. Then, when the Bayou B�uf Bridge is ready the whole road will be all right to Brashear City. All the planters nearly wish to make their crops very excellent this year, if I will order back their negroes or allow them to make some arrangement with them.
Neither Colonel Thomas nor Colonel Stafford have been yet seen by me. I understand that the Native Guards were to picket the road. They want to hold Boutte Station, Bayou des Allemands Bridge, Tigerville, Bayou La Fourche Bridge, Terre Bonne Bridge, &c. Do this and throw out pickets, so as to communicate with each other. The telegraph should be repaired at once. I have undisputed possession of this country now, and this part of the campaign is a perfect success.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U.S. Volunteers.
Maj. GEORGE C. STRONG,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.
[Index - Louisiana Native Guards]
Researched and Compiled by
Bennie J. McRae