Page images



ten shots at her, one of which passed clean through her. The riflemen from the ram, however, picked off the gunners as they undertook to reload, and dashing on, made for the next boat below, the General Price. The latter attempted to elude the blow but failed, and the ram came into her hull with a tremendous crash. The chimneys of both boats bent over till they almost touched the water, while the sound of the breaking, rending timbers told how fearful was the shock.

The Beauregard, as the Queen swept past her, wheeled in pursuit, and now coming up, dashed against her, carrying away her wheel house, and disabling her engine, but she slipped away so quickly that the full force of the blow came upon the Price, ripping her wheel completely off and making a wreck of her. The Monarch, in the mean time, was crowding all steam, making for the whole three as they lay grind. ing and pounding together. She struck the Beauregard full in the bow, which placed her in a sinking condition, and she ran up the white flag, as the Price had just done. The Beniton now attacked the Lovell, raking her terribly. In a short time the boilers of the latter exploded, enveloping her in steam, out of which arose piercing cries of agony, and shrieks for help. In five minutes more she went down in a hundred feet of water with all on board, save a few that succeeded in swimming ashore, and a handful rescued by the Benton. The rest of the rebel fleet now attempted to escape, but the Jeff. Thompson was soon run ashore and fired. The Sumter next went ashore, followed by the General Bragg, the crew of which, fled up

the banks. The Van Dorn, alone of the whole fleet, escaped.

The rebel leader, Thompson, sat on his horse, a spectator of the fight, and seeing the total wreck of the flotilla, exclaimed, " It's all up with us," and galloped off.

The fight began twenty minutes before six and ended at seven-thus lasting an hour and twenty minutes. Our gal




lant sailors had done a heavy. piece of work before breakfast, and with scarcely any loss. The only one hurt on board the rams, was Ellet himself, who received a wound from which he afterwards died.

This once flourishing city presented a desolate appearance. Many of the inhabitants had fled, the stores were closed, and the whole place showed the ruin which every where marked the track of the rebellion.

In the mean time, Farragut had been arrested in his passage up the river, at Vicksburg. The fortifications at this place from their elevated position, proved more formidable even than those above Memphis, and presented an effectual barrier to the opening of the Mississippi, much to the disap pointment of the country.

Not many days after this, an expedition consisting of four gun boats, and accompanied by the Forty-sixth Indiana regi: ment under Colonel Fitch, proceeded up the White river, from Memphis, for the purpose of removing any obstructions to navigation that might exist. On the seventeenth it reached St. Charles city, eighty-five miles above the mouth of the river, where two rebel batteries were found, mounting seven guns, supported by a body of infantry. The

gun boats engaged the batteries, while Colonel Fitch landed his force two and a half miles below, to make an attack in flank

Soon after the action commenced, a rifled shot struck the Mound City and entered her steam drum, causing a sudden escape of steam, which, rushing into every part of the boat, killed and disabled nearly all her officers and crew. Many of the latter jumped overboard in their agony, and attempted to swim ashore, but were coolly shot through the head by the rebel marksmen-furnishing a striking contrast to the conduct of our men at the recent action before Memphis, where every exertion was made to save the scalded rebels who leaped overboard for safety. ?

aria rear.



In the mean time, Colonel Fitch signaled the gun

boats to cease firing, and advancing on the rebel works, carried them with a shout, without the loss of a man. The rebel commander was wounded and taken prisoner; and the place with all its ordnance and ammunition fell into our hands.

In the mean time, Curtis was making his slow, perilous way across the state of Arkansas. Cut off from his base of operations, and compelled to live on the country through which he passed, considerable solicitude was felt for his safety.

At New Orleans, Butler still maintained his vigorous rule. He had come in collision with the French and English consuls, boldly seizing large amounts of money fou.d in their possession, which he declared had been put there for safe keeping by the rebels. Men and women were hurried with out ceremony, to fort Jackson; Pierre Soule and the sheriff of the city sent under arrest, north; nd the traitors given to understand that the only alternativo was submissiou or punishment.

under Halleck was divided up into different corps, in order to hold the vast territory tħat had fallen into our hands.

