On the 29th of September Green, with his horse and a part of Mouton's brigade of Louisiana infantry, crossed the Atchafalaya at Morgan's Ferry, and attacked and routed the enemy on the Fordoche, capturing four hundred and fifty prisoners and two guns. Green lost a hundred in killed and wounded; the enemy, who fought under cover, less than half that number.
From our position on the Fordoche to the Bayou Boeuf, in rear of the Federal camp at Berwick's Bay, was over a hundred miles. The route followed the Grosse-Tête to Plaquemine on the Mississippi, and to escape observation Plaquemine must be passed in the night. Below this point there was an interior road that reached the Lafourche some distance below Donaldsonville.
Major left Washington on the 10th of June, marched twenty-eight miles to Morgan's Ferry, by a road then high and dry although in April Banks had found it under water, and crossing the Atchafalaya on the 14th rode along the Bayou Fordoche with the intention of striking the river at the Hermitage; but a broken bridge turned him northward round the sweep of False River toward Waterloo.
Although every precaution had been taken to exclude mistakes and insure coöperation, such complete success is not often attained in combined military movements; and I felt that sacrifices were due to Fortune. In his rapid march from the Fordoche Major captured seventy prisoners and burned two steamers at Plaquemine.
Returning north to Morgan's Ferry, I crossed the Atchafalaya with Major's command, and moved down the Fordoche and Grosse-Tête, bayous draining the region between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi. A short march brought us near the Fausse Rivière, an ancient bed of the Mississippi, some miles west of the present channel, and opposite Port Hudson.
Halting the command on the Fordoche, I rode out to the estate of an acquaintance on Fausse Rivière, whence the noise of battle at Port Hudson could be heard.
This division was about 2,500 strong, and Herron, being ill, had just turned over the command to Dana, when on the 29th of September Green swept down with Speight's and Mouton's brigades and the battalions of Waller and Rountree upon the outposts on Bayou Fordoche, at Sterling's plantation, killed 16, wounded 45, and took 454 prisoners, including nearly the full strength of the 19th Iowa and 26th Indiana.
It must be remembered that neither artillery nor wagons accompanied Major's march from the Fordoche.