« PreviousContinue »
BATTLE OF BATON ROCGE.
Arkansas. He approached the city with General Daniel Ruggles, of Massachusetts, leading his left wing, and General Charles Clarke his right.' With his entire force moving along the two roads that enter Baton Rouge from the south west, he made a vigorous attack at the early morning twilight of the 5th of August.
Williams was expecting an attack, and had well disposed his troops to meet it, both from land and water, as Confederate gun-boats had come out of the Red River, and the Arkansas was expected. His forces consisted of only about twenty-five hundred effective men. The regiments were very thin, on account of sickness. He posted the Fourth Wisconsin on Bayou Gros, on the extreme left, with a portion of Manning's battery in the Arsenal grounds on its left. On the right of that regiment was the Ninth Connecticut, with four of Manning's guns, in the Government cemetery. To the left of the Greenwell Springs road was the Fourteenth Maine; and next came the Twenty-first Indiana, posted in the woods in rear of the Magnolia Cemetery, with four guns of Everett's battery. Then the Sixth Michigan was posted across the country road on the right of the cemetery and the Clay Cut road, with two guns. In the rear of the two last-named regiments was the Seventh Vermont, near the Catholic Cemetery, and next the Thirtieth Massachusetts, forming the right, posted about half a mile in the rear of the State House, and supporting Nim's battery.?
The first blow in the attack fell upon the Fourth Maine, Second Indiana, and Sixth Michigan. They were at first pushed back, when General Williams ordered up the Ninth Connecticut, Fourth Wisconsin, and a section of Manning's battery to the support of the left, and the Thirtieth Massachusetts and two sections of Nimm's battery to the support of the right. The battle raged fiercely for about two hours, and in the hottest of the fray the Twentyfirst Indiana was grandly conspicuous. It lost all of its field-officers before the end of the action. Seeing this, General Williams placed himself at its head, exclaiming, “ Boys ! your field-officers are all gone; I will lead you." They gave him hearty cheers, when a bullet passed through his breast, and he fell dead. He had just issued directions for the line to fall back, which it did in good order, with Colonel T. W. Cahill, of the Ninth Connecticut, in chief command. The Confederates, dreadfully smitten, also fell back, and then retreated. So ended THE BATTLE OF Baton Rouge."
The dreaded Arkansas, which was expected to sweep every National vessel from the Mississippi, and “ drive the Yankees from New Orleans," did not appear in time for the fight. On the following morning, Porter, with the Esser, accompanied by the Cayuga and Sumter, went up the river to meet her. They found her five miles above Baton Rouge, when an engagement ensued. Owing to defects in her engines, the Arkansas became unmanageable, when she was headed to the river-bank, and set on fire. Her magazine exploded, and the monster was blown into fragments.
1 Breckenridge's troops consisted of two Louisiana, two Mississippi, sis Kentucky, and two Tennessee regiments, and one Alabama regiment, with thirteen guns and a considerable guerrilla force.
? Report of Lieutenant Godfrey Weitzel to General Butler, August 7, 1962. 3 Lieutenant-colonel Keith and Major Ilayes were severely wounded, and Adjutant Latham was killedl.
+ see reports of Colonels Cahill, Dudley, and others, and Lieutenant Weitzel. The National loss was reported eighty-two killed, two hundred and fifty-five wounderl, and thirty-four missing. The Confederate loss is not known. The Nationals took about one hundred of them prisoners.
LA FOURCHE DISTRICT “REPOSSESSED."
