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denounced them as base forgeries* The results of the expedition, although not what was hoped for, were substantially as follows: the breaking up of several miles of railroad of great importance to the rebels, the destroying of several million dollars' worth of stores, and the capturing between 300 and 400 prisoners.
As a kind of well-deserved retalia
* For the papers referred to above, see Appleton's "American Annual Cyclopadia" for 1864, pp. 66, 67. Pollard gives an account of what he calls Dahlgren's raid around Richmond, and is perfectly furious in the language ho Ubob. "Savage and atrocious," "brazen lies, audacious recrimination, and the stereotypes of Yankee hypocrisy," "ludicrous cowardice," and the like, form a part of his stock-in-trade. He is ready to swonr to the authenticity of the papers, which " show the fiendish purpose of Dahlgren's expectation, and revealed to the startled sensibilities of the people of Kichmond the horrors which they had narrowly escaped." They who place any value upon Pollard's oath in the present case, respecting the "Yankee plot of incendiarism and murder, challenging comparison with the atrocities of the darkest ages," may consult this fire-eating writer's "Third Year of the War," pp. 238-845.
tion for the attack by citizens, claiming to be non-combatants, upon Col. Dahlgren, Butler, a few days after, sent a cavalry force, under Col. Onder- 1HG^ donk and Col. Spear, to King and Queen Court House, where was a camp of the enemy, which was destroyed and a number killed. A large quantity of grain, and several mills and store-houses were burnt.
These operations, of which we have given an account in the present chapter, were of no great moment, and on the whole, being more favorable to the rebels than usual, afforded them opportunity of self-laudation and boasting to a considerable extent. The main current of the war, however, was very slightly affected by what had taken place, and it became evident to the careful observer, that other and far weightier trials of strength must be had, before results of any decisive character could be attained.
GEN. BANKS'S MOVEMENT.
DEPARTMENT OP THE GULF: FORREST'S RAID AND FORT PILLOW MASSACRE.
Measures taken to organize a state government for Louisiana — Proclamation of Gen. Banks — Election of governor, etc.—Joint military and naval operations in Western Louisiana — Porter and the gun boats — Gen. A. J. Smith and his force — Fort De Russy taken — Alexandria occupied — Natchitoches taken — Advance upon Shreveport — Battle at Pleasant Hill — The rebels at Sabine Cross Roads — Our forces badly repulsed — Banks falls back — The struggle the next day — Retreat ordered to Alexandria — Gen. Steele and campaign in Arkansas — Porter and the gun boats at the falls of Alexandria—Successful engineering — Banks returns to New Orleans — Forrest and his raiders — Union City surrendered by Hawkins — Paducah attacked — Rebels driven off — Forrest's assault on Fort Pillow — Condition of the fort and garrison — Narrative of the assault — Shocking murders — Quotation from report of investigating committee sent by Congress — Infamous conduct of the rebels — Plymouth, North Carolina, captured by Eloke and his men — Washington evacuated— Ram Albemarle attacked by our gun boats — The result.
Gen. Banks, who was in command of the department of the Gulf, gave earnest attention, at the beginning of the year, to the movement which contemplated the formation of a state government for Louisiana. On the 8th of January, a Free State Convention was held at New Orleans, which both endorsed the course of the president, and urged the immediate adoption of measures for restoring the state to its old place in the Union. Banks thereupon, on the 11th of January, issued a proclamation, providing for the election, on the 22d of February, of a governor and other state officers, who were to "constitute the civil government of the state, under the Constitution and laws of Louisiana, except so much of the said Constitution and laws as recognize, regulate, or relate to slavery, which being inconsistent with the present condition of public affairs, and piainly inapplicable to any class of persons now existing within its limits,
must be suspended, and they are hereby declared to be inoperative and void." The oath of allegiance required by President Lincoln's proclamation, with the condition affixed to the elective franchise by the constitution of Louisiana, were prescribed as the qualifications of voters. The officers elected were to be installed on the 4th of March; and another election was appointed for delegates to a convention to revise the constitution of the state, on the first Monday in April.
