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of the role of the 5th Minnesota Infantry

in the capture of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana


From The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 34

No. 33.

Excerpt from the report of Major John C. Becht, Fifth Minnesota Infantry, of the capture of Fort DeRussy.

                             Vicksburg, Miss., May 25, 1864

COLONEL: I have the honor to report, as briefly as possible, the part taken by the Fifth Minnesota Veterans in the recent Red River expedition. This expedition has been the most severe one in which the regiment has ever been engaged. The fact that it failed in the accomplishment of its professed object and, in fact, suffered unaccountable disaster, made our exodus from the State of Louisiana, consuming forty days, all the more irksome. On the 10th of March we left Vicksburg on board of transports and landed at Simsport, on the Atchafalaya Bayou, on the 12th. Our brigade immediately initiated operations on the Red River by putting to rout General Scurry's command, which was encamped near our landing. The enemy withdrew to Fort Scurry, 3 miles distant, and not fancying the aspect of affairs as we approached in line of battle with fixed bayonets, he forsook his works and beat a hasty retreat. We pursued him for 4 miles and succeeded in capturing his rear guard and 4 loaded wagons, and were then recalled to our boats. At 9 o'clock the same evening General Smith's whole command took up the line of march for Fort De Russy, arriving there at 4 p.m. the next day, and by dusk had the fort and garrison in our possession. This fort was built with the best of engineering skill, and was well calculated for a small force to successfully resist a much superior besieging one. Our brigade during the day was the rear guard of the Sixteenth Army Corps, and came up only in time to form in the second line of battle and witness the glorious sight of our boys scaling the parapets, which were fully 20 feet high from the bottom of the ditch.


                JOHN C. BECHT

         Major, Commanding Regiment.


Adjutant-General of Minnesota, Saint Paul.