Page images
PDF
EPUB

concluded, a: I was here a part of the time, and in coincidence that he lost his life by war in the sight of the place all the time, quorum fui pars, tragical manner he did, at the very place where to give you some reminiscences of it; now that he began his military career. the smoke of battle has entirely cleared away,

Forrest is said to have been at the house of a the enemy have gone out of the country, and prominent citizen here, when he received Colonel we can ascertain definitely what has taken place. Hicks's reply to his demand for a surrender of

I have been informed by one of our prominent the Fort, and remarked : “Damn him! I came officers here, who was in Fort Anderson and in here to take the place, and, by God! I mean to do tie fight all the time, that our loss was fourteen it.” So that it is useless for the rebels and their killed and forty-four wounded. As the rebels sympathizers to say now, in order to cover over carried off most of their dead and wounded, it is his disastrous defeat, that he came to obtain impossible to ascertain their exact loss; but it goods and supplies for his men, and merely made must have been enormous. This officer told the feints or demonstrations on the Fort to keep our writer that our artillery mowed them down, mak- men in it, until the rebels could obtain what ing lanes through their ranks, which, however, they wanted and get off with it, and did not care were immediately closed up by others. I was about taking the Fort. They evidently came to told that as many as thirty dead were counted in take the Fort and town, if they could, and had one heap and nineteen in another! Forrest, in they succeeded, they would have shot all the his retreat, told a lady in the country where he colored soldiers and their officers, held the place stopped (who related it to my informant, one of as long as they could, and stripped it of every our officers on a scout) that he lost three hun- thing valuable to them which they could have dred killed and one thousand wounded; and as carried off. these rebel officers generally diminish instead of I have it, on good authority, that Forrest said exaggerate their losses, his loss must have been his men had been in fifty fights before, but this greater-probably four hundred killed, and one was the severest and most disastrous repulse he thonsand two hundred or one thousand five hun had ever met with. Although he carried off all dred wounded, as their wounded were said to the horses and mules he could find, stripping have been strewn along the road, at almost every the livery-stables without any regard to the house on it, and they were engaged all night in loyalty or disloyalty of the owners, and a great hauling them away along the road. Many must deal of plunder, the raid has cost him dearly-far have been killed by our shells, which were thrown more than any advantages he has gained by it

. into almost every part of the town; and many were some are fearful of another attack by the rebels, hot in houses from which the rebel sharp-shoot- but I think there is little danger, and that their rs fired upon our men on the gunboats and in dear-bought "experience” will be sufficient to he Fort. I was told by the officer first referred prevent a repetition. They would, no doubt, to above, that he counted as many as fifteen bo- have plundered the town of a great deal more dies in one house, and more or less of their dead than they did, perhaps as much again, but the were found in almost every house burnt. gunboats soon made the place too hot to hold

Not only Forrest himself, but some of his offi- them. As proof of this, the stores of some of cers, and I have it from the persons to whom it the strongest and most ultra Union men in the was said,) confessed that they had been deceived place were not touched, while they took thouby their friends here, in reference to the strength sands of dollars' worth of goods from those of of the Fort and the number of the garrison. They men considered rebel sympathizers, and some of had been told that the works were weak and not them the strongest in the place. at all formidable; and that the Fort was manned I must now speak of our own men. Colonel by some two hundred or three hundred soldiers, S. G. Hicks, the commander of this post, whose and a few raw recruits of the Seventeenth Ken- bravery and skill as an officer had been tested on tucky cavalry, without arms, and would be noth- battle-fields before, and who was wounded at ing to take!

Shiloh, deserves the highest praise for his galI was personally well acquainted, and had lant and heroic defence of the forts with a little been for several years before the rebellion, with handful of men—his whole force, including about the rebel General (formerly Colonel) Albert P. two hundred and fifty colored soldiers, under Thompson, who was killed while leading a charge command of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Cun. on the Fort, within some forty yards of it. He ningham, amounting to not more than one thouwas a prominent and popular lawyer of Paducah, sand men in all, only half of whom fought at a and district-attorney, before the rebellion. When time—and certainly deserves promotion to a that broke out he joined the rebel army, and was brigadiership. Major W. L. Gibson, our Provostpromoted until he reached the rank of Colonel, Marshal, who had fought in the war with Mexiwhen he received a severe wound in the neck at co with great credit to himself, and who was the rebel attack on Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from at Donelson, Shiloh, and on other battle-fields, which he recovered. He was then promoted to fought with his usual distinguished coolness, the command (not rank, as I have been inform- calmness, and bravery; and Colonel Cunningham, ed) of Brigadier-General in the rebel army, under with brilliant daring and heroic courage; and Forrest. He appeared to have been killed by a the colored soldiers generally with the greatest shell, which exploded as it struck him, and tore enthusiasm and bravery, emulating the white his body literally to pieces. It is a remarkable i soldiers and conducting themselves well all the

