Report of Maj. Jesse S. Miller, Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry

Report of Maj. Jesse S. Miller, Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry.

HDQRS. ELEVENTH WISCONSIN VET. VOL. INFANTRY,
Brashear City, September 30, 1864.
CAPT.: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the
expedition to Grand River Junction, of September 27, 28, 1864, and of
which I was in command:

I embarked on the U. S. gun-boat Carrabasset with 125 men of Eleventh
Infantry, Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers, at 5.30 p. m. September
26, when we dropped down to her moorings and made fast to
her anchor. At precisely 12 o’clock midnight we left moorings; arrived
off Pigeon Bayou at 5 a. m. 27th and anchored, it being so dark we
were unable to cross the bar at the mouth of bayou. At daylight weighed
anchor and crossed the bar into Bayou Pigeon ten minutes before 12
noon. The country between the mouth of Bayou Pigeon and the junction
of Grand River is one continuous wilderness. Until within one mile of
the junction there is not a house or sign of any habitation, although on
either side of the bayou the land is dry and might be cultivated. It is
covered with a heavy growth of live oak and thick clustering growth of
underwood. There are numerous paths running through it in all
directions, none of which show signs of recent travel. I landed parties
of men under competent officers at several different points along the
bayou and explored some distance back on either side, but could
discover no trace of the enemy. Pigeon Bayou is very narrow and
crooked, with large trees hanging over on either side, rendering it very
difficult of navigation with as large craft as the gun-boat, although it has
great depth, ranging from ten to twenty feet. Not finding the cavalry at
the junction when I arrived, I sent two armed boats up Grand River
about three-fourths of a mile, where I learned a large barge of cotton
was hidden in a small cove, with instructions to run the barge down to
the gun-boat if found. I then landed and went to the house of Mr.
Micheltre, directly opposite the mouth of Grand River. Here I found
two men who were in charge of the cotton and whom I arrested. I also
found a large quantity of cotton stored in the sugar-house on Micheltre’s
plantation, which I seized. The party sent in boats up Grand River found
the barge loaded with cotton hidden in a small cover about three-fourths
of a mile from the mouth, the underwood and large trees nearly hiding
it from view. No one being found at the barge they immediately took
possession of it and brought it safely to the junction. I then sent a
detachment under Capt. Park down the south side of Grand River as
far as the plantation of Charles Palfrey, occupied by one Mr. Brown,
distant four miles. He had learned that a Confederate captain and four
Confederate soldiers passed down in the direction of Lake Natchez on
the morning of the 26th. In the meantime I had the gun-boat turned
around, backed down opposite the sugar-house, and all the available
men I had, after placing a picket on each side of the river, set to loading
the cotton stored in the sugar-house onto the gun-boat. At 6 p. m. the
advance guard of the cavalry arrived, the main body at 7.30. I had an
interview with Maj. Clybourn, commanding the cavalry; remained at
this place all night. Started the barge down Bayou Pigeon at daylight
with one company of men under command of Capt. Park. Cavalry
started at 9 a. m. and at 10 a. m. I started down the bayou with the
gun-boat, passed the barge and crossed the bar, came alongside at 4
o’clock, when we took her in tow and arrived at Brashear City at 11.30
p. m. September 28, with 3 prisoners, 220 bales of cotton, and 1 large
barge. We destroyed two large flat-boats and several skiffs.

Very respectfully,

J. S. MILLER,
Maj. Eleventh Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers.

Capt. B. B. CAMPBELL,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

About Chris

I am a high school history teacher in Colorado and am finishing my masters in history from APU. My book The 11th Wisconsin in the Civil War: A Regimental History was published by McFarland & Co. in 2008.