Soon after the repulse of the Confederates at Baton Rouge, that post was evacuated by the Nationals, and Porter ascended the river to reconnoiter batteries said to be in course of construction at Port Hudson. He passed up above to Bayou Sara to coal, where guerrillas fired upon him. The little town was destroyed in consequence. Because of the fiendish act of armed citizens of Natchez in firing on a boat's crew who went on shore to procure ice for sick men, that city was bombarded by the Essex, set on fire, and cap
tured. The Essex then turned back, and on her a Sept. 7,
the river had a short and sharp contest with the growing bat
teries at Port Hudson. General Butler was satisfied, at the beginning of September, that the Confederates had abandoned all idea of attempting to retake New Orleans, and he sent out some aggressive expeditions. The most important movement of this kind was to “repossess” the rich district of La Fourche, on the west side of the Mississippi, and for that purpose he sent the gallant Weitzel, then a brigadier-general, with a brigade of infantry, with artillery and Barnet's cavalry. Late in October, Weitzel landed at Donaldsonville, and traversed the region in its rear and south of it with very little difficulty,
after a sharp fight near Labadieville on the 27th. The Confede
rates, under McPheeters, were there on both sides of the Bayou La Fourche, with six pieces of artillery. Weitzel brought up his cannon and moved to the attack, with the Thirteenth Connecticut and Seventy-fifth New York in advance. A battle was soon opened, in which the Eighth New Ilampshire and Twelfth Connecticut gallantly co-operated with the other two regiments. The batteries of Thompson and Carruth did eminent service. The Confederates were driven and pursued about four miles. Weitzel lost eighteen killed and seventy-four wounded. IIe captured two hundred and sixty-eight prisoners and one piece of artillery.
Weitzel now marched on through the country to open communication with the city by the bayou, and the railway connecting Brashear City with New Orleans. It was almost entirely abandoned by the white people, and the negroes received the victor joyfully as their deliverer. The industrial operations of the district were paralyzed, and General Butler thought it expedient, as a state policy and for the sake of humanity, to confiscate the entire property of the district. IIe did so, and he appointed a commission to take charge of it.' By that commission the negroes were employed and subsisted, and the crops were saved. Two Congressional districts in Louisiana were now recovered, and in December the loyal citizens of New Orleans elected to seats in Congress Benjamin F. Flanders and Michael Hahn, the number of Union votes in the city exceedling by a thousand the number of votes cast for secession. General Butler was superseded in the.command of the Department of the
Gulf late in the autumn by General Banks. The latter arrived at
New Orleans on the 14th of December, and was received by the commanding general with great courtesy. Banks formally assumed his new duties on the 16th, and on the 24th, Butler, after issuing an admirable fare
¢ Nov 9.
1 This commission consisted of Major .I. M. Bell, Lieutenant-colonel J. B. Kinsman, and Captain Fuller, of the Seventy-fifth New York Volunteers, the latter being made provost-marshal of the district.
WAR REKINDLED IN MISSOURI.
well address to the citizens,' embarked in a steamer for New York. His administration had been marked by great vigor and justice, as the friend and defender of the loyal and the oppressed, and the uncompromising foe of the rebellious. He took with him thirteen thousand seven hundred soldiers for the capture of New Orleans, and he turned over to his successor seventee: thousand eight hundred well-drilled and disciplined men, among whom, a.3 i we have observed, were regiments of colored troops.
In the mean time some active military operations had been in progress in Missouri and Arkansas. For some time General Curtis, whom we left at Helena,' was unable to do much more than menace Little Rock and watch and smite guerrilla bands, which, in conjunction with others in Missouri, soon crystallized into quite a formidable army, as we shall observe presently.
Since the autumn of 1861, General J. M. Schofield, Lyon's second at the battle of Wilson's Creek,' had been in command of the militia of Missouri, and in June, 1862, that State was erected into a separate military district, with Schofield at its head. Ile was vigilant and active; but when Curtis withdrew to the Mississippi, and left Arkansas and Southern Missouri open to the operations of guerrilla bands, then numerous in the western part of the former State, he found his forces inadequate to keep down the secessionists in his district. When Price crossed the Mississippi, early in May, he sent back large numbers of Missourians to recruit guerrilla bands for active service during the summer, and these, at the middle of July, were very numerous in the interior, and were preparing to seize important points in the State. To meet the danger, Schofield obtained authority from the Governor to organize all the militia of the State. This drew a sharp dividing line between the loyal and disloyal inhabitants. He soon had fifty thousand names on his rolls, of whom nearly twenty thousand were ready for effective service at the close of July, when the failure of the campaign against Richmond so encouraged the secessionists in Missouri, that it was very difficult to keep them in check.