time. One of the most mortifying things to For- certain what damage had been done. Before we rest, connected with his terrible defeat here, must left, however, the Tycoon came down with a rebe the reflection that his men were whipped in port that firing had ceased, and the rebels had part by “nigger" soldiers, whom he had come gone. In the mean time, the Fourth division, to take and shoot, with their officers. Captain Sixteenth army corps, which had been here for H. Bartling, Deputy District Provost-Marshal, about a week, under command of General Veatch, under Captain Hall, and once Post Adjutant embarked on several steamers for Paducah, hophere, was severely wounded in one of his arms. ing to catch Forrest before he could get out of . Sergeant Hays and one or two other officers the way. It is said that four thousand cavalry, were also wounded.

sent out by General Grierson from Memphis, are I must speak now, in the last place, of the in- in his rear. An order was issued from headjuries sustained by our city, which suffered ter- quarters, Friday night, prohibiting the landing of ribly by the bombardment and conflagration. steamboats on the Kentucky side of the Ohio Nearly all of Front Row, below Broadway street, River, between Cairo and Paducah, and the crossincluding the headquarters building, was burnt. ing of skiff's from one side of the river to the Also all the houses in the vicinity of the Fort, other without a permit from some military officer. by order of Colonel Hicks, to stop the rebel We arrived at Metropolis at seven P. M., where sharp-shooters from getting up into them and we found a number of women and children, who picking our men off in the Fort. The gas-works bad escaped from Paducah the day before. They were burnt, through a misunderstanding of the were seated around a fire on the bank of the rivorder of Colonel Hicks, who wished them pre- er, and apparently making the best of their conserved.

dition. Here we were told that shelling had The rebels burned the large new quartermas- again commenced at three o'clock, but it was ter building on Broadway, with the stores in it; supposed that the gunboats were trying to drive and also the railroad dépôt and cars. There the enemy out of the woods. At twelve m., it would not have been a single house on Front was said, a flag of truce had been sent in by street fired into by the gunboats had the rebel Forrest. Friday evening, a rebel, who tried to cut sharp-shooters kept out of them. As it is, every the telegraph, was shot dead. Captain Bawkhouse in that part of the city next the river man and Captain Crutchfield, of the Sixteenth bears the marks of shot and shell, and the effects Kentucky cavalry, were wounded in the head, of the bombardment are visible in almost every and Captain Bartley, in the arm. Sergeant T. part of it. The loss of the gas-works is much Hays, of the Fifteenth Kentucky cavalry, was to be regretted, so that our city is left “ in dark- killed. Four white men and seven negroes in as well as “in ruins."

the Fort were killed. Twenty-five houses around the Fort were destroyed by the Federals, be

