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for the reduction of Vicksburg. Being convinced, from the result of Sherman's operations, that it could not be taken from the north side, he determined to get below it, and advance from the south. For this purpose, he concentrated his entire army, on the last of the month, at Milliken's Bend, on the west shore, just above the place, and at Young's Point, a little further down, and opposite the city.

Vicksburg lies on the eastern shore of the Mississippi, on a high bluff, and near the point { a great bend in the river. General Williams had endeavored, the year before, to cut a canal across this bend, through which the boats could pass,

and get below without coming under the fire of the batteries. A fleet could not come up from New Orleans, on account of Port Hudson, where the rebels aad been allowed to erect strong fortifications, the previous year, though Porter had advised the Government of what was going on, and had urged the vital importance of putting a stop to it. He even offered, with a thousand men, to occupy the place himself, and hold it, with the aid of his gunboats. But ihe year 1862 was a year of blunders on the part of the War Department, and of great disasters in the field. The Army of the Potomac had been driven from Richmond, on the one hand, and from the Rapidan, on the other, and shattered into fragments on the heights of Fredericksburg; Buell had been Avrced back from Chattanooga to Nashville, and Morgan compelled to evacuate Cumberland Gap; and, to close up the sad record, Port Hudson had been allowed to become well-nigh impregnable.

Grant now sat down to the tedious work of completing this canal, and turning the Mississippi into it; and the spade and pick took the place of the musket and sword. For six weeks, his splendid army lay idle here, as if on purpose to bring the people to the stool of repentance, for haring, in their pride, attempted to cast ridicule on the spade, as an

150

ATTACK ON SPRINGFIELD.

instrument unworthy of the soldier. Week after week, the only report that greeted the country was, “ Digging still.”

While these events had been passing on the Mississippi, the rebels had made another advance into Missouri. On the 8th of January, Marmaduke, with a heavy force, attacked Springfield; occupied by General Brown, who commanded the South-west Department of Missouri. The forces of the latter were very much scattered, so that not over fifteen hundred men, at this time, held the place. The attack com. menced at one o'clock, and was pressed with fierce determination for five hours, when the enemy fell back. General Brown, while gallantly charging at the head of his body. guard, to encourage a regiment that had given way, was severely wounded, and the command devolved on Colonel Crabbe, of the Nineteenth Iowa. Our total loss was one hundred and sixty-two-that of the enemy much larger.

General Brown, when he found himself menaced by a superior force, telegraphed to Major-General Curtis for help, and, on the 9th, a part of Warren's brigade, under Colonel Merrill, started from Houston on a forced march for Springfield. By eight o'clock that evening, they had reached Beaver Creek, twenty-two miles distant. Resting here for four hours, the gallant eight hundred again started, at midnight, reaching the vicinity of Hartsville just as the wintry morning was breaking. Starting again, in the afternoon, they pushed on as far as Wood's Creek, when, learning that the enemy was trying to get in their rear, the little force fell back to Hartsville. Here, the enemy, who had been foiled in their assault on Springfielà, fell suddenly upon it, to overwhelm it before succor could arrive. But, thougk fearfully outnumbered, the little band gallantly held its ground, and at length forced the enemy to abandon his design. Very heavy marching was done by the men—the Twenty-first Iowa, under Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlap, having,

NAVAL DISASTERS.

151

marched one hundred miles, through mud and rain, between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, and, in the meantime, fought two battles.

There were other engagements between small detachments in this State and Arkansas, during this and the following months, but no action of any importance occurred.

An expedition up the White River, under John G. Walker, captured some guns; and another, under Colonel Ellet, up the Red River, with the ram, Queen of the West, took three rebel transport steamers. But, on February 14th, the ram run aground, at Gordon's Landing, in full range

of a rebel battery, which poured in so destructive å fire that if had to be abandoned. This was not the only naval disaster we met with in the South-west, in the latter part of this year, and the commencement of 1863. A Confederate steamer, fitted out in England, and called the Alabama which had been destroying our commerce for some time, on the 7th of December, seized the California steamer Ariel on her way to Aspinwall.

