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BANKS RETREATS TO GRANDECORE.
umph here. The defeat is thus vir- supplies and provisions, with competent attually confessed.
tendants, were sent in for the sustenance
of the wounded; and at daybreak the army But why did Banks retreat, when reluctantly fell back to its position at Grand his soldiers were eager to advance, Ecore, for the purpose of communicating and efface the stinging recollection the great disappointment of the troops, who,
with the fleet and obtaining supplies; to of the blundering disaster of the Auslied with success, were cager for another Sth? IIe says in his official report :
fight.” At the close of the engageinent, the vic
It certainly would seem that the torious party_found itself without rations impulse of the soldiers was, in this and water. To clear the field for the fight, the train had been sent to the rear upon the case, more trustwortlıy than the dissingle line of communication through the cretion of the General. For, the woods, and could not be brought to the want of water was at least as great front during tho night. There was water neither for man nor boast, except such as the
on the part of the enemy as on ours, now exhausted wells had afforded during and can not have amounted to an the day for miles around. Previous to the absolute drouth in a region generally movement of the army from Natchitoches, orders had been given to the transport fleet, wooded and not absolutely flat, nor with a portion of the 16th corps, under the streamless, with Sabine river within command of Gen. Kilby Smith, to move up the river, if it was found practicable, to
a day's march on one flank, and Red some point near Springfield landing, with a river as near on the other. It is view of effecting a junction with the army surely to be regretted that our army, if at that point on the river. The surplus ammunition and supplies were on board these unable to advance, had not moved by transports. It was impossible to ascertain the right flank to Red river, or simply whether the fleet hal been able to reach the held its ground for two or three days, point designated. The rapidly falling river, and the increased ditliculties of navigation, while its wounded were sent away to made it appear almost certain that it would Grand Ecore, instead of being abannot be able to attain the point proposed. A squadron of cavalry, sent down to the doned to the enemy. river, accompanied by Mr. Young, of the Banks adinits a loss of 18 guns engineer corps, who was thoroughly acquainted with the country, reported, on the only on the Sth, with 125 wagons, day of the battle, that no tidings of the fleet and claims a gain of three guns on could be obtained on the river; and we the 9th ; at the close of which day, ing ditliculties of navigation had prevented he reports that it, even if disaster had not occurred from the obstructions which the enemy had placed ward at the critical moment, and main
“The troops held in reserve mored forin the river.
tained our position, from which the enemy “These considerations, the absolute de
was driven precipitately and with terrible privation of water for man or beast, the er
destruction of life. lle fled to the woods haustion of rations, and the failure to effect upon the right, and was pursued with great a connection with the fleet on the river,
energy by the wholo of our forces, until it mado it necessary for the army, althougli
was impossible in the darkness to distinvictorious in the terrible struggle through guish friend from foe. The losses were which it had just passed, to retreat to a
great on both sides; but that of the Rebels, point where it would be certain of commu
as we could julge from the appearance of nicating with the fleet, and where it would the battle-field, more than double our own. have an opportunity of rëorganization. The shattered condition of the 13th army corps
Banks admits a total loss of 3,969 and the cavalry made this indispensable. men in the collisions of the 7th, 8th, The wounded were gathered from the battle-tielel
, placed in comfortable hospitals, and 9th of April—259 killed, 1,541 and left under the caro of competent sur- wounded, and 2,150 missing, mostly geons and assistants. The dead remaining on the field were, as far as possible, buried prisoners—and says that we fought during the night. The next day, medical and won at Pleasant IIill with 15,000
against 22,000. The simple fact that ing; the difficulty of navigating it Taylor, and Pollard after him, with with our lighter gunboats and transKirby Smith's report of the cam- ports almost insuperable; and now paign, are silent with regard to the the enemy commenced annoying us Rebel losses, is eloquent on this at every bend and from every covert; point. Assuming Banks's entire loss the banks being often so high that during this campaign at 5,000 men, their sharp-shooters could with perit is morally certain that he inflicted fect impunity fire over them at the at least equal loss on the Rebels. men hard at work on the decks of Even in guns—counting those cap- our vessels, getting them over the tured with Fort de Russy—they had numerous shoals and bars. The first nothing to boast of.