cause they afforded shelter for sharp-shooters,

CAIRO, March 27, 1865. who could fire directly into the fortification. At Last Friday night, information reached us that Metropolis, we learned that just before the enemy Forrest had made his appearance at Paducah at came into the city, all the citizens returned to two P.m., with two thousand men, and had be- the Fort, and remained there until Colonel Hicks gun an attack on that city. Colonel Hicks, informed them that he could not furnish arms for commander of the post, withdrew all his men, all, and those who desired to cross the river could some eight hundred, into the fort, and sent the do so. Accordingly, many got aboard of the citizens across the river to the Illinois side. The wharf-boat, which was towed by a ferry-boat to telegraph operator at Mound City said he could the opposite side of the river. As we approached see a great light in the direction of Paducah, and Paducah, we saw the camp-fires of these people supposed the city was in flames. General Bray- illuminating the river. Provisions were scarce man, being notified of this, sent up the Twenty- among them, but Colonel Hicks had just sent fifth Wisconsin to reënforce the garrison. Satur- over a supply which had come from Cairo, with day morning, the steamer Iatan came down, hav- instructions to give to the poor, but sell to those ing passed Paducah at five o'clock, at which who were able to pay. It was after dark when time the buildings occupied as headquarters, we landed at Paducah, but we walked up toquartermaster's and commissary's offices, and ward the Fort through the smouldering ruins of ammunition dépôt, had been destroyed; also, the once beautiful city. The warehouses and many other houses, and the steamer Arizona, dwellings exhibited proininent marks of the rewhich was on the ways. The enemy appeared cent struggle. In many places, nothing but bare to have possession of the town, and the Fort and walls and chimneys were standing. Scarcely a three gunboats had been shelling them vigorous- building escaped the terrific fire of the gunboats, ly. When the fight began, two hundred men and many of them were completely riddled by occupied the Fort, and had three days' rations, shrapnel and solid shot. The gunboats Peosta but soon after, six hundred other troops were and Paw Paw fired, in all, about five hundred thrown in, and the rations were quickly used up. rounds, and had two men slightly wounded. The latan was ordered to load at Cairo with pro- The commander of the latter vessel received a visions, and go to the relief of the garrison. slight scratch on his cheek, and a Minié ball

Your correspondent went aboard of this steam- passed through his pantaloons. The cabins of er, and proceeded to the scene of action, to as- the boats were perforated with shot. It was the

ness

CHICAGO "TIMES" ACCOUNT.

fire of the gunboats that did so much damage to citizen ; John Jordan, company K, One Hundred the town. Had it not been for the navy, Colonel and Twenty-second Illinois; M. R. Waller, coinHicks would have had a much more severe con pany C, Sixteenth Kentucky; J. A. Sadford, comtest. Upon arriving within the Fort, we learned pany B, Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry; R. J. Martz, that when Forrest first came in, he formed a line First Ohio battery; G. W. Farley, company D, of battle about two and a half miles in length, Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry ; Isaac Austin, comafter which, he sent a flag of truce to Colonel pany G, Twenty-fifth Wisconsin; W. J. Bridges, Hicks, stating that he had enough men to storm company F, One Hundred and Twenty-second Iland capture the Fort, but desiring to avoid un- linois; P. Byerly, company I, Twenty-ninth necessary bloodshed, he demanded a surrender, Missouri; Thomas Pollard, company A, One Hunpromising to treat his captives as prisoners of dred and Twenty-seventh Illinois; James Park, war, and threatening, in case of refusal, to give company E, Seventh Tennessee cavalry; W. no quarter. Colonel Hicks replied that he had Waldeman, company F, Thirty-first Iowa; Henbeen placed there to defend the Fort; that he ry Nabors, company E, Seventh Tennessee carwas obliged to obey orders, and could not, as an alry ; A. Irwin, S. Hamilton, and Robert Barnes. honest soldier, comply with the demand.

These, with the four hundred taken a day or While this parley was going on, Fortrest ad- two before at Union City, Forrest offered to exvanced his sharp-shooters, and placed them in change for confederate prisoners, man for man; houses where they could pick off men in the but Colonel Hicks'replied that he was not authorFort and on the gunboats. The battle soon be-ized to make any such arrangement. The numgan, and for several hours, raged with great fury. I ber of white Federals killed, is fourteen ; wound. The gunboats poured their broadsides into the city, ed, forty-six. Eleven negroes were killed and demolishing buildings, and killing and wound wounded, all shot in the head. ing many of the enemy. The guns from the Fort The rebels had three hundred killed, and about thundered forth into the rebel ranks, and as the one thousand wounded. The latter they took confederates rushed up to their breastworks, to Mayfield by railroad; the former, they left uninowed them down like grass. Forrest put his buried. Among the confederate officers slain best regiments in front, and, notwithstanding was Brigadier-General A. P. Thompson, a forthey exhibited great courage, some of the men mer resident of Paducah. The enemy remained marching up to the very mouths of the guns, about the city until three P.M., on Saturday, when they were repulsed four or five times. Their they moved off in the direction of Columbus, commanding general said they had never faltered where it was supposed the next fight would take before. There were about eight hundred men place. Learning that that place was threatened, within the fortifications, but only about one third your correspondent hurried aboard the despatchactively participated in the fight. Colonel Hicks boat Volunteer, and returned to Cairo this morn. calmly directed all the operations, and showed ing. such bravery and skill as entitle him to the high

ANOTIIER ACCOUNT. est praise. Around the Fort lay heaps of un

BROOKLYN, MASSAC COUNTY, Illinois, buried rebels, and the blackened remains of many

near PADUCAH, Ky., March 29, 1564. beautiful dwellings.