Naglee advanced against Cliattanooga and took it; but it unfortunately was again abandoned to the enemy.

A heavy force under Buell advanced into the heart :3ť the country, and ii was supposed its destination vas East Tennes.

This was bailed with delight by the people; for that portion of the state, though still under rebel sway, was loyal to the Union, for which she was enduring all the pains of martyrdom. From the outset of the rebellion, the people, though isolated and alone, had never acknowledged the southern confederacy. This had brought upon them the concentrated wrath of the treacherous government, and guerrilla bands had been sent among them to hunt down and destroy every man who dared to avow his love for the old

The army




flag. Their cry for help moved the deepest sympathy of the nation, but the government could do nothing for them without interfering seriously with the general plan of the campaign. Though apparently deserted, and shut in by hostile armies, they still suffered on in hope. Those who could, men, women and children, abandoned their homes, and made their dangerous way to the northern armies--the men, many of them, to enlist under the Union flag, and the women and children to seek the protection denied them at home.

Others formed themselves into patriotic bands, and took to the mountains to defend themselves till the longed for help could arrive, and secretly destroyed the rail road bridges that facilitated the transportation of troops and supplies to the different rebel armies. These latter when caught were hung without mercy. Unsubdued to the last, they proclaimed their loyalty at the foot of the gallows, and dying, hurled defiance in the face of their murderers. The harrowing details of the sufferings of this noble people, during the Winter and Spring, would fill a volume. Chief

Chief among them was Parson Brownlow, as he was called. For many years editor of the Knoxville Whig, he early took ground in his paper against the rebellion, and wielding a trenchant pen dealt the leaders of it telling blows. For a long time he kept the Stars and Stripes flying over his office, and when the rebels threatened to tear it down, he declared he would shoot the first man who dared to touch it. Once, being away, a rebel officer came to his house to take it down, but was met by the Parson's daughter with a pistol in her hand, who declared she would shoot him on the spot if he made the attempt. The parson's profession (for he was widely known as a methodist clergy. man) protected him. a long time from personal violence, but his influences was too potent to be disregarded, and his office was finally shut up, and himself thrust into prison. Threats having proved unavailing, bribes were tried on the old par



triot, but in vain. He was then given permission to leave for the north, but, instead of being allowed to go, was kept locked up till a dangerous fever prostrated him, and he lay for weeks at the gate of death. Too feeble to turn in his bed, he was constantly insulted by his enemies, and scarcely a day passed that he was not threatened with the gallows. In this condition, though physically prostrated, his spirit remained unshaken, and he employed his little remaining strength in exhorting his fellow prisoners to remain firm in their loyalty. One by one they were taken from hin, to be tried or executed; and in daily expectation of sharing their fate, he prepared his dying speech to be delivered just before he should swing off. But after months of suffering, he was finally released, and during the Spring came north, to electrify the people with the recital of his own wrongs, and thoj manis fellow Unionists. The north had boasted of its loyalty, but till now did not know the full meaning of the word. Thuse, who had never ceased to abuse the border states, and sneer at the loyalty of their people, were abashed at the story that the fearless Parson told. To be faithful to the Union, had cost them something more than money and words--it had demanded imprisonment, poverty, the loss of all things and the felon's dvom.

Though the people could not reach these noble Tennesseeans, they opened their purses and hearts to their feariess representative, and cheers and blessings and material aid followed him wherever he moved.

At Nashville, Johnson the governor, labored unweariedly to restore tranquillity to the distracted state. He called Un. ion meetings, and appealed in stirring language to the people to come heartily back to the old Union. Trade was opened with the city, and cotton and tobacco that had escaped the torch of the rebels began to flow north.

But the work he had undertaken was an arduous one

« PreviousContinue »