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thoroughly outflanked was just what Lee had used in Virginia, with out a word of blame from any quarter.
The Gulf Department.-Sabine Pass Expedition.-McPherson moves from Vicksburg. -Expedition to the Rio Grande, and Occupation of Brownsville.-Banks's Red River Expedition.-Capture of Fort DeRussey.-Occupation of Alexandria.-Battle of Mansfield.-Retreat of the Army.-Repulse of the Enemy at Pleasant HillOperations of the Fleet.-The Dam at Alexandria.-Arrival of the Army and Fleet in the Mississippi.-Co-operative Movement of Steele in Arkansas.-Causes of its Failure.
THE Department of the Gulf remained for some time quiet after the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, in the summer of 1863, which events left the Mississippi River nominally in the hands of the Federal troops. General Banks returned to New Orleans, and the large army with which General Grant operated in the rear of Vicksburg was dispersed to various points. The Thirteenth and Eighteenth Corps, under Generals Herron and Ord, went to New Orleans; Ransom's command occupied Natchez; the force which Burnside sent out to aid Grant mainly returned to him, and other smaller bodies were located at various points engaged in keeping down guerrillas. The Mississippi being now in possession of the Union forces, it was divided into districts, each under command of a division officer, with orders to prevent the passage of the enemy's troops across the river.
Early in September, 1863, the troops that had concentrated at New Orleans were formed into an expedition of four thousand men, under Major-General Franklin, to effect a landing at Sabine Pass for military occupation, with the co-operation of the navy. Commodore Bell assigned the command of the naval force to Lieutenant Crocker, commanding the steamer Clifton, accompanied by the steamers Sachem, Arizona, and Granite City. The defences at the Pass, it was estimated, consisted of two thirty-two-pounders en barbette, and a battery of fieldpieces, and two bay boats converted into rams. It was concerted with General Franklin that the squadron of four gunboats should make the attack alone, assisted by about one hundred and eighty sharpshooters from the army, divided among his vessels; and after driving the enemy from his defences and destroying or driving off the rams, the transports were to advance and land their troops. The attack was made on the 8th of September, at six A. M., when the Clifton stood in the bay and opened fire on the fort, to which no reply was made. At nine A. M. the Sachem, Arizona, and Granite City, followed by the transports, stood over the bar, and with much difficulty (owing to the shallowness of the water) reached anchorage two miles from the fort at eleven A. M., the gunboats covering the transports.
At three-thirty P. M., the Sachem, followed by the Arizona, advanced up the eastern channel to draw the fire of the forts, while the Clifton advanced up the western channel; the Granite City to cover the land
ing of a division of troops under General Weitzel; no reply to the fire of the gunboats being made until they were abreast of the forts, when they opened with eight guns, three of which were rifled. Almost at the same moment the Clifton and Sachem were struck in their boilers, enveloping the vessels in steam. There not being room to pass the Sachem, the Arizona was backed down the channel. Soon after, the latter grounded by the stern; the ebb-tide caught her bows and swung her across the channel; she was, with much difficulty, extricated from this position owing to the engine becoming heated by the collection of mud in the boilers. The flags of the Clifton and Sachem were now run down, and white flags were flying at the fore. As all the transports were now moving out of the bay, the Arizona remained covering their movements, until she grounded and remained until midnight, when she was kedged off, as no assistance could be had from any of the tugs of the expedition. The expedition therefore returned to Brashear City. General Franklin held his head-quarters at New Iberia, which was made the base of operations, being at the head of navigation for ordinary steamers and fifty-two miles from Brashear City. The Nineteenth Army Corps, under the immediate command of General Weitzel, had crossed and camped at Bewick. The Thirteenth Army Corps followed, leaving sufficient force to hold the base at Brashear.
General McPherson, with the Seventeenth Corps, remained at Vicksburg, and nothing of general interest occurred until early in October, when a rebel force, consisting of about two thousand five hundred mounted men, appeared on the east side of the Black River, at times approaching quite near the Federal lines, and keeping up a continued series of feints and demonstrations along our front. McPherson came to the conclusion that they had been thrown forward as a curtain to hide movements and operations going on farther back in the country. He therefore organized a force composed of Logan's and Tuttle's Divisions, with other detached portions of the Seventeenth Corps, which, leaving Vicksburg early on the morning of the 14th October, marched sixteen miles and rendezvoused at Big Black River, where it encamped for the night. By daylight on the 15th, the cavalry advance crossed the river at Messenger's Ferry, closely followed by Logan, with Tuttle bringing up the rear, the crossing being effected on a double truss bridge built by Sherman during his Jackson campaign. At three P. M. they reached Brownsville, the place having been occupied by our advance cavalry at noon, and on the following day the advance of Logan's Division met a portion of Wirt Adams's rebel cavalry, supported by a battery of artillery, well posted in a piece of timber to the right of the road. McPherson immediately sent forward a portion of Logan's Division, consisting of Maltby's Brigade and two pieces of artillery, to dislodge them, our cavalry having dismounted and advanced through the woods, deployed as skirmishers. No sooner did our battery open than they were replied to by the rebel artillery with excellent effect.