A sadder disaster still, befell the fleet under Commodore Bell, which was blockading the port of Galveston. On the 11th of January, in the afternoon, a strange sail was reported in the offing, and the steamer Hatteras, Lieutenant Blake commanding; was signaled, from the flag-ship Brooklyn, ta give chase. After dark, he came up with the stranger, and hailed him, asking the name of the steamer. “Her Brittanic Majesty's ship Vixen," was the reply. Blake then said fie would send a boat aboard. The next minute, however, even while the boatswain's whistle was ringing, came the shous, "We are the Confederate steamer Alabama,” accompanied with a stunning broadside. Blake, who from the first had been suspicious that the stranger was the Alabama; was prepared for an attack, and immediately returned it. But he could throw but ninety-four pounds, to the rebel's three hundred

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and twenty-four. Knowing his vessel could not stand this anequal fire many minutes, he determined to close with his antagonist, and steamed straight towards her. But the rebel commander knew his advantage, and, avoiding the blow, poured in his terrific broadsides at the distance of thirty yards. Thus, within pistol shot, Blake was compelled to fight the unequal battle. Nothing daunted, however, he cried, “Give it to them, my boys, give it to them; the Stars and Stripes must never come down!”—to which, three hearty cheers responded. But what was such a frail thing as the Hatteras, before the one-hundred-pound shot and eight-inch shells of the privateer, delivered within thirty yards? In a few minutes, her engines were a wreck, and she was on fire in two different places. “Drown the magazine,” was the quick order, but the enemy was doing that for her, for she had then seven feet of water in her hold. It was a short fight, and, in a few minutes, the Hatteras lay, a helpless wreck, on the water. Still, her gallant Commander fought on, hoping against hope, for he could not bear to strike his flag. But it was all in vain. The report came that the vessel was sinking, and he reluctantly gave the order to fire a lee gun, in token of surrender. In ten minutes after the crew were got aboard of the Alabama, the Hatteras, with one heavy lurch, went to the bottom. Blake lost his vessel, but not his honor, for a more gallant fight, against hopeless odds, was never waged on the water.

In the latter part of the month, the ship-of-war Morning Light, and the schooner Velocity, blockading the Sabine Pa" Texas, wersy surprised by two rebel steamers, and capturcu. These nuval successes of the enemy, caused much chagrin and complaint.

The activity which characterized the opening year, along the valley of the Mississippi, extended also to the Department of the Gulf.

MOVEMENTS OF BANKS.

153

Banks, as before stated, was appointed to supersede Butler, in the command of the Department of the Gulf, in December The duties devolving upon him were of a delicate nature, for both the people of Louisiana and the North were divided in their views respecting the course that should be adopted. The enemies of Butler expected a more conciliatory course than the one he had pursued, while his friends stood prepared to denounce the first act of leniency, as certain to produce disastrous results. Hence, Banks' conduct was closely watched, and, as the result, misrepresented on both sides. His old friends at the North began to denounce him, but he kept on in the even tenor of his way. The wisdom of his course, however, soon became apparent, for, while he allayed vindictive passions, he at the same time showed that he would hold the reins of government with a firm hand.

The troops under his command constituted the Nineteenth Army Corps, and much was expected of him from his known enterprise and energy. His first movement was to send Colonel Burrill, with a detachment of troops, into Texas, who, on the 24th of the month, took possession of Galveston. But, in a week, it was recaptured by the enemy, and Colonei Burrill and his two hundred and sixty men killed or taken prisoners. At the same time, the rebels sent three powerful rams against our vessels in the bay, and, after a short, fierce fight, captured the Harriet Lane, and compelled the Commander of the flag-ship, Westfield, to blow her up, in order to prevent her falling into their hands.

On the 11th of January, he sent General Weitzel, with a land force, across Berwick Bay to Bayou Teche, accompanied by gunboats commanded by Lieutenant Buchanan. The enemy stationed here was attacked, on the 14th, and the rebel gunboat Cotton so disabled that her Commander blew her

up. The loss of the land force was about thirty, while beveral were killed on the gunboats, and among them the

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