ePub 版

joyed this triumph of the Arkansas. of the vessels of Commodore Davis—the Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, in particular, Benton, Cincinnati, and Louisville--were took the matter seriously to heart. On to engage the upper rebel batteries, the the 20th of July, five days after the dis- Bragg to lie behind the bend in readiness aster, he addressed from the ram Switz- to butt the Arkansas in the event of her erland the following communication to appearance above; and the Essex to flag-officer Davis :-“Permit me to say, run down in advance of the Queen and Commodore, that I apprehend the con- grapple her as she passed, draw her out tinued existence of the rebel gunboat | into the stream, to give the Queen an Arkansas so near us is exercising a very excellent opportunity to ram her, Farrapernicious influence upon the confidence gut meanwhile engaging the lower batof our crews, and even upon the com- teries. manders of our boats; and, in view of “ After the Queen had struck the enethis state of facts, it does seem to me my, she was to come up or go down the that some risk should be encountered to river, as was most advantageous, the insure her destruction and reëstablish Benton protecting her retreat in the forour own prestige on the Mississippi riv-mer, and the Essex in the latter case ; er. I hope you have given my proposi- the Sumter to ram the hostile gunboat if tion your careful consideration, and that the Queen failed to perform her task. you may not conclude that the risk of The three gunboats opened fire; the failure is too great to attempt its accom- Bragg took her position, and the Essex • plishment. I feel great confidence that, led off in fine style, the Queen following with united action, it will be made a at a high rate of speed, and under very complete success. I will myself com- favorable auspices. As the ram passed mand a boat that I shall select to run the flagship, Commodore Davis waved the Arkansas down, with a very small his hand to Colonel Ellet, standing near but carefully selected crew; while, if the pilot-house, and cried : 'Good luck, you and Commodore Farragut will vig- good luck!' The Colonel misunderstood orously attack the batteries, I shall feel the words, supposing the Commodore that success will surely attend the effort. said, 'Go back, go back !' and thereHoping to hear from you favorably as to fore turned the Queen about, and steamthe attempt to destroy the rebel gunboated toward the Benton, when he heard, Arkansas, and that you will excuse the 'Go on, go on !' Without comprehendfreedom of these suggestions from one ing this apparent inconsistency, and bewhose experience is so slight as com- lieving the first duty of a soldier is to pared with your own, I remain, with obey, the Colonel steamed down under feelings of great respect, your obedient the batteries ; and arriving at the first servant, Lieutenant-Colonel ALFRED W. water battery, near the Marine hospital, ELLET, Commanding Steam-ram Fleet.” where the hostile gunboat was lying, he The note was answered in person by discovered the Essex had gone on, and both Commanders, Commodore Farragut was then in advance one half or three walking over the Peninsula, the scene of quarters of a mile. The Queen was now the labors of the canal diggers, to the exposed not only to the batteries of the conference. It was then agreed that enemy, but to those of the gunboat, Davis should engage the upper and Far- which lay with her stern into shore and ragut the lower batteries, while Colonel her bow up stream, apparently expectEllet should “ram " the Arkansas. The ing and prepared for an attack. All this plan of the attack, and its subsequent while, so far from the gunboats drawing fortunes, as graphically described by a the hostile fire, and standing between correspondent, were as follows : “Three the Queen and harm, she was receiving

[merged small][ocr errors]

most damaging attention from all sides. Captain's office, penetrating the iron safe, Shot and shell were raining around her, and, passing out, shattered the wooden and she had been struck a number of carriage of one of the mounted brass times in very delicate localities. Col- pieces on the boiler deck, dismounting onel Ellet saw his was a desperate the gun, and, hitting it, left a deep inchance; that he had staked his life dentation in the metal. A 32-pound upon a cast, and that he had probably shot, after passing through the heavy lost; that those on whom he had de- timber bulwarks of the ram, and becompended had failed, and he could now de- ing nearly spent, grazed the hip of Lieupend only on himself and fate.

