Expedition from New Orleans to Mandeville, La

JANUARY 15-17, 1865.–Expedition from New Orleans to Mandeville, La.

Report of Capt. Abner Powell, Eleventh Wisconsin Infantry.

OFFICE OF PROVOST-MARSHAL,
Algiers, January 18, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report in detail of the late
expedition to Mandeville, La., being furnished with the necessary orders
and instructions from Maj.-Gen. Hurlbut:

Embarked on board the schooner Cazador at New Basin, New Orleans,
with 2 sergeants, 1 corporal, and 11 privates selected for the expedition
from the Fifty-sixth Ohio Veteran Volunteers, and 2 privates from
Company F, First New Orleans Volunteers, 3 special officers, 2
boatmen, and 1 citizen of Algiers as a guide, numbering in all 21 men
who took part in the expedition. Sailed from New Basin on the
afternoon of Sunday, January 15. Arrived at north shore of Lake
Pontchartrain during the same night, but owing to unfavorable weather,
and not being
acquainted with the coast, were unable to land. During the whole of
Monday, January 16, we beat about the north shore of the lake,
overhauled the schooner James Stockton at Pass Manchac, examined her
papers and found them correct. In the evening passed near the town of
Mandeville, headed direct for New Orleans. Sailed in this direction until
some time after nightfall, when tacked about and ran up to wharf at
Mandeville, dropping anchor about 1 o’clock at night. But one man was
visible on the wharf, whom we easily decoyed on board, and by threats
induced to consent to pilot us to the office of Lieut. Robinson.
Leaving a small guard in charge of the schooner, I proceed with the
remainder of my force to Lieut. Robinson’s quarters. First
stationing my men so as to command every place of egress from the
house, I opened the front door, and in company with special officers
walked in, and striking a light, discovered Lieut. Winslow
Robinson, commandant of the Lake shore District; Capt. W. E.
Ligon, assistant commissary of subsistence of Gen. Hodge’s staff;
Bvt. Second Lieut. G. W. White, First Louisiana Cavalry, C. S.
Army, and Judge Bethune, of Georgia, all of whom surrendered at
once, and I proceeded to take possession of all contraband articles about
the premises, consisting of one large telescope glass and a quantity of
letters, papers, and books appertaining to Lieut. Robinson as
commander of Lake Shore District. The object of the expedition being
accomplished, I returned with the prisoners and property on board the
schooner, having been absent from the wharf not to exceed thirty
minutes. Immediately set sail for New Orleans, bringing with us the
mulatto ma whom we had used as a guide, and leaving the town wrapt
in as profound quietude as we had entered it, not seeing an individual
save those brought away. Arrived at New Orleans about 6 o’clock on
Tuesday morning, January 17; turned over the prisoners to
Lieut.-Col. Wood, provost-marshal-general military division,
and the papers and property to Maj.-Gen. Hurlbut. Every man
engaged in the expedition performed his duty so well that to
particularize would be impracticable. Owing to the small space, and
cramped, uncomfortable positions, and during the time we were sailing
near the coast on the 16th, to prevent discovery, all the soldiers had to
remain below deck in the most painful situations, yet no murmur or
word of discontent was uttered by a man on board. Each individual man
deserves much credit for the manner and promptness in which his duty
was performed.

I have the honor to be, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. POWELL,
Capt., 11th Wisconsin Vet. Vol. Infty., and Provost-Marshal.

Maj. D. J. BENNER,
Chief of Staff, Department of the Gulf.
ADDENDA.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
New Orleans, La., January 22, 1865.
Capt. A. POWELL,
Eleventh Wis. Vet. Vol. Infty., Provost-Marshal, Algiers, La.:
(Through headquarters Department of the Gulf.)

CAPT.: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to
acknowledge the receipt, through headquarters Department of the Gulf,
of the report of the expedition which left this city for the town
of Mandeville, on Lake Ponchartrain, on the 15th instant, under your
command, and which resulted in the capture of three noted rebel officers
and Judge Bethune, of Georgia. The admirable skill, courage, and
promptness which marked this gallant little affair merits the highest
commendation, and I am charged with the pleasant duty of conveying
the approbation and thanks of the commanding general to yourself, as
well as to the little band who accompanied you, and who, by their good
conduct and patient endurance, aided materially in securing the
successful results of the expedition.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Lieut.-Col. and Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Source: Official Records
PAGE 44-101 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. [CHAP. LX.
[Series I. Vol. 48. Part I, Reports, Correspondence, Etc. Serial No. 101.]

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.