On the 3d of February, Banks is sued an important order relative to the enforcement and compensation of negro labor on the plantations. The matter was placed under the direction of the provost-marshals in the several parishes; hours of labor were prescribed, just and equitable treatment required; flogging and cruel punishments interdicted, etc. A passage or two towards the close of this order may here be quoted: "It is a solemn duty resting upon all persons to assist in the earliest possible restoration of civil government. Let them participate in the measures suggested for this purpose. Opinion is free, and candidates are numerous. Open hostility cannot be permitted. Indifference will be treated as crime,
and faction as treason The
oath of allegiance, administered and received in good faith, is the test of unconditional fealty to the government and all its measures, and cannot be materially strengthened or impaired by the language in which it is clothed. The amnesty offered for the past is conditioned upon an unreserved loyalty for the future, and this condition will be enforced with an iron hand. Whoever is indifferent or hostile must choose between the liberty which foreign lands afford, the poverty of the rebel states. and the innumerable and inappreciable blessings which our government confers upon its people. May God preserve the Union of the States!"
The election for state officers was held ou the 22d of February; over 10,000 votes were cast within those parishes guarded by our troops; and the Hon. Michael Hahn was elected governor on the free state ticket. The inauguration took place on the 4th of March, in New Orleans, amid imposing ceremonies and public rejoicing. Gov. Hahn was also invested, on the 15th of March, by President Lincoln, with the powers exercised hitherto by the military governor of Louisiana. We may also mention, in this connection, that nearly 100 delegates having been elected, the convention met in New Orleans, ou the 6th of April; a new con
stitution was prepared, by a clause of which slavery was forever abolished in the state; the convention adjourned in July; and the constitution was adopted by the people on the 5th of September, by a vote of 6,836 to 1,566. Four persons as members of Congress and a legislature were chosen at the same time, who were mostly in favor of a free state. The authority, however, of the re-organized state was very limited; and President Lincoln was censured by political opponents, on the charge of unjustifiable interference with the affairs of the people of Louisiana.*
Early in the year, a joint military and naval expedition was planned, in order, by a vigorous effort, to open Western Louisiana to trade, and to sweep away all rebel opposition in that part of the state, and if possible in Texas likewise, j All the available force of the army and navy in this department was put in requisition, and the purpose was to move up the Red River as far as Shreveport, where the rebels had concentrated large supplies, and where it was intended Gen. Steele should unite with the expedition with all the forces he could collect in Arkansas. In the beginning of L March, during which and the following month the Red River had sufficient wa ter to float the largest class of vessels, the troops advanced from New Orleans 1 through the Teche country to Alexandria.f Meanwhile, Admiral Porter had
* Mr. Raymond, in his " Life of Abraham Lincoln," p. 490, repels this charge as unfounded.
f Gen. Grant, who had assumed the position of commander-in-chief of all the armies of the Unit«-d States, subsequent to the organization of this Heil Kiver expedition, sent Banks various instructions, etc., hoping that ho might be successful, and might be a ile speelfj Cu. Vlll]
collected, at the mouth of the Red River, the most formidable fleet of gun boats ever seen in the western waters. There were twenty powerfully armed steamers of all classes, from the light to the heaviest draft.
On the 10th of March, Gen. A. J. Smith left Vicksburg, with about 10,000 men, in twenty transports, and the next day joined Porter and his fleet at the mouth of the Red River. The day ■ following, Saturday the 12th,
he moved up the river into the
'Atchafalaya, and anchored in the afternoon at Semmesport, which was now in ruins. Not having heard as yet from Banks, Smith, on the 13th, landed a portion of his troops, aud sent forward Gen. Mower, with a brigade, to reconnoitre the enemy's position at Bayou Glace, where they occupied a fortified eamp. On his approach, the enemy fell
I back toward Fort De Russy, a formidable fortification which they had erected with great skill and labor to command the Red River. Smith, seizing his opportunity, pushed rapidly forward by forced marches the intervening distance of about thirty miles to a land .' attack upon the fort, before it could be reinforced. By a. strenuous effort, he reached the vicinity on the afternoon
1 of Monday, March 14th. An immediate attack was determined upon, which was commenced by our skirmishers, and a sharp cannonade was kept up for some two hours, the rebels replying with the two guns which they had
| brought into position. The order was
to co-operato with Admiral Farragut in an attack upon Mobile—See "Report of Lieutenant General I <r. H. Grant;' pp. 6, 7, 37. 38.
then given to charge, which was successfully accomplished. Between 200 and 300 prisoners were made, including twenty-four commissioned officers. Ten guns were taken, beside 2,000 barrels of powder, 1,000 muskets, etc., with a loss, on our part, of only four killed and thirty wounded. Several of the gun boats arrived just after the surren der of the fort.