Now that the sounds of battle have died away, While the battle was raging, parties of the en- and the smoke cleared off, and we can see the emy scouted through the city, plundering stores losses that have been sustained, the destruction and robbing stables. A large amount of goods that has been wrought, the repulses met with, was carried away, and many horses stolen ; none and the victories gained, I will give some details of the latter belonging to the Government were of the recent attack and fight at Paducah. taken, as the rebels were told they were the For a long time past, our town has been threatproperty of a prominent secessionist. The fight ened with a rebel attack and raid; but we lasted all the afternoon, and resulted in a Fede- thought that they would hardly have the temeriral loss of as stated below, and about thirty pris- ty to make one, knowing, as no doubt they did,

These were convalescents, and were tak- that we had one of the best fortified forts (Fort en from the hospital. The names of some of Anderson) in the country, sufficiently garrisoned them are as follows: Thomas S. Wakefield, and supplied with guns and ammunition; and Corporal, company K, Twenty-fifth Wisconsin that it was the determination of our commandinfantry; George W. Babb, company A, Thir-ers, if the place was attacked by the rebels, that teenth Tennessee cavalry ; Thomas Daniels, com- it should be shelled until made too hot to hold pany C, Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry; Hiram them. Smith, Sergeant, company B, Sixteenth Kentucky But we found, recently, that we were mistaken, cavalry; Z. Booth, Sergeant, company B, Six- and it became too plain that they intended an teenth Kentucky cavalry; John Mullin, company attack, and that very shortly. We had inforinaE, Thirteenth Ilinois infantry; G. T. Sharp, tion a few days before, that the rebel General Corporal, company K, Sixty-third Ohio; John S. Forrest, with seven thousand men, had attacked Howard, Corporal, company K, One Hundred and Union City, Tennessee; then that it had surrenTwenty-seventh Illinois; Samuel Loder, compa- dered; then that the rebels were at Wingo Stany I, Thirty-first Iowa infantry; John Morehead, tion, in Graves County, Kentucky, advancing tocompany E, Ninth Illinois infantry; Hanson Hart, ward Mayfield; then that they were on this Acting Assistant-Surgeon ; Simon A. Murphy, side, advancing on Paducah ; and then, on Fri

oners.

day last, that their advance-guard were just out- them, and certainly deserves a brigadiership. side our town; then, at one o'clock P.M., that Major Gibson distinguished himself by his coolthey were entering it. They started a flag ofness and undaunted courage, and Colonel Cuntruce in, but our men fired on it, and it was ningham by his bold daring and bravery. stopped. They were said to be about three Our casualties were twelve white killed, and thousand strong, with a reserve force of some seven colored soldiers ; how many wounded I four thousand or five thousand behind. Part of have not learned. As these were killed by rebel them formed a line of battle beyond and behind sharp-shooters from the upper parts of the houses the Fort; and the balance came rushing into in the vicinity, Colonel Hicks ordered the burntown, and immediately commenced robbing and ing of these houses. As the rebels carried off pillaging the livery stables, stores, and houses, many of their dead and wounded, their exact loss showing that the plundering of goods and stock cannot be ascertained, but it must have been two was their main object, and that they probably an- hundred or three hundred killed. The rebel ticipated bombardment of the place.