attack was made at a point called Still, the prestige of victory was Coushatta; after that, Harrison, with with them, the mortification of high- 1,900 cavalry, and 4 guns, persistently raised, blasted hopes, with us. We annoyed us: our vessels making at had undertaken to crush the Rebel best but 30 miles per day; and compower west of the Mississippi, and pelled to tie up at night, which enahad fitted out costly expeditions- bled him easily to keep up with them. naval as well as military—for that At length,' a more determined attack end; and had ingloriously failed. was made from the right or south Not only were the Rebels encour- bank, by 2,000 infantry (Texans) aged by this, but the timid and the with 2 guns, led by Gen. Tom Green, wavering Louisianians and Texans whose head was blown off by a shell. were attached to the Rebel cause; and one of his guns disabled, before while the cowering, silent, long-ex- his men could be quieted. Never pectant, heart-sick Unionists of the was attack more reckless than that South-west were plunged into a new made by his infuriated, rum-crazed abyss of bitter anguish and despair. followers, who fancied that they could
carry gunboats in that narrow, crookGen. Banks fell back, unassailed, ed channel, by infantry charges; and to Grand Ecore; the enemy now would not be undeceived until the giving more immediate attention to Lexington, Lt. G. M. Bache, got them Porter's fleet, which had worked its under a raking fire of canister, which way slowly and laboriously up the soon strewed the bank for a mile with river to Springfield landing ; where their bodies. Porter reports their the Rebels had sunk a large steam- loss here at 500. Kilby Smith's land boat across the channel to arrest its force of course cooperated with the progress. Just as Porter was com- gunboats in the contest. The lesson mencing operations for its removal, was so impressive that 5,000 Rebels, a courier from Gen. Banks brought who were hastening to intercept the tidings of the reverse at Sabine fleet at a point below, concluded, on Cross-roads, and the recoil of our hearing of it, to defer the enterprise. army; with directions to turn back; Meantime, our fleet pursued its arwhich were sadly obeyed. The river duous voyage till, at Compte," sevewas remarkably low, and still fall ral being hopelessly aground, Porter April 12.
PORTER'S FLEET WORKING DOWN RED RIVER.
hastened down to Gen. Banks, attained a cross-fire on them, and in Grand Ecore, six miles below; when five minutes there was not a Rebel troops were sent up to their relief; in sight; nor did they again make and they were brought down with their appearance till our boats had out further annoyance.
reached Cane river, 20 miles below; At Grand Ecore, Porter found when, on rounding a point, they most of his larger vessels aground-were saluted froin the right bank by several of them drawing a foot more 18 Rebel guns. water than there was on the bar at The Cricket, acting Master H. II. that point. While he was getting Gorringe, was ahead, and received them over, the Eastport, which had every shot from the Rebel battery; gone eight miles farther down, was most of them going through her. sunk; and several days' hard work Her after gun was struck by a shell were required to stop her leaks, and disabled; every gunner being pump her out, and get her afloat killed or wounded. At that moment, again. By this time, Banks had another shell exploded by her forconcluded to continue his retreat to ward gun, sweeping off every gunner, Alexandria and below—the return and, entering the fire-room, left but of Smith's force to the other side of one man there unwounded. Iler the Mississippi being imperatively decks had by this time been derequired—and six days were con- serted. But Adm. Porter, who was sumed ” after the Eastport was afloat on board, took command, improvisin arduous efforts to get her to Alex- ing gunners from the negroes on andria, she running fast aground board, put an assistant in place of eight times by the way. At last, the chief engineer, who had been Banks's army being now 60 miles killed, stepped to the pilot-house, ahead, the Eastport having been where one of the pilots had been divested of her guns to induce her wounded, and ordered her run by to float, and only three of the lighter the battery; and it was done, under gunboats left to convoy her—she a terrible fire. went hard aground again, when Admiral Porter now attempted to scarcely thirty miles below Grand head her up stream ; but this proved Ecore, and could not be got afloat; impracticable : so he let her drift whereon Porter reluctantly gave the around the point, so that he could, order for her destruction-Lt. Com'g with his two still serviceable guns, Phelps being the last to leave her, shell the Rebel battery in the rear. after applying a match to the train In the disturbance thus occasioned, whereby she was blown up, set on the light-draft Juliet and pump-boat fire, and completely demolished. At Champion, lashed together, were this moment, 1,200 Rebels, on the enabled to escape from under the right bank, made a rush to board the bank where they had helplessly Cricket, which stood out from the drifted—out of the Rebel fire-the bank and opened on them with Juliet having been disabled and had grape and canister, while the Fort her steam-pipe cut by the Rebel balls. 1indman and another gunboat ob- The Hindman, from above, now
• joining the Cricket below in enfilad- inches per day—a most unusual oceuring the enemy's battery, the Cham- rence-this river being always full till the
middle of June." pion was enabled to tow the Juliet
It was reported that the Rebels had to a place of comparative safety. induced this anomaly, by damming
Still, the Hindman dared not at the outlets of several of the quite tempt to pass: so Porter, in the capacious lakes which discharge into Cricket, ran down three or four this river. miles to a point where he had di
Gen. Banks remained at Grand rected two iron-clads from below to Ecore till the fleet was well on its meet him ; getting aground by the
way below; meantime, the Rebel way, and losing three hours in get- General Bee, with some 8,000 men ting afloat again. Ile reached the and 16 guns, had taken a strong po appointed rendezvous after dark; sition at the crossing of Cane river, finding there the iron-clad Osage 40 miles below, and, with the river fighting a Rebel field-battery on on one hand and an impenetrable shore, at which the Lexington had swamp on the other, expected to stop been firing also ; having been hulled here our army; which, when it should fifteen times, but had only one man be deeply involved in front, the rest killed. Darkness now fell; and it of the Rebel army was to strike in was impossible to return to the flank and rear. Banks, apprised of Hindman; which, however, ran the this arrangement, moved suddenly at battery above, having her wheel- daybreak” from Grand Ecore, marchropes cut away by their shot, and ing his army nearly the whole 40 miles, hence whirling around as she drifted before halting for the night, so as to by, being badly cut up in the pro-strike Beeunexpectedly next morning.