tenant James M. Hunter, causing a se"The Colonel was resolved to take vere contusion. Several huge roundthe odds, and he took them. He went shot passed immediately over the heads against the Arkansas partially up stream, of Colonel Ellet and his son while in designing to butt her forward of her side their recumbent position. Had they guns—her weakest place—but the ed- been standing, they would have become dies in the river altered his course some- headless, and perhaps trunkless, heroes. wbat, and he struck her aft of the aft A 50-pound rifled shot passed through side gun, and, unfortunately, a glancing the pilot-house, within a few inches of though violent blow, that made both the the legs of Alexander Ford, who was traitorous and the loyal craft tremble. then at the wheel, and narrowly escapThe Arkansas seemed to shrink and ing the breast of his associate, Roley S. yield before the blow, and for a moment McKey, standing at his side, and passit was thought her side would give way ; ing the word from the commander of the but she reacted, and the ram flew back ram. Jacob Lauber and John McCulfrom her, and, in moving toward her lough, engineers, were thrown down once again, ran into the bank. The Queen or twice from the wind of flying shot, reversed her engines, and, as she went and their assistant, John R. Skelton, was sternward into the stream, her head struck with a small fragment of a shell veered up the river; and it was then on the left hand — the most serious evident her sole opportunity, if any wound received by any one on the there was for escape, was above. ... Queen of the West. The vessel pre

"Already had the ram been struck sented a most dismantled and forlorn aptwenty or twenty-five times. Her chim-pearance, and is as nearly shot to pieces, ney-stacks were perforated with balls ; for any vessel that will float, as can well one of her steam-pipes had been shot be imagined." away ; in various places large holes had After this adventurous, though, unbeen bored through the sides and bow happily, marred affair, the attack upon of the dauntless vessel, and yet no one Vicksburg was for the time abandoned. was hurt, though many of the escapes It was now the middle of summer, and had been almost miraculous. The ram the inevitable exposure of the troops in moved up the river, and the rebel bat- the swamps and on the river began to teries increased their fire. Heavy shot tell fearfully on the health of the men. and shell fell before, behind, and around The fall in the river also compelled the her, and every few seconds one would heavy draft vessels of Commodore Fargo tearing through her deck or cabin. ragut to retire. It was perceived, moreAs she passed one of the upper batter- over, that there was little hope of capies, a 32-pound shot struck her in the turing the city without the assistance of rear, went through every one of her lar- a large coöperating land force, which board state-rooms, in which no person could not then be brought into the field. happened to be at the time, into the Accordingly, Commodore Davis present


ly turned northwardly, in conjunction in the gallantry of his conduct in the dewith the forces of General Curtis, con- fence of Baton Rouge. He was aware ducting, in August, a successful expedi- of the approach of the enemy, and on tion up the Yazoo, in which the enemy the 4th of August, when their coming were put to flight, and a battery and was immediately expected, had his forces various munitions of war were captured ; drawn up about a mile outside the town, while Commodore Farragut, with the on the level continuation of the bluff, in land forces of General Williams, several a circuit covering the two roads which thousand in number, proceeded down led into the interior, and which were the Mississippi, the former to New Or- connected by a straight road, on which leans, the latter shortly to meet the ene- was situated an extensive cemetery. This my in a deadly engagement at Baton cross road defined the centre of the posiRouge, to which place we now turn our tion. The left on the upper side of the attention.