While this was going on the remainder of Logan's Division advanced by the Canton road, where they met another portion of the enemy, consisting of Whitfield's Brigade of cavalry and artillery, composed
principally of Texans, occupying a strong position on the crest of a hill completely commanding the road. The artillery was sent forward, and amused them until Ford's Brigade came up, and forme l in line of battle on either side of the road, with two regiments in advance deployed as skirmishers; darkness coming on, the men rested in their positions. Shortly after daylight the enemy again opened on us with artillery, having been re-enforced during the night. The force then returned to Vicksburg, where they arrived on the 20th.
There was little activity at New Orleans after the failure of the Sabine Pass expedition. The expiration of the term of the ninemonths men produced some changes, and until new troops arrived but little was done. There was, however, an immense contraband trade between the Southern States and Mexico. The sealing up of Charleston and the stricter watch at Wilmington-before the two chief inlets of trade-caused Matamoras to become the great entrepôt of contraband commerce. Not less than twenty-five or thirty blockaderunners were sometimes there at one time. General Banks devised an expedition to break up this trade. The enemy had then only a few troops under Magruder scattered between Galveston and Sabine Pass. The expedition was fitted out at New Orleans, under the command of Major-General Dana, General Banks and staff accompanying it. After a stormy passage, the troops were on the 4th of November safely transferred from the transports, and landed on the Texan shore of the Rio Grande. Upon seeing our troops landing, the enemy destroyed the Government works at Fort Brown, and the town of Brownsville was set on fire by their cavalry. The Union men in the town resisted them, and a bloody street fight ensued between the two factions, while the houses were burning around them. The Fifteenth Marine regiment was ordered up to Brownsville to support the Unionists, and the rebels were routed. The place was then occupied by the Federal troops. Subsequently Corpus Christi and the coast of Texas to within one hundred miles of Galveston were occupied
But little else was done in this department until the commencement of 1864, when a new expedition was organized by General Banks, having for its object the possession of Western Louisiana and the capture of cotton. The enemy at this time had various forces in the field. "General Dick Taylor commanded in Louisiana, with about twenty thousand men; Magruder in Texas; and Price resumed the command in Arkansas. It was proposed by Banks to ascend the Red River to Shreve port, aided by the fleet of Admiral Porter, while a force under General Steele should descend from Little Rock, Arkansas, to form a junotion with the troops on the Red River. At the same time a demonstration was to be made by the Federal force from Brownsville, on the Rio Grande.
The expedition embarked at Vicksburg on the 10th of March, and proceeded down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Red River, which it ascended as far as the Old River, at which point it turned into the Atchafalaya, which flows southward into Lake Chetimaches. On the 13th a landing was effected at Simmsport, whence our forces marched to Bayou Glacé, where a rebel force, estimated at about two thousand,
had been encamped in a strongly fortified position. On reaching this point it was found deserted by the enemy, who had set fire to the bridge leading across the river at that point. The earthworks, still incomplete, were laid out on an extensive plan, and indicated an intention on the part of the rebels to use the Atchafalaya as their principal line of defence, depending on the shallowness of the river during most of the year to protect them against the attack of our gunboats. The unexpected appearance of our formidable fleet, consisting of three monitors, seven iron-clads, three rams and four lighter gunboats, caused them to abandon the strong but unfinished works, and to hasten to the defence of Fort De Russey.
Fort De Russey was a formidable quadrangular work, with bastions and bomb-proofs, covered with railroad iron. Connected with the fort was a strong water-battery, the casemates of which appeared to be capable of resisting the heaviest shot and shell. The guns were admirably placed to command the river for a considerable distance up and down. General Dick Taylor occupied it with a large force. General Franklin* landed from transports early in March, a few miles below this fort, to co-operate with the gunboats in an attack upon it. Taylor determined to attack him before the rest of the Union force should come up, and marched out of his works for that purpose. But he committed the fatal mistake of attacking his foe in the rear. Franklin, quick to avail himself of his enemy's blunder, abandoned his communications, refused battle, and marched straight for the now vacant fort. Taylor saw his error too late to retrieve it, and hastened after his antagonist in vain. The Union army entered the fort, three hours in advance of the rebels, unopposed, capturing, without a battle, three hundred and twenty-five prisoners, ten guns, a lot of small-arms, and large stores of ammunition. Thus, by a military blunder, the rebels lost the entire advantage of their year's engineering labor. The fleet passed up the river without opposition, and occupied Alexandria on the 15th of March, the army entering it the day following. The rebel army fell back farther up the river, and was soon increased by timely re-enforcements. Magruder joined it with two thousand five hundred Texans, and Price with seven thousand infantry from Missouri and Arkansas. The entire force was commanded by General Kirby Smith.
