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fire to at Booneville.” These rough ac- quarter were transferred to the States of cusations were met by General Granger, the Gulf. who led the pursuit from Corinth with a Following these events at Corinth, the body of cavalry. He denied utterly the strong position of the Cumberland Gap, charge brought against Colonel Elliott, at the point of junction of Kentucky, while he represents the wretched state Tennessee and Virginia, where a notch in which the rebels left their sick at or depression of the Cumberland chain Booneville. “Two thousand sick and is protected on either side by high preconvalescent, found by Colonel Elliott, cipitous mountain walls, was on the apwere in the most shocking condition. proach of the Union General George W. The living and the putrid dead were ly- Morgan, on the 18th of June, found ing side by side together, festering in the evacuated by the Confederate garrison, sun, on platforms, on the track, and on which had held it for several months. the ground, just where they had been General Morgan occupied the Gap, and driven off the cars by their inbuman and remained in possession till the autumn, savage comrades. No surgeon, no nurses when the invasion of Kentucky, by cutwere attending them. They had had no ting off his supplies, compelled him to water or food for one or two days, and a retreat. more horrible scene could scarcely be General Mitchel, who, for bis services imagined. Colonel Elliott set his own in this campaign, was raised to the rank men to removing them to places of safety, of a major general of volunteers, conand they were all so removed before he tinued in command in Tennessee till July, set fire to the depot and cars, as can be when he was relieved and returned to the proved by hundreds." The exact num- east. He was succeeded in his command ber of cars destroyed by Colonel Elliott by General Rousseau, of Kentucky. was twenty-six, laden with small arms, With a larger force he might have been ammunition, officers' baggage, etc.* successful in carrying out his plans for
Such, then, was the evaucation of the permanent occupation of Chattanooga, Corinth, though falling short of the ex- and the restoration of East Tennessee to pectations of the public in the easy escape the Union. As it was, after several enof the rebel army, yet an important suc- counters with the enemy, running through cess in its influence upon the conduct of May and June, the Federal troops were the war, being followed, as a necessary compelled to retire from the outposts sequence, aster an interval of a few weeks, which his little army had so resolutely by the fall of Memphis, by which Ten- taken possession of. nessee was interposed as an effectual General Halleck also left the charge of barrier against the armies of the South, the department in July to General Buell, and essential military operations in this being called by the President to Wash
* Letter of General Granger, Army of the Mississippi, ington, to the command of the army as July 4, 1862. Rebellion Record v., p. 269.
CHAPTER L X VII.
NAVAL ACTIONS AT FORT WRIGHT AND MEMPHIS, APRIL-JUNE, 1862.
COMMODORE Foote, with his squadron eight in number, rounding the point, adand coöperating land forces, having vanced about seven o'clock towards the cleared the Mississippi of the formidable vessels of the Union fleet which were lybatteries at Island No. 10, proceeded ing at the time tied up to the bank, three down the river to the vicinity of Fort on the eastern and four on the western Wright or Pillow, where, and at the side of the stream. The rebel squadron neighboring Fort Randolph, the enemy was supposed to be commanded by Comhad erected at the Chickasaw Bluffs, at modore Hollins. The leading vessels convenient bends of the stream, their made directly for mortar boat No. 16, next series of defences, about seventy Acting Master Gregory, who fought miles above Memphis. The gallant com- “with great spirit," and was presently modore, though suffering severely from supported by the gunboats Cincinnati the wound in his ankle which he had re- and the Mound City. The action lasted ceived at Donelson, and requiring the an hour at close quarters, and ended in use of crutches, was ready as ever for the enemy “retiring precipitately under action, and in conjunction with General the guns of the fort."* Pope, was, a few days after his recent An eye witness describes in detail the victory, about to execute a combined action : "The Cincinnati, which lay off attack upon the fortifications at Fort the Arkansas shore, and nearest to the Wright, when the land force was called point, as a guard of the mortar boats, away by General Halleck to recruit the was approached by the largest rebel gunarmy on the Tennessee after the battle boat, provided with a sharp iron prow, of Pittsburg Landing. The fleet, how- and known as the McRae. She was forever, remained at its station watching merly a schooner, has her engines prothe enemy, who had mustered a consider- tected by railway iron, is mounted with able fleet of gunboats to the support of heavy guns at the bow and stern, and their works. A few weeks