town, where the arsenal and government It was the plan of the enemy, after buildings were located, in consequence the security of Vicksburg was for the of the vicinity of the Arkansas, which present established, to regain command was stationed at a bend of the river of the Mississippi above New Orleans by above, was thought to be the most probsecuring possession of Baton Rouge. It able point of assault by the enemy, and was arranged that the ram Arkansas, was strengthened accordingly. This pohaving been repaired and strengthened sition of the line was held by the 4th after ber recent contest, should descend Wisconsin, 9th Connecticut, and 14th the river and assail the few Union gun- Maine regiments, extending to the right boats at that place, while a vigorous at- with Manning's battery. The 21st Intack of the troops from Camp Moore, in diana and 6th Michigan occupied the the interior, led by General Brecken- centre, with the 7th Vermont at hand in ridge, should be made upon the town. their rear, supporting Everett's battery, At the beginning of August the place The right was held by the 30th Massawas held by about four thousand men, chusetts, supporting Nims's battery. The enfeebled by sickness to an effective Union gunboats, Cayuga, Sumter and force of little more than half their num- Essex, were stationed above near the ber, of New England and Western regi- government buildings, and the Katahdin ments, under command of General Tho- and Kineo below, ready to protect the mas Williams. This officer, a native of troops with their fire on whichever side the State of New York, was a graduate the assault should be made. Early on of West Point of the class of 1837, the following morning, the 5th, about when he entered the 4th artillery. He five o'clock, the atmosphere being filled was subsequently assistant professor of with a heavy fog, the enemy were heard mathematics at the Academy, and aid to approaching the position. Arranging General Scott, with whom he served in their forces on the open grounds, after Mexico, attaining the brevet rank of an attempt to draw the Union forces out, Major for his gallant services. Early in they presently made their attack with the present war he was made Brigadier- great gallantry upon the centre, held by General of volunteers. We have seen the Maine, Indiana and Michigan regihim in command at Hatteras, after the ments. General Williams then ordered conquest of that post, and there he re up the remaining regiments from the mained till he joined General Butler's right and left to their support, and in Expedition to New Orleans. His spirit this way the battle was fought. The and determination, witnessed in his com- enemy's forces consisted of two Louisimand on the Mississippi, were fully shown ana regiments (the 4th and 30tb), two



Mississippi, the 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, within ten or fifteen feet of each other. and 8th Kentucky, two Tennessee, one The piece was finally drawn off by hand, Alabama regiment, and thirteen guns, by one company of the Michigan regiand a large guerrilla force. Their attack- ment, who grounded arms to accomplish ing force numbered fully six thousand the work, their comrades guarding these men. Our actual force engaged was not temporarily abandoned weapons until over two thousand men.*

their owners returned, which feats were The main incidents of the engagement greeted with cheers. As the piece of are thus related by a correspondent :- artillery was being drawn off, the enemy “The enemy, evidently well maneuver- attempted to scale a high picket fence to ed, and in vastly superior numbers, con- flank our troops. This movement was centrated its fire on our centre, the In- for some time contested by Company I, diana regiment, which regiment nobly of the 6th Michigan, who deployed along contested every inch of ground, until, the fence, and in so doing, actually put with the 14th Maine, they were forced their muskets through the openings in beyond their camps a distance of a hun- the pickets, and fired through, the enemy dred rods. This brought the enemy returning the fire in the same way. This into not only these, but that of the 7th murderous and close conflict was carried Vermont, which were taken possession on until the enemy, a Kentucky regiof with yells, and instantly plundered ment, tore off the pickets and made the and burnt. In this repulse our troops fire so warm, the company had to fall lost one piece of Everett's battery. The back on the regiment, which in turn 6th Michigan and its artillery now opened drove back the Kentuckians. on the Indiana camp, occupied by the “In little less than an hour after the enemy. In the meantime the Indianians centre was engaged, a force of the enemy rallied, and, after a severe and brilliant was discovered approaching the right, contest, retook their camp and the piece which was held by Company A and F, of artillery. General Williams, who 6th Michigan, and two pieces of artillery, had been on the field from the com- Company B being deployed as skirmishmencement of the action, everywhere in ers to prevent a flank movement of the the thickest of the fight, headed the enemy. As the enemy approached they charge of the 6th Michigan and 21st In- were mistaken for our own troops, and diana, remarking that he relied upon consequently reserved their fire until them to save the day. He saw the ene- they were within fifty paces, when they my retreat, and at that instant fell from were discovered to be two regiments, his horse, shot through the breast. As afterwards known to be the 4th and 6th he was being carried off he noticed some Louisiana. At this moment the action troops in the rear, when he raised his became fearful, the enemy opened a arm, and, though dying, said : 'Follow murderous fire, and charged upon the the example of those troops fighting in pieces. One gun the enemy captured, front, and the day is ours.'