General (formerly Colonel) Albert G. Thompson, In the mean time, as Colonel S. G. Hicks, the “ Bert Thompson,") while leading on a charge, commander of the post, had issued an order for was killed by the explosion of a shell, within non-combatants, women, and children, in case of forty feet of the fort, and his body so badly manan attack, to retire to the wharf, long lines of gled that it could not be carried off by the rebels, them came pouring down, (among them your one arm not being found at all. Before the correspondent,) and as it had been arranged for breaking out of the

rebellion, he was a prominent the wharf-boat and steam ferry-boat to take them lawyer of Paducah, and district-attorney, but across the river, these were soon densely crowd- joined the rebels here; and it is a singular coed. While waiting to get all on board, and for incidence that, after serving in the rebel army, the ferry-boat to get up.steam, the battle at the being wounded at the battle of Baton Rouge, Fort began.

Louisiana, and promoted to a Brigadier-General, Colonel Hicks and Major W. L. Gibson, our he was killed in the very town where he began Provost-Varshal, and other officers had retired his military career. to the Fort, where we had about one thousand There has been great destruction of property men, some two hundred or three hundred of by the rebels and the bombardment, upward of whom were colored soldiers, under the command a hundred houses having been burned, embracof Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Cunningham. ing all the lower part of Front street, below Opposed to this handful of men, the rebels had, Broadway, including the headquarters building, taking their whole force, seven to one, and their the new and large quartermaster's building on attacking force, three to one. Fearful odds! Broadway, hospital No. 1, the railrond dépôt Three times did the rebels charge the Fort, and and cars, half the square between Market-House were as often repulsed, with fearful slaughter, square and Front street, etc. Almost everyour guns mowing them down in heaps, besides where are to be seen the marks of the shells; the execution done by the musketry- -as many the gunboats and guns of the Fort, which, after as thirty being counted in one heap, and nineteen the rebels were repulsed, were turned on the in another !--the colored soldiers fighting brave- town, doing fearful execution ! ly, clubbing their muskets and beating the rebels On Saturday evening, the rebels forming line back as they would mount the walls of the Fort. of battle at a " respectful distance" from the After an hour or more of hard fighting, the rebels Fort, agair. sent in a flag of truce demanding a were finally repulsed and routed, when a loud surrender, and giving until four o'clock to anshout went up from the Fort, which was echoed swer, threatening to destroy the town in case of back from the wharf-boat and those on shore. refusal. Colonel Ilicks returned his old answer :

Two of our gunboats were fortunately present, / “If you want the fort, take it.” But they took and participated in the fight, sbelling the rebels care to “keep their distance,” and retired withwhile they were assailing the Fort. After a while, out destroying the town. It was no doubt a the wharf-boat, lashed to the ferry-boat, was ruse to cover their retreat, and enable them to towed out into the stream and across the river get off with their plunder and stock as far as to a place of security. One of the guboats possible before being pursued by our forces. then went up and took position opposite Broad-Yesterday (Monday) evening a flag of truce came way street, and the other above her, and began from Mayfield, where Forrest is said to have his shelling the town with fearful effect, now full of headquarters, accompanied by thirty men, derebels engaged in robbing and sacking the manding a surrender of the town and Fort, and houses.

stating that he had twelve thousand men, and in A flag of truce was sent in the Fort, demand- case of refusal, they would come and take them. ing a surrender, when the reply of Colonel Ilicks Colonel Hicks told them that if Forrest had one

"If you want the Fort, take it." Major hundred thousand men it made no difference Gibson, Colonel Cunningham, and all our officers, with him-he intended to hold them. There is as well as men, fought with distinguished courage no surrender in him! The word does not beand gallantry. Colonel Hicks is entitled to the long to his vocabulary. Whether Forrest will greatest praise for the heroic manner in which come or not, remains to be seen. We are now he and lis gallant little band defended the Fort largely renforced, and can bid him defiance. against such overwhelming numbers opposed to Our Hlag has waved all the time over the Fort,

was:

and still waves proudly in triumph over its could not work the guns on our upper deck, and walls.

it was dangerous loading even the guns behind INDIANAPOLIS “JOURNAL” ACCOUNT.

the casemates, as we were so close to the build

ings that the sharp-shooters could hit a port alWe have not seen any account of the fight at most every time. We directed our shots at the Paducah from an eye-witness, and the following buildings to drive them out; but actually the letter from George Vance of our city, who is an buildings would have to begin to crumble and officer on the gunboat which did such good serv- fall before they would slacken their fire. Their ice there, and saw all that occurred, will be read fire was so accurate that I am minus a new pair with interest. It is not only an intelligent and of boots by it, and came near being minus a leg. .graphic description, written with all a boy's The rebs made another attack on the Fort early vivacity and earnestness of feeling, but it is per- in the evening, and another at nine o'clock that fectly trustworthy in all it states of the writer's night, in both of which they were repulsed with own knowledge. It is dated U. S. S. Piosta, off heavy loss. The fight at night was grand; the Paducah, Monday afternoon last. It says: burning houses lit the whole arrangement up so

