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FAILURE OF THE ATTEMPT.

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[SECT. X

the enemy, rallying, attacked in turn, and captured many prisoners. Had Morgan energetically supported his lead ing brigades, he might have secured a lodgment and oc cupied the face of the hill. At that moment Sherman was superintending the movement at the other point of real attack, where M. L. Smith's division was to cross. There the water was so deep that the men could only cross in single file at great hazard, as the enemy occupied the levee on the opposite side. The Sixth Missouri, however, did cross and get so close under the bank that they were comparatively safe, but they could not get up it. By the time Sherman could reach Morgan, the broken fragments of Blair's and De Courcy's brigades had come back. The enemy had detected the real points of attack, and had rallied to them.

The ground was very blind and difficult on the na tional side, but the Confederates could look down from their bluff, and detect every

movement. Though the attempt had thus been most resolutely made, it failed. The enemy's line had not been forced.

Failure in forcing the Confederate line.

The national loss was 191 killed, 982 wounded, 756 missing. Total, 1929. Of the missing a majority were probably taken prisoners.

Sherman prepares

Sherman now ordered all the positions to be strengthened, and, in an interview with Admiral to renew the attack. Porter, arranged to embark Steele's divis ion, to make a strong attack on Haines's Bluff, while he should renew the attack at Chickasaw, and effect a lodg ment. The movement was intended for night. Steele's troops were accordingly all embarked, but so heavy a fog settled that, just before daylight, Porter sent a message that he could not see to steer the boats, and, as the movement would have to be made by daylight, he doubted its success.

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CHAP. LI.]

The Confederates were now fast receiving re-enforcements. Not without reason did they triumph in their double success. They had forced Grant back, and had defeated Sherman. Trains of cars could be heard coming in almost every hour, and fresh troops could be seen on the bluffs. It was plain that they were either from Haines's Bluff or from Pemberton's army.

ARKANSAS POST..

It is abandoned.

325

At this time, notwithstanding every precaution, the national camp was full of spies. From these Pemberton had heard of Sherman's movements and of Grant's change of plan. He was enabled by his railroads to throw into Vicksburg a force too great to be overcome. Sherman had just concluded that he could not break the enemy's lines when General McClernand arrived. To him, as the senior officer, Sherman reported at the mouth of the Yazoo, explaining the state of affairs, and receiving a confirmation of his order for abandoning the attempt on Vicksburg. McClernand brought down the river the first authentic news of Grant's abandonment of the other line of attack, and the return to Memphis of the advance of his army. It happened that Sherman had left Memphis in so much haste that he had not a full supply of ammunition suited to his guns. It had been sent down the Mississippi after him on a boat, which was captured by the Confederates as it passed by the mouth of the Arkansas River. This circumstance satisfied Sherman that before operations could be conducted against Vicksburg by the Mississippi River it would be necessary to reduce Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman), a well-constructed fort forty miles up the Arkansas, behind which the Confederates kept several steam-boats for the purpose of sallying forth from that river and molesting the line of supply. The fort was on the site of an old French settlement of 1685. Sherman represented the matter to McClernand, who was then in command, in the

CAPTURE OF ARKANSAS POST.

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presence of Admiral Porter, and, with great difficulty, prevailed on him to consent to the expedition. On the 10th of January the gun-boats shelled the Confederate sharpshooters out of their rifle-pits, and, under their fire, the troops pushed up through the half-frozen, miry swamps. In the cold wintry night, without fires, they made ready for an assault the next day, when, encountering a heavy fire and suffering severely, the troops advanced within musket range of the defenses. The guns of the fort had been silenced, and, as the men were moving to the asThe capture of Ar- Sault, a white flag was hoisted on the place, and it was surrendered. Sherman himself was the second person to ride over the parapet. 5000 prisoners, 17 guns, 3000 small-arms, and a large quantity of stores were taken. The national loss was 977 men. The expedition then dropped back to Milliken's Bend, where Grant joined it, and from that time till July 4th he commanded the army in person. The Mississippi thus became the great artery of his supply until the final campaign.

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CHAPTER LII.

THE FALL OF NEW ORLEANS AND FIRST FORCING OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BY FARRAGUT.

The national government determined on a naval expedition for the capture of New Orleans, and assigned Farragut to its command. An auxiliary land force was placed under the command of Butler.

Farragut, with a fleet of wooden ships, forced his way past the forts defending New Orleans. He destroyed the Confederate fleet, which had several armored ships, and captured the city.

He then sent a squadron up the Mississippi, reducing the chief towns upon it. He subjected Vicksburg to an ineffectual bombardment, forced his way past its batteries, and made a junction with the fleet from Cairo.

Again passing the batteries, he descended the river and reduced the chief places on the Texan coast.

The government of New Orleans as administered by Butler.

WHOEVER is strong enough to hold New Orleans is master of the Mississippi Valley.

New Orleans was not only the largest, but also the most important city of the Confederacy. The charge of it was at first committed to General Twiggs, as a reward for his having surrendered the United States army under his command in Texas (vol. i., p. 544). But a more ener getic officer being required, General Lovell had been appointed in his stead.

for the

In the autumn of 1861, the national government resolved upon the capture and occupation of capture of New Or- this city. It was considered expedient not to wait for the progress of the military combinations then in preparation for a forcible passage down the river, but to accomplish the object by a special naval expedition fitted out from the Atlantic ports.

The command of this expedition was assigned to Cap

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FARRAGUT'S ATTACK ON NEW ORLEANS.

[SECT. X.

tain D. G. Farragut, an officer of great skill and daring.

The fleet under com

mand of Farragut.

In addition to the squadron employed in enforcing the blockade on the western portions of the Gulf, a large fleet of armed steamers and a bomb flotilla was ordered to join the expedition. This flotilla of mortar vessels, twenty-one in number, and capable of throwing 13-inch shells, was under the orders of Commander Porter.

Though General McClellan admitted that the capture of New Orleans would be followed by important results, he would not permit troops to be taken from his already unmanageable Army of the Potomac. A force was, however, sent to Ship Island before the close of 1861, but it was not until Stanton was appointed to the War Department that vigor was infused into the undertaking. An The land force un army of eighteen thousand men was then furnished. Major General Butler was assigned to its command. He was to assist the expedition, and hold New Orleans after it was taken. On the 25th of February, 1862, Butler sailed from Hampton Roads. Farragut had already (February 20th) reached Ship Island, in Mississippi Sound.

der Butler.

The Mississippi River, continuing the work in which it many thousand Topography of the has been engaged for years, Mississippi, is steadily encroaching on the waters of the Gulf. Its long watery arm, gauntleted in swamps and mud, spreads out, as it were, into a grasping hand, of which the fingers are the Pass a l'Outre, Northeast Pass, Southeast Pass, South Pass, Southwest Pass. At a bend about thirty miles up, where the river flows eastwardly, the United States had formerly built two powerful works, Fort Jackson on the south bank, and Fort St. Philip on and defenses of New the north. These barred the approach to the city from the Gulf, and had been armed by the Confederates with 126 guns of long range and large

Orleans.

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