The Juliet likewise got by, Arrived at the river," Emory, with badly damaged, with 15 of her crew his 1st division, menaced the enemy killed or wounded; while the Cricket directly in front; while Gen. H. W. had been hulled 38 times and had 25 Birge, with his own brigade and disabled-half her crew. The Ilind- Col. Francis Fessenden's of the 19th man had 3 killed and 4 wounded. (Franklin's)corps, moving three miles The Champion was disabled, set on upstream, flanked the Rebel position, fire, and destroyed.
striking heavily on its right; the No further annoyance was experi- charge being led with great gallantry enced in reaching Alexandria. Ad- by Col. Fessenden, who was here miral Porter estimates that he had severely wounded. The movement killed and wounded at least 500 of was a complete success: the worsted the Rebels on his way down; while his Rebels abandoning their position and own loss was less than 100. The loss retreating in disorder, on the Fort of Gen. Green was severely felt by the Jessup road, leading south-westward enemy. Porter attributes his reverses into Texas. Of course, the attack on to the low state of the river; saying: Kilby Smith, covering our rear, fail
"I can not blame myself for coming up ed also; the Rebel charge being reat the only season when the river rises. All tho (other) rivers are full and rising; pulsed, and not renewed. Mower's but Red river is falling at the rate of two (16th) corps was in line on Kilby * April 22,
* April 23.
BAILEY GETS OUR FLEET OVER THE FALLS.
Smith's right, but had no chance to next day, rode up and ordered the fight. Our loss here at the front was Lexington to be sent down before 200: Kilby Smith's, at the rear, was the water-by this time considerably only 50. The enemy's must have lower—should have fallen too far; been greater."
and this was obeyed with entire sucIIere—as the return of Gen. Smith's cess. The gunboat took the chute force to its proper department had without a balk, and then rushed like long since been demanded, and was an arrow through the narrow apernow imperatively insisted on-a far- ture in the lower dam; pitched down ther retreat was deemed inevitable; the roaring torrent; hung for a moand the river was now so low that ment on the rocks below; and was the fleet could not be got over the then swept on into deep water, when falls. For a time, its destruction she rounded gracefully to the bank, seemed imminent; but Lt. Col. Jo- amid the thunderous cheer of thirty seph Bailey, engineer of the 19th thousand loyal voices. She had recorps, had foreseen this difficulty, ceived no damage whatever. and, on the battle-field of Pleasant Porter, apprehensive that he had Ilill, while our troops awaited the seen the last of dam-building, orderRebel onset, had suggested to Gen. ed the Neoslo to follow directly; Franklin a means of overcoming it. her hatches being battened down, Franklin approved the project; so and every precaution taken to indid Banks, when it was imparted to sure her safe descent. But her pihim; but Admiral Porter evinced lot lost heart as he neared the leap, no faith or interest in it till some and stopped her engine ; so that for time afterward. But Banks's oflicial a moment her hull was submerged sanction was sufficient; so Bailey set by the current. She rose directly, to work," and soon had a main dam however, and was swept along to of timber and stone constructed across safety with only one hole knocked the channel of the river-here 758 feet through her bottom, which was stopwille, 4 to 6 deep, and running at the ped the next hour; the Ilindman and rate of 10 iniles per hour-a little bie- Osage following her without accilow the fall, whereby the depth of wa-, dent or damage. In fact, two sunkter in the main channel on the rapid en coal-boats, forming part of the was increased over five feet. Eight or dam, whose loss had been deplored, nine days' work of many willing lad only been forced around nearly hands had nearly completed this dam, parallel to the current, so as to forin and had rendered the falls passable, a buffer or cusliion, whereby our vesby our largest boats above them, sels were prevented from running on when the impetuvus current swept ugly rocks which miglıt have proved away a part of it; whereupon, the their destruction. Idmiral—(who had several of his The deeper yunboats were still gunboats at the lead, preparing to above. But Bailey now renewed his make the passage, and might have efforts, with our whole army as his lad them taken down-on rising free-handed assistants; and, in three ** Kilby Smith testifies :
ported a heavy loss on their part of killed and Tre tuok many prisoners, all of whom re wounded."
Ipril 30. May 9.