Alexandria, which is about one hundred and fifty miles above Fort
days' fighting before Richmond, defeated the enemy at Crampton's Gap, in South Mountain, and sustained the advance of the Union right wing at the succeeding battle of Antietam. In November, 1862, he was placed in command of the left grand division of the Army of the Potomac, and in the succeeding January was relieved from duty. In the summer of 1868 he assumed command of the Nineteenth Corps, and subsequently took part in the Sabine Pass expedition, and in the Red River expedition of 1864. After the ter mination of the latter he was relieved of his com
* William Buell Franklin was born in York, Penn., in 1823, and graduated at West Point in 1843, first in his class. He was appointed to the Topographical Engineers, served in the Mexican war as aide to General Taylor, was assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point, 1848-52, and until the outbreak of the rebellion was actively employed by the Governinent in military engineering, the coast survey, the inspection of light-houses, the construction of public buildings, and similar duties. In May, 1862, he was commissioned colonel of the Twelfth Regiment of regular infantry, and soon after brig-mand and returned to the North. On July 11th, adier-general of volunteers. He commanded a brigade at Bull Run, was subsequently appointed to a division of the Army of the Potomac, and in the Peninsular campaign commanded the Sixth Provisional Army Corps, with the rank of majorgeneral. He participated with credit in the seven
while travelling in a railroad train between Philadelphia and Baltimore, he was captured by a rebel cavalry force, but a day or two afterwards effected his escape. He subsequently officiated as President of the Military Retiring Board.
De Russey, having surrendered, the army was pushed forward, overland, against Shreveport, where the rebels, under command of General Taylor, were concentrating. Several rebel gunboats, which had been stationed at Alexandria, had steamed up the river to assist in the defence of the former place. Shreveport is near the southwest boundary of Louisiana, and as the enemy inferred that it was the objective of Banks's campaign, strong fortifications had been erected, formidable obstructions placed in the river, and provision sufficient for a six months' siege accumulated. After a delay of ten days at Alexandria, in order to concentrate his forces and organize further movements, Banks resumed his march. About thirty miles above Alexandria the Federal advance met the rebels strongly posted at Cane River. Their force was considerable, and their position advantageous; but after a short engagement with artillery and skirmishers, a general charge was ordered, and the rebels beat a hasty retreat, with the loss of two hundred and fifty killed and wounded, and five hundred to six hundred prisoners. This was on the 28th of March. The Union army pressed rapidly forward. The rebels as rapidly retreated. Grand Ecore was passed. Natchitoches, capital of the parish of that name, was occupied without opposition; and on the 6th of April the army continued its advance towards Shreveport. At Grand Ecore the road leaves the river-bank, and, passing through Natchitoches, four miles from Grand Ecore, enters heavy pine woods. A single road conducts through this uncleared forest, affording excellent opportunities for ambuscade.
The Union army no longer enjoyed the formidable protection of the gunboats. The cavalry, five thousand strong, constituted the advance, commanded by General Lee. They were followed by their wagon train. Several miles in the rear was the nearest infantry force. This was the Thirteenth Army Corps. The Nineteenth was still farther in the rear. On the 7th the cavalry found its progress somewhat resisted by the increased strength of the enemy's skirmishers in front. The enemy had skilfully drawn on General Banks, who, with false confidence, advanced with cavalry and artillery, without adequate infantry support, some eight miles. On the 8th of April he sent word to hurry forward the infantry, and General Ransom, with two divisions, was directed to go to his assistance. Nothing like a general engage, ment was expected or prepared for. Ransom, indeed, urged awaiting the arrival of the rest of the army, but he was overruled.
An order to charge upon the enemy was given, and the issue proved the greatness of the mistake. The enemy, under cover of the trees, had formed an ambuscade in the shape of an enormous V. The devoted soldiers, entering the open wedge at its base, charged upon the apex. The wings then closed upon them. They were mowed down by a terrific fire both from front and either flank. The cavalry was thrown into disorder, and began to retreat down the road filled with infantry. The wounded and dying were trodden under the horses' feet. The infantry, surprised by the murderous fire from a concealed foe, were thrown into confusion by the retreating cavalry, who cantered in disorder through their lines. An attempt was made to withdraw and meet re-enforcements from the Nineteenth Corps, farther