the other was dragged away. Our small “The enemy, after being repulsed at force of infantry was obliged to fall back the Indiana camp, gallantly charged on to a ditch, and small piece of timber, the 6th Michigan, killing all the horses where they rallied, and opened in return of one piece of the 4th battery, which a most destructive fire, killing every the Michiganders defended at the point man that attempted to carry off the of the bayonet, they fighting the enemy piece they had captured. A color-bear

er of the 4th Louisiana rushed out and * Lieutenant Weitzel, Chief Engineer of the Depart

called on his men to rally to the flag, ment of the Gulf, to General Butler, Baton Rouge, August 7, 1862.

when he was killed; no less than four color-bearers were killed in succession boats. The Keneo threw two shells, but while attempting to raise the rebel stan- it was found that our lines were so far dard. At the critical moment, Company out that it endangered our own men. B, 6th Michigan, employed as skirmish- The Esses and Sumter, during the acers, then rallied and with a tremendous tion, however, very efficiently shelled yell reinforced their comrades in the the woods, where it was supposed the ditch. At this moment the enemy were enemy was forming to turn our left. falling literally like leaves, and becom- After the lines were drawn in, the guning panic-stricken, the whole line sud- boats Nos. 3 and 8 shelled the woods in denly retreated, abandoning their flag, front, which ended any possible advance the piece of artillery, and a number of of the enemy."* Owing to the general prisoners.

ill state of health of the Union troops, “During these conflicts the other arms and the exhaustion of the combatants of the service were not idle. Mims' bat- from fatigue and heat of the day, it was tery, supported by the 30th Massachu- impossible to follow up the enemy in setts, was charged no less than three pursuit. As evidence of the fortunes of successive times, and each time the ene- the day, a flag of truce was sent in from my was repulsed with great slaughter, General Breckenridge requesting perthe canister and grape actually making mission to bury the dead of his forces great lanes in the ranks of the enemy. within the Union lines. In a dispatch The battle had now raged from four to to General Van Dorn, General Breckennine o'clock. In this five hours of fear- ridge, claiming that he had driven the ful work, our men fought with the hot Union troops to cover of the gunboats, burning sun in their faces, giving the states that being unable to take the arenemy an immense advantage. The ar- senal with his diminished, exhausted tillery of the rebels, some fifteen pieces, force, and his troops "almost perishing did very little damage ; it was badly for water," he was compelled to retire wrought, was never in good position, and into the interior. the shot, with few exceptions, was solid ;l An important sequel to this spirited not more than two or three men were action was the destruction the following killed by the artillery. Colonel Dudley day of the celebrated Arkansas, the circommanded the right wing, where much cumstances of which are thus related in of the hardest fighting was done, and a dispatch to the Navy Department by took entire command after General Wil- Commodore Farragut, who upon hearing liams fell, which was about seven o'clock. of the rebel attack hastened with a deThe fall of the commanding general tachment of his fleet to the scene of accreated, of course, some little confusion tion : “It is,” says he, writing from his in his immediate vicinity, but Colonel flag-ship at Baton Rouge, on the 7th, Dudley rode to the spot and shouted out," one of the happiest moments of my 'Boys, keep a stiff upper lip, the day life that I am enabled to inform the dewill soon be ours. As soon as the ene- partment of the destruction of the ram my were repulsed, Colonel Dudley drew Arkansas, not because I held this ironin his lines, so as to give the gunboats a clad in such terror, but because the comchance to assist in the engagement, which munity did. * * As soon as the movement was done in a splendid man enemy was repulsed Commodore Porner. While the general action was go-ter with the gunboats went up stream ing on, Lieutenant Craig, 6th Michigan, after the ram Arkansas, which was lyand Mr. Davis, of the Keneo, United ing about five miles above, apparently States gunboat No. 3, were on the tower of the State House to signalize the gun-August 7, 1862.

• Special Correspondence N. Y. Times. Baton Rouge,

« 上一頁繼續 »