Schofield's army of volunteers and militia was scattered over Missouri in six divisions, and for two months al desperate and sanguinary guerrilla war
I See Parton's Butler in New Orlens, page 603.
? General Butler found a large portion of the wealthier and more influential of the inhabitants of New Orleans, native and foreign, bitterly hostile to the Government. lle also found that, in consequence of their rebellion, there was wide-spread distress among the poorer classes of the city, and he resolved to make the authors of their misery contribute largely to their relief. Ile discovered a list of contributors to the fund raised for the promotion of the rebellion, with the ainount of their subscriptions, and he at once assessed them, for the relief of the poor, twenty-ive per cent. of that amount. In various ways he made thein play the part of benefactors of the poor. During the few months he was there, he collected, by fines, forfeitures, confiscations, taxation, and assessments, $1,059,000, all of which, as documentary evidence shows, he faithfully applied to the public service. He expended $325,000 in feeding the poor of New Orleans; he sent to the Government Treasury $340,000 ; and handed to the quartermaster and commissary of his successor about $200,000. He was cursel by the rebellious, and beloved by the loyal and oppressed.
In his farewell address General Butler said: "I saw that this rebellion was a war of the aristocrats against the middling men-of the rich against the poor: a war of the land-owner against the laborer; that it was a struggle for the retention of power in the hands of the few against the many; and I found no conclusion to it save in the subjugation of the few and the disinthrallment of the many. I therefore felt no hesitation in takin; the substance of the wealthy, who had caused the war, to feed the innocent poor who had suffererl by the wir. And I shall now leave you with the proud consciousness that I carry with me the blessings of the humble anıl loyal, under the roof of the cottage and in the cabin of the slave, and so am quite content to incur the sneers of the salon or the curses of the rich."
3 See page 525. 4 See page 50.
B Colonel John M. Neill, of the Missouri State Militia, commanded the northeastern part of the State; Gen. eral Ben Loan the north western; General James Totten the central; General F. B. Brown the south western; Colonel J. M. Glover, of the Third Missouri cavalry, at Rolla; and Colonel Lewis Merrill, of the National Volunteer cavalry, at St. Louis.
fare was carried on in the bosom of that Commonwealth, the chief theater being northward of the Missouri River, in McNeill's division, where insurgent bands under leaders like Poindexter, Porter, Cobb, and others, about
five thousand strong, were very active. On the 6th of August,
McNeill, with one thousand cavalry and six guns, and Porter, with about twenty-five hundred men of all arms, had a desperate fight of four hours at Kirksville, in Adair County. Porter was defeated, with a loss of one hundred and eighty killed and about five hundred wounded, and several wagon-loads of arms. McNeill's loss was twenty-eight killed and
sixty wounded. Four days later, Colonel Odin Guitar, with six
hundred horsemen and two guns, attacked and routed Poinderter's guerrillas, twelve hundred strong, while crossing the Chariton River in the night. Many of the guerrillas were driven into the river and were drowned. The survivors fled northward to join Porter, when they met Ben Loan, who forced them back and exposed them to another severe blow by Guitar. The forces of both guerrilla chiefs, as well as those of Cobb, were broken up and dispersed. From April until September, the loyal and disloyal warriors in Missouri were engaged in about one hundred combats.