Well, our big fight is over, at least for the we could see just where to put our shots. The present. The rebels have not made their ap- rebel sharp-shooters, who occupied the houses pearance, except with “flags of truce," since I around the Fort, did more damage than all the dropped you the note of Saturday night, and I rest put together. They could look right into believe they will keep away from here for the the Fort, and so pick our men off. During this future. The lesson they received has been a attack we upset one of the rebel pieces of artillepretty severe one for them, and I think they will ry, and kept them from getting any of their guns not be in a hurry to try our mettle soon again. in position. We also claim to have killed rebel The rebs under General Forrest were six thou- General Thompson, who was struck by a shell sand strong, with eight pieces of artillery. We and torn all to pieces. He fell about forty yards arrived off Paducah at noon on Friday, and found from the Fort, where he lay with the rest of the the town full of rumors, of course, but having killed all day Saturday. I saw several trophies had so many scares of the kind we paid little at that were taken from his body, among them his tention to it. However, we remained at our an- pistols, the stars off his collar, etc. During Frichorage, instead of going on to Cairo, as we in- day night we lay “off and on," throwing shells tended. Captain Shirk went down to Cairo on into the town to keep the rebs from ransacking a steamboat, thinking that thing was one of the the place. About twelve o'clock that night we usual false alarms. But at about three o'clock heard that all the rebel officers were taking sup in the afternoon the town bells began tolling, per at the St. Francis Hotel, a large building and the women and children came pouring down about one hundred and fisty yards from the the leree. Shortly after our pickets were driven river. So for a while we landed the shell into it in. Then we began to think we were in for it, quite lively, and, as we have since found out, a sure enough. The fort, which stands about five shrapnel went square into the dining-room and hundred yards down the river from the centre exploded, spattering every thing with its load of of the town, and about a hundred from the river- bullets. A thirty-two pounder shell took a range bank, is a good earth-work defence, with a ditch of rooms from one end of the building to the around it, mounts six guns, and during the fight other, and bursted in the last one. But our firwas defended by four hundred men, half of them ing into this house was unnecessary, for there negro soldiers, and a part of them citizens of were no rebs in it at the time, and even when Paducah. The “fun” commenced with an at- they did go in they received cold hospitality tack on the Fort by three thousand men and four from the landlord and lady, who were strong pieces of artillery. At the same time a large Union people and spunky as rats. They, with force was in the town plundering the houses and several others stopping in the house, witnessed stores. The first time the rebs charged up to the whole fight. Summing the whole thing up, the very ditch, but fell back, having suffered the few soldiers who defended the Fort and the severely. Our boat lay off abreast of the Fort, gunboat Piosta have covered themselves with and we poured in a steady steam of shells. We glory. This is no bragging, for the soldiers did worked seven guns, and I tell you we worked tight with desperation, the negroes as well as the with a will. While the fighting was going on whites; and as for the Piosta, I leave it to the the women and children were being ferried across soldiers and to the citizens of Paducah whether the river. I was really sorry to see the women we have not gained a reputation (even among the driven around like so many sheep, but we could rebs and Forrest himself) worth having. not stop to help them any. While the banks were crowded, and in our firing over the crowd,

NEW-YORK “TRIBUNE" ACCOUNT. a piece of lead riven off of one of our rifle-shots

PADUCAH, Ky., March 20, 1564. struck a little girl and killed her.

Few who have had occasion to pass up or down After driving the rebs back at the Fort, we ran the Ohio River have failed to notice and admire up and commenced on the thieves in town; and this place, which is noted for the beauty of its they gave it back to us from every window, hole, situation, its fine wharf, commodious business and corner on the levee, and it was just like a houses, tasteful residences, and above all, the hail-storm for about half an hour. We of course evident enterprise of its people. Before the war,

« PreviousContinue »