aster, Flag probably has several others, but they Officer Foote, in consequence of his were not visible. She was defended by wound, was relieved of his command by bales of cotton piled some six feet above the department, being succeeded, on the her deck, and had a soiled and tattered 9th of May, by Captain Charles H. ensign, designed, no doubt, for the seDavis. The new commander had scarcely cession colors, flying from one of her two time to look about him when he was masts. The McRae did not fire any of called into action. On the 10th, the day her pieces, but ran with great force in after his arrival, the enemy made an at- the direction of the Cincinnati, evidently tack wbich had been expected by Com-designing to sink her. As she was within moilore Foote, and for which every pre- twenty feet of the Cincinnati, the latter paration bad been made. The morning discharged her bow gun at her, but withwas fair, with a promise of a fine day, out any seeming effect, and then swinging though, as was not unusual at the season, round, let off a broadside. At that moa thick blue haze was gathered over the
Captain Commanding Davis to Secretary Wellcs. river, through which the rebel gunboats, Flagship Benton, off Fort Wright, May 10 and 11, 1802
ment the McRae came into collision with pick off our officers, as they might easily her on the port quarter, knocking a large have done at a very short range. Genhole in her, and causing her partially to erally, not a man was visible on the fill. By this time, the Cincinnati had decks, and the muskets and rifles of the turned round, and the hostile craft struck rebels were discharged with entire secuher again on the starboard side, and was rity, as they supposed, from behind their in time to receive a second broadside unyielding breastwork. Whenever the that seemed to lift the foe out of the wa- McRae or the rams were within a few ter. One of the rams, the Van Dorn, yards of the gunboats, volley after volley was now within a few yards of the Cin- of muskets and rifles would be heard cinnati, and though fired at and struck, among the cotton, and the balls rattled still came on swiftly, and came into colli- like hail on the chimneys, against the sion with the Union boat exactly between sides and pilot-bouses of the vessels. the rudders. The Mound City, lying One of the seamen on the Cincinnati said just above the Cincinnati, saw the dan- there must have been four hundred infanger of her companion, and steamed down try on the McRae's decks, and probably to her aid. The enemy was preparing the rams had proportionate numbers. to fire the bow gun of the McRae, when Still, the musketry was often very slight the Mound City struck the cannon with after the broadsides had opened upon a shell and dismounted it, rendering it them-showing that the infantry must useless. This attracted the attention of either have been placed hors du combat the Sumter, a second ram, and caused or been too panic-stricken to fire. her to run toward the new-comer. The “After the McRae bad struck the CinMound City gave her two broadsides be- cinnati twice with her prow, Captain fore she reached the gunboat, but still Roger N. Stembel ordered bis crew to she pursued her rapid way, and struck prepare themselves to receive boarders, the bow with great force, making a great supposing the enemy on their next aphole, through which the water ran in proach would make such an attempt.
streams. The Sumter took advantage of The seamen immediately armed them, the vessel's condition, and was on the selves with pikes, revolvers, cutlasses,
point of running into her again, when the and hand-grenades, and waited for the Benton opened upon the foe with a broad near approach of the enemy.
The side, knocking off a number of her cotton schooner-rigged craft again went rapidly bales, and making the splinters fly in toward the gunboat, and the captain, every direction.
catching a glimpse of the pilot, called for "The hostile gunboats were all this a rifle, and when within twenty yards of while lying near the Tennessee shore, the ram fired, and saw the pilot fall. At and firing every few minutes, but with this time the Cincinnati's pilot observed out manifesting any intention of getting a rebel on the McRae leveling a gun at into close contact. At the same time the
At the same time the captain, and gave him warning. the guns at Fort Pillow threw shells and Stembel perceived the fellow, and startshot over the point, and we saw themed toward the pilot-house ; but before he alight in the river or burst in the air, could get behind it the enemy fired, and half a mile at least from where any of the ball, entering his right shoulder, pasour vessels lay. The McRae, Van Dorn sed through his body and went out at his and Sumter were all protected by bales throat. The captain fell, and was supof cotton, and behind them were station- posed to be dead ; but being picked up ed companies of sharpshooters, part of and carried below, it was discovered he them probably Jeff. Thompson's follow- was conscious, and only badly wounded. ers, who bad been stationed there to In the hour of pain and peril the gallant
INCIDENTS OF THE ENGAGEMENT.
captain thought more of his vessel than Lieutenant William Hoel, acting execuof himself, and was constantly asking if tive officer of the Cincinnati, and a resithe enemy were repulsed, and declaring dent of that city (this officer bas disthat his pain was more mental than tinguished himself by his gallantry on physical. The McRae, for some reason, various occasions since the flotilla lest had dropped down the stream, as if she Cairo, having volunteered to act as first was about to abandon her purpose ; but master of the Carondolet when 'that vesa few minutes after she again steamed sel ran the blockade at Island No. 10), toward the Cincinnati, and was within believing the boat was sinking, told the half a length of her, when the Benton, men never to strike their colors, but to which bad gone nearer, once more fired meet their fate bravely, and when they a broadside. One or more of the shells saw her going down to give three cheers must have pierced the boilers of the for the Stars and Stripes. Fortunately rebel, for an explosion was heard, and the gallant Cincinnati and her brave the boat was covered with steam ; while crew did not go down. If she had, shouts, shrieks, and groans were heard Lieutenant Hoel's instructions would have on her deck, as of men in agony, and been obeyed to the letter, and the noble some were seen to leap on the bales of sailors would have descended to their cotton, apparently frantic with pain. watery graves with the seal and satisfacAgain the queer craft dropped away, and tion of patriotism upon their lips. The as the Benton was on the point of firing McRae having retired from the action, a once more, the rebel flag was struck, and second ram, the Van Dorn, went to the Captain Phelps gave orders to molest her assistance of the Sumter in attacking the no further. She gave signs of sinking, Mound City, and had already struck her and floating with the current until the in the side, when the guns of the Mound engine was reversed, when she quicken- City and the bow pieces of the Benton, ed her speed. There was no more harm fairly riddled her, and Captain A. H. or heart in her, that was certain ; but Kilty, who was pacing the deck with a while she was passing below the Point, gun, had shot a person whom he believseeing she was out of danger, she ran up ed was her commander. The Sumter ber soiled bunting again, and, reeling had no further appetite for the engageheavily to the larboard, passed out of ment, and the Van Dorn, which had been sight. The Cincinnati was now unman- shot through and through, became anxious ageable, and taking water very fast, and to vent its wrath upon a couple of the it was feared in the deep portion of the mortar-boats, Captain Gregory's, lying river where the fight had occurred she near the shore. The Van Dorn had one might be lost. The little tug Dauntless, long gun, nearly concealed, on the bow, which had been from the first in the and with this she shot through the iron midst of the action, steamed up to the of one of the mortars. The mortar crews crippled vessel, and taking her in tow, were in no wise daunted. They leveled carried her over toward the Tennessee their mortars, and, though there was no shore, above where the Benton lay. prospect of hitting an object but a few Wben Captain Stembel heard the hostile bundred yards distant, they sent their craft was beaten off, he seemed much great shell at her, and it went roaring easier, and said he did not care how soon miles away in the direction of Tennessee. he expired ; and in a few minutes fell Two or three rebels leaped on cotton into a comatose state, and so remained bales, and with fierce denunciation of the for two hours.
Yankees, and with mighty oaths, fired "A minute perhaps before the McRae the guns they held in their hands at the received the shot through her boilers, crew of the mortars, but did no injury. The secession officers were fired at in Pillow was being evacuated. Several turn by our men from the Mound City, explosions were heard, as from the and one of them is said to have been bursting of shells from the works on killed. The Van Dorn was evidently the river, and the camp on the heights disgusted with her part of the perform- was apparently enveloped in flames. The ance, and was about to seek the more next morning the fleet was set in motion, congenial moorings under the shadow of and, the rams leading the way, a party Fort Pillow. Before going, however, of soldiers was soon landed, and the flag she intended to pay her last tribute of of the Union raised on the deserted fort. affection to the Mound City, but our ves- The operations of General Halleck besel gave her a broadside that knocked fore Corinth, and the evacuation of that off a few bales of cotton, and compelled place, bad compelled the withdrawal of her to drop away. The Benton gave the Confederate forces from their advanher a parting salute as she went in a tageous position at Fort Pillow. The greatly crippled condition around the works, which had been a year in conPoint, having been preceded by the six struction, were found to be of the most rebel gunboats which, with the exception extensive and formidable character, evof the McRae, had taken little part in ery available point of the bigh bluff
, the action. The enemy can place but from the river edge to the summit, havlittle faith in their gunboats, and this ing been fortified and supplied with powmorning they depended entirely on their ersul batteries, while the bend of the rams, believing, no doubt, they could river brought any opposing fleet close sink the whole flotilla. Our total loss under their fire. Many of the guns was four men wounded, Captain Roger were of the heaviest calibre, so that it N. Stembel, dangerously ; Reynolds, was impossible to remove them in the fourth Master, dangerously shot through retreat, and they were consequently the abdomen ; W. M. Mosier, seaman, of spiked or exploded, and the carriages Oswego, formerly of the 24th New York burnt on the spot. A 120-pound rified Volunteers, slightly in the left thigh, all gun had been burst, among others of less of the gunboat Cincinnati; and John size. A large quantity of camp equipO'Brien, seaman, of the Mound City, age, supplies and materials of war, had slightly in the left arm with musket been destroyed. There was little left of bail."* The rebel loss was doubtless value. The troops had passed down the heavy. A correspondent of the Mem- river in transports, in company with the phis
Appeal stated it at eight killed and rebel fleet, in the direction of Memphis. sixteen wounded.
Thither they were at once pursued, the After this action, the flotilla occupied flag-ship Benton leading the way at noon, a nearer position to the enemy's works, followed by the other vessels of the and, baving been joined by Colonel squadron. The Union flag was raised Charles Ellet, with a fleet of rams which at Fort Randolph, twelve miles below, he had constructed under authority of the by Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet from the Secretary of War, was preparing to ram fleet which held the advance. The press the attack more vigorously, when, place was found entirely abandoned, the on the evening of the 4th of June, it was last of the rebel gunboats having left an fully ascertained from the reports of hour or two before. The guns had been deserters, the observations of a recon- dismantled, and some piles of cotton noitring land party on the Arkansas were burning. "The people," reported shore, and other indications, that Fort Colonel Ellet to Secretary Stanton, ex
* Correspondence, New York Tribune, Flotilla, near Fort press a desire for the restoration of the Pillow, May 10, 1862.
old order of things, thouglı still profess