An attempt to aid the Missouri guerrillas was made by their more southern brethren early in August. Nearly eight hundred of these, under
Colonel Hughes, attacked and captured Independence, on the • Aug. 11.
western border, with three hundred and twelve Missouri cavalry, under Lieutenant-colonel Buell; and, at about the same time, General Coffey, with fifteen hundred cavalry from Arkansas, invaded Southwestern Missouri, and pushed on rapidly northward to form a junction with Hughes
and seize Lexington. He was fol. lowed by Colonel Clark Wright, with twelve hundred Missouri cavalry, and a combination was immediately formed to capture him, but failed.' The insurgent bands formed a junction, and in a combat at Lone Jack, in Jackson County, with Major Foster, who had sallied out of Lexington with eight hundred cavalry, they were successful. Foster was defeated, was wounded, and lost two of his guns. Coffey then pressed on with about fourthousand five hundred men,
when he was alarmed by intelligence JAMES G. BLUNT.
that General James G. Blunt, then commanding in Kansas, was threatening his line of retreat with a strong force, while the commands of Loan and Wright were concentrating upon
1 Totten was direcied by Schofield to strike Hughes before he could join Coffey, while General Blunt, in Kansas, was requested to send a force from Fort Scott to co-operato in cutting off Coffey's retreat. At the same tine Colonel Fitz-Henry Warren, with the First Iowa cavalry, was sent from Clinton with 1.500 men to effect a junction with Major Foster, whorn Totten had sent out from Lexington in search of Hughes.
CONFEDERATES DRIVEN INTO ARKANSAS.
him. He suddenly turned his face southward, and, eluding Blunt while covered with darkness, he fled back into Arkansas with very little loss, hotly pursued to the borders of that State.
Missouri was now somewhat relieved, but the Confederates were gathering in force in Arkansas, where they were joined by conscripts from Southern Missouri, and a large number of troops from Texas. Their entire number was estimated to be fifty thousand at the middle of September, with General T. C. Hindman' in chief command, assisted by Generals Rains, Parsons, Cooper, McBride, and others. So threatening was this gathering, that Schofield took the field in person, and General Curtis suc
a Sept. 24, ceeded him in command of the District of Missouri.
Schofield had at this time, at and near Springfield, over ten thousand troops, of whom eight thousand were available for active operations, after providing means for keeping open his communications. This was called the Army of the Frontier. Of these about five thousand were cavalry. He had also sixteen pieces of artillery, with a complement of men and horses. With these he moved toward Arkansas, with the knowledge that a considerable body of the foe was on his immediate front. General Salomon led the advance of over four thousand men. His vanguard was attacked at Newtonia, when he moved forward with his whole force and
6 Sept. 30. joined in the struggle. After a contest which lasted all day, he was defeated, but with little loss, and retreated to Sarcoxie, covered by the brigade of Colonel Hall.
Schofield pressed on to Sarcoxie, where he was joined by General Blunt, and the combined forces, ten thousand strong, pushed forward to attack the Confederates at Newtonia, whose number was estimated at about fifteen thousand. Blunt and Totten approached at different points, when the Confederates, who were illy equipped, fled without striking a blow, and were chased about thirty miles into Arkansas.
Schofield moved cautiously on, keeping his communications well guarded, and on the 17th of October he was on the old battle-ground of Pea Ridge. The Confederates were divided, a part, under General Cooper, having gone westward to Maysville, for the purpose of cutting the communications with Fort Scott, while the main body, under the immediate command of Rains, with about three thousand cavalry in the rear to mask the movement, were retreating toward Huntsville, in Madison County. Blunt was sent after Cooper, while Schofield, with his main army, made a forced march over the White River Mountains toward Huntsville, resting eight miles from that village, where Rains had encamped the day before.
Blunt made a hard night's march, and on the morning of the 22d of October attacked Cooper at old Fort Wayne, near Maysville, captured his four guns, routed his men, and drove them in disorder toward Fort Gibson, in the Indian Territory. Schofield did not even get sight of the foe at Huntsville, for on his arrival there he found they were in full retreat over the mountains toward Ozark, with a determination to avoid a battle until expected re-enforcements should arrive. sued them some distance, when he turned northward, and marched to
* See page 191.