The way was now open to Alexandria, 145 miles from the Mississippi, which was immediately occupied, the advance of Smith's forces, under Mower, accompanied by Admiral Porter, with his fleet of gun boats, taking possession on the evening of the 16th of igc4 March. A large quantity of cotton, more than 4,000 bales, was captured, and brought in by the gun boats, aided by the negroes. Fort De Russy was stripped, and its works blown up. A few days after, Banks, with the remainder of his forces, under Gen. Franklin, arrived at Alexandria, and having taken command, preparations were made for the advance upon Shreveport.
On the 21st of March, our cavalry advance marched upon Natchitoches, eighty miles from Alexandria, and gained possession of it without loss. Two hundred prisoners and four pieces of artillery were taken, the rebels as heretofore retiring as our troops advanced. On the 26th, Smith left Alexandria for Shreveport, to be followed directly by the troops of Banks. This place, in the north-western corner of Louisiana, was at the head of navigation on the Red River, about 450 miles above the Mississippi,-and was reported to be strongly for tilled and held by a rebel force under Gen Dick Taylor. Cotton and military stores in great abundance would b» taken there, it was supposed, by our army. Banks's column now marched to Natchitoches, which was reached on the 4th of April, the fleet under Porter accompanying it to Grand Ecore, the river station in that vicinity.
TIIE KED RIVER EXPEDITION.
Thus far success had attended the expedition; but thenceforth it met with serious reverses. On Wednesday morning, the army moved from Natchitoches on the Shreveport road, the cavalry being in advance. Crump's Hill was reached by the cavalry that night, the infantry, which had marched seventeen miles, halting four miles in their rear. At daybreak, the cavalry again started, keeping up a constant and sharp skirmishing with the enemy, until they arrived at a position two miles beyond Pleasant Hill. Here, Col. Robinson, in command of the cavalry advance, met the rebel troopers, some 2,500 in number, and an engagement ensued directly. It lasted about two hours and a half, when the enemy gave way, and retreated to Bayou du Paul, where they were strongly reinforced. Col. Robinson not deeming it prude'nt to make an attack, halted for the night, and awaited the coming up of our forces. During the night a brigade of infantry under Col. Landrum arrived, and early on Friday morning, April 8th, the march was resumed, and the rebels were pushed forward seven miles. This was about two o clock P.M.
The main force of the rebels now appeared, Taylor in command. They far outnumbered our men, and were occupying a strong position, in the vicinity
ot Sabine Cross Roads, concealed in the edge of a dense wood, with an open field in front, the Shreveport road passing through their lines. Gen. Ransom arriving on the field with his command, , formed his line as well as circumstances would permit. Col. Emerson's
brigade, of the 13 th corps, was stationed on the left of the line, with Nim's Massachusetts battery; Col. Landrum's forces, parts of two brigades, were placed on the right and centre, with two batteries. Col. Dudley's brigade of cavalry supported the left, and held itself in readiness to repel any attempt to flank; while Lucas protected the right flank. Col. Robinson, with his brigade, was in the rear of the cen- i tre, protecting the wagon train which was on the Shreveport road. Gen. | Banks and staff rode upon the field by the time this disposition of our forces was effected, and couriers were sent back, about nine miles, to Gen. Franklin to make all Speed for the scene of the momentarily expected battle.
At five o'clock, P.m., heavy firing commenced; our skirmish line was quickly drawn back, and the engagement became general on the right and centre. The left having been weakened, in order to sustain the other portion of the line, the enemy massed against the j j left, dashed furiously upon it, and the horses bas ing been killed, captured four guns of Nim's battery. The battle was hotly contested; but soon after, the | centre was pressed back, ar i the right I also gave way. A fresh brigade came up; Franklin rode on the field in advance of his division; and Banks did all that a brave commander could do: