Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

It is with no ordinary feelings of pleasure that bright sabres gleaming in the sunshine, and the the department learns of the safe passage of that rebels falling back rapidly. Major Bassford purvaluable squadron, threatened as it was with in- sued them seven miles, killing and wounding evitable capture or destruction, and congratulates sone, and taking many prisoners. Fearful of you and your command that the fleet which had being cut off from the main body, the Major borne such a conspicuous part in many of the withdrew from the pursuit, but fought them galgreat events of the war has been spared to the lantly until the arrival of Colonel Lucas. The country for future usefulness and renown. . Colonel was not long in coming up, and imme

You will tender the thanks of the department diately formed his whole brigade in line. He to the officers and men of the army for the cheer-moved forward a short distance, and was met ful aid given you in this great emergency, with-with what promised to be a determined resistout which the squadron would unavoidably have ance, but they could not withstand the fury of fallen into the hands of the rebels or been destroy- his onslaught, and were compelled to give way, ed. While regretting the loss of the steamers after a very severe fight of about one hour. Signal and Covington, and lamenting for the The hottest of the fight took place at Crump's brave men who fell in the engagement with the Hill, where the roads leading from Pleasant Hill enemy, the department takes great pleasure in and Fort Jessup come together on the Shreveexpressing its admiration of the gallant manner port road, and about twelve miles distant from in which those vessels were defended, and has both the first-named places. Captain Rawle's batreason to believe that the officers and men did tery of the Fifth United States artillery took a their whole duty nobly and faithfully.

very active and creditable part in the fight. Very respectfully,

Colonel Dudley came up with his brigade in GIDEON WELLES, time to give the rebels a few parting shots.

Secretary of the Navy. Colonel Robinson's brigade was in the rear, Rear-Admiral D. D. PORTER,

but is now on the ground, ready to take part in Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Cairo, III,

the action to-morrow, if the rebels see proper to OPERATIONS OF THE ARMY.

accept the offer of battle ; and they may be com

pelled to fight, whether they like it or not. CAPTURE OF NATCHITOCHES, LA.

The fight took place in a densely wooded and IN THE FIELD, NEAR NATCHITOCHES, LA., April 2, 1864. uneven country, known as the Piny Woods, and The army under General Banks having arrived both cavalry and artillery found it difficult to from various points at Alexandria, on Monday operate. morning, March twenty-eighth, General Lee, at The force opposed to us was composed of the the head of his cavalry division, dashed out in First and Second Louisiana; Fifth, Seventh, and the direction of Natchitoches, where it was sup- Bray's Texas cavalry; Moreton's brigade; and posed the enemy would be found in some force. one battery of artillery, numbering in all about Early on the following morning he reached Cane three thousand men. Walker's division was River, and immediately commenced the erection camped here last night, but moved on to Pleas. of a bridge. Owing to the width of the stream, ant Hill this morning. The rebels have now all the inclemency of the weather, and other draw- fallen back toward Pleasant Hill, where it is backs, it was not completed until late at night, thought they will make a stand. when the General crossed over and moved to General Lee was on the field, and gave the diwithin a short distance of Natchitoches, twenty- rection of affairs in a manner that convinced all five miles distant. On Thursday morning he ad parties that he knew exactly what was to be vanced to the town, and was met by the enemy, done, and how to do it. He seems determined whom he completely routed after a brisk but that the laurels won on other fields shall not short skirmish. The rebels lost six or eight wither or fade, and that if energy, ability, courkilled and wounded and twenty-five prisoners. age, and constant watchfulness are of avail, anUnion loss none.

other star shall be added to the one that already General Dick Taylor commanded the rebels. glitters on his shoulder. He has not only openHis force was supposed to number one thousanded the main roads so far, but he has sent expe. men at least.

ditions right and left, and driven the guerrillas All day Friday General Lee waited for the in almost entirely from the country. fantry and artillery to come up, and this morn. Our loss was one private of the Fourteenth ing, learning that the rebels were falling back New-York cavalry, one private of the Second toward Pleasant Hill, he started in pursuit with Louisiana cavalry, two privates of the Second the First brigade, Colonel Lucas; Third brigade, Illinois cavalry, and one private of the Sixteenth Colonel Robinson; Fourth brigade, Colonel Dud- Indiana mounted infantry. ley. The Fourteenth New-York cavalry had the Many rebels were killed and wounded, and advance, under command of Major Bassford. about sixty taken prisoners. After marching a distance of fifteen miles, Major Our cavalry lost about thirty horses killed and Bassford came suddenly upon the enemy, posted wounded in a strong position. They opened upon him General Lee speaks in the highest terms of the with artillery, when the gallant Major immedi- bravery and skill of the officers and men enately ordered a charge, and the willing boys gaged, and is perfectly satisfied with the result obeyed with a cheer. At them they went, their of the engagement.

HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTU) three hundred men: Three hundred of the ARMY CORPS, ON BOARD STRAMER CLARA BELL,

Second New-York cavalry, two hundred from Grand Ecore, La., April 5, 1864. )

the Third Rhode Island, and one hundred men EXPEDITION AFTER HARRISON's GUERRILLAS.

from the Eighteenth New York cavalry, together Brigadier-General A. J. Smith, commanding with tiro regiments of infantry under command detachment of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth of Colonel Hubbard of the Fish Minnesota, comarmy corps, reached this celebrated point on prising the Thirty-fifth Jowa, Lieutenant Keeler. Sunday afternoon, Admiral Porter's fleet of iron- and the Fifth Minnesota volunteers. As our clads having preceded our transports up this cavalry scouts advanced within a mile of the crooked river. Major-General Banks and staff town, the rebels, who were concealed behind arrived here at sundown. Sunday, on his flag- trees and bushes, opened a fearful and deadly ship Black Hawk. Our gunboats met with no fire upon them, causing many a brave fellow to opposition on the trip up the river. A gang of writhe in the dust. Our skirmishers were at rebels fired from the steep banks of the river once dismounted and deployed, with the expecupon a small steam-tug without injuring any one tation of flanking the enemy. As fast as our on board. Natchitoches, one of the oldest and men advanced, however, the chivalrous foe remost picturesque towns in this State, which is treated, endeavoring to draw our men toward six miles from Grand Ecore by land, was occu- the town. Finding it impossible to get within pied by the advance of General Lee's cavalry carbine-range, Colonel Gooding ordered a charge force, without any molestation from the enemy in the direction of a small bridge spanning a on Saturday. Our colors now float from the bayou, where the rebels appeared to be making town-house, and the inhabitants appear to be a stand. At the word of command, our cavalry perfectly reconciled to the sudden entrée of the dashed bravely on to the foe; but, sad to relate. i. Yankee horde" into their peaceful but sadly an unforeseen misfortune thwarted all their heroimpoverished town, and thus far no insults have lic attempts to dislodge the enemy. Arriving at been offered our troops, who seem to reciprocate the bridge, our squadrons were suddenly halted this respect by behaving with the utmost deco- in considerable disorder by discovering that sev. rum. T'he ladies have been known to look upon eral planks had been removed from the flooring some of our gallant soldiers as they passed be- of the bridge. The enemy, during the confusion, neath their balconies without a frown, which in- took advantage of our dilemma and poured a dicates a hopeful state of feeling, for generally heavy volley into our men from their hiding. the feminine gender in this section of the so-l places on the opposite bank of the bayou. It called Confederacy are most virulent rebels, and was at this point that Adjutant Dunn, while gal"they never allow an opportunity to pass without lantly leading on his men, fell mortally wounded, hurling bitter invectives against the Northern la bullet piercing his head. Few lives have fallen people and their abominable institutions. at the hands of the merciless foe during this

The exceedingly low water in Red River this war that will be more universally lamented than season, has operated most seriously against our warm, noble, generous-hearted Adjutant Dunn, projected movements, causing a postponement the pride of his regiment. Colonel Gooding at of the victories which are sure to greet our forces once deployed his infantry and cavalry, and was in this department as soon as the advance on in the act of flanking the town, experiencing Shreveport begins. At present we are at a stand- great difficulty in crossing the bayou, when, unstill, several transports and gunboats having got fortunately, the gunboats approached, and, hearaground on the way up from Alexandria. Ad- ing the firing, they opened upon the town with miral Porter feels quite confident a sufficient one or two of their heaviest guns. Several rise will take place within three or four days to shells burst in close proximity to our advance, admit of the passage of all our transports and and Colonel Gooding, after endeavoring to signal the iron-clad fleet. In crossing the falls at Al- the boats by waving his handkerchief, failed to exandria, the Eastport, one of our most valuable attract the attention of the officers of the fleet. and formidable iron rams, ran aground on the Major Davis, of the Third Rhode Island cavalry. shoals, and for thirty hours her condition caused | was sent on board to notify the gunboats of the the most serious apprehensions, all attempts to mischief. The rebels embraced the opportunity haul the grim monster off by means of hawsers to retreat, and thus all our efforts to capture proving ineffectual.. The efforts of several tugs them were foiled. and transports finally released her from her per-/ Our loss was much heavier than that of the ilous position without any serious injury. enemy, the cavalry sustaining the entire loss in

killed and wounded. I am indebted to Surgeon EXPEDITION TO CAMPTI.

A. T. Bartlett, of the Thirty-third Missouri vol. At half-past eight o'clock Monday morning, unteers, for the following list of casualties. The General A. Smith ordered Colonel Gooding, wounded are now being placed on board the commanding the Sixth Massachusetts cavalry, to steamer Jennie Rogers, preparatory to their reproceed with the following troops upon a recon- moval to Alexandria, where suitable hospitals noissance to the town of Campti, six miles dis- have been established for the reception of sick tant, for the purpose of capturing or dislodging and wounded troops. Our loss was ten killed a band of Harrison's guerrillas, numbering some and eighteen wounded.

BATTLE OF PLEASANT HILL. Banks's staff, arrived at General Smith's head

IN THE FIELD, PLEASANT Hill, La., quarters and imparted the gloomy information.
Saturday, April 9, 1864.

An order was at once issued by General Smith General Andrew Jackson Smith, commanding for his troops to be in readiness before daylight detatchments Sixteenth and Seventeenth army for a march. Nothing beyond some slight skircorps, after being delayed five hours by a brigade mishing along our front, at Pleasant Hill, discavalry wagon-train long enough for transporting turbed the monotony of Saturday forenoon. the troops of a good-sized army, reached Pleasant At noon, two or three buildings were set on Hill at sundown yesterday, according to his fire and burnt to the ground, in order to give our promise with General Banks several days previ. artillery full range on the low belt of woods that ous. It was only through the greatest personal skirted the open hollow in front of the rebel exertions of General Smith that his troops were lines. The nature of the ground on which our hurried through the thick pine country, while the lines of defence were formed, rendered it neces. narrow road was completely blocked up with this say for an open-field fight, if the enemy should long train, half of the wagons filled with trunks, venture to attack us. Pleasant Hill is a small chairs, valises, and other cumbersome baggage, village of about two hundred inhabitants, situat. such as greatly embarrass, and oftentimes, as in ed on a slight eminence, thirty-five miles from the disaster of yesterday, imperil the lives of Grand Ecore. The town boasts of a miserable thousands of men.

one-story hut, which was dignified with the namo Finding the officers in charge were not compe- of hotel, three stores, and an academy. At a quartent men, General Smith at once ordered Colonel ter past four o'clock Saturday afternoon, while Shaw, commanding Third brigade, to place the the wagon-trains of the Nineteenth army corps Fourteenth Iowa infantry in front with fixed were moving rapidly to the rear, the enemy bayonets, and, if necessary, fight their way suddenly opened on our right and centre with through the road. Finding it useless to dally four pieces of artillery, which was promptly relonger, the sleepy, indigent crowd got waked up, sponded to by the Twenty-fifth Neir-York batand, rather than submit to a bayonet-charge, tery, and the First Vermont battery. they concluded to “get up and git," as the sol- The disposition of our troops was as follows: diers say. Late in the afternoon quite heavy On the left, Colonel Lynch, Second brigade, Third cannonading was heard about fourteen miles division, Sixteenth army corps, consisting of the distant, and shortly after, one of General Banks's Fifty-eighth and One Hundred and Nineteenth staff-officers reported to General Smith with des- Illinois regiments, and Eighty-ninth Indiana, patches. From this officer we learned that Gen- with the First Vermont battery, of the Nineeral Lee's cavalry forces and a portion of the teenth army corps. Centre-Colonel Moore's Thirteenth army corps were indulging in some First brigade, comprising the Forty-ninth and pretty heavy skirmishing with the enemy about One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois regiments, four miles beyond Pleasant Hill.

with the One Hundred and Seventy eighth NewGeneral Smith sent back word that notwith-York, while immediately in their rear, for supstanding the needless delay of five hours, he port, the Third Indiana , battery was masked, would have his command at Pleasant Hill at the with the Forty-seventh Illinois regiment of inpromised time, Friday night. At sunset on fantry and the Ninth Indiana battery. General Friday, the sound of fifes and drums innumera- Franklin, with the Nineteenth army corps, was ble, whistling and beating their lively martial strongly posted on the left, where his men music, told of the arrival of “Whitey Smith,” gallantly withstood the galling fire of the enemy. as the boys call him, and “Smith's Guerrillas," Colonel Shaw, commanding Third brigade, Third as they delight to be called. In an hour's time division, Sixteenth army corps, consisting of the the troops were snugly encamped on the old Fourteenth, Twenty-seventh, and Thirty-second Methodist camp-meeting grounds, not, however, Iowa regiments, with the Twenty-fourth Missouri, before a vigorous assault was made on the build- were holding an exposed position on our extremo ings, which disappeared as if by magic. There right, assisted by the Twenty-fifth New-York is a peculiar style of legerdemain practised by battery. our soldiers in relation to the procurement of General Dwight was ordered to support Colo. fire-wood, which must be seen to be appreciated. nel Shaw's right flank, but neglected to do so,

We had retired to our sumptuous couches, and, in consequence of this lack of proper supwith the broad canopy of a clear starlight sky | port, the rebels nearly flanked Colonel Shaw's above us, stretched our exhausted forms upon brigade, inflicting a heavy loss in killed, wounded, the consecrated soil where, in days of yore, the and missing. General Joseph A. Mower comGospel of Christ was preached to listening and manded the First division, Sixteenth army corps, repentant sinners, when a solitary horseman and he handled his men in a scientific manner dashed up to headquarters with the doleful during the entire engagement. The statement of tidings of the great calamity that had befallen the New Orleans Era, that Colonel Gooding was our forces. So extensive a disaster was supposed sent out with his cavalry brigade to bring on an to be impossible, and the cavalryman who engagement with the enemy is not true. Colonel brought the startling intelligence came near Gooding received orders to proceed on a short being placed under arrest for making false state- distance, as far as prudent, from Pleasant Hill, ments. An hour later, Colonel Clark, of General for the purpose of bringing in as many of our

stragglers as he could find, and at the same time want of water. This fact is corroborated by the to ascertain, while out, the whereabouts of the prisoners whom we captured on Saturday. enemy..

The weather on Saturday was most unproHe had proceeded not more than a mile and a pitious for a fair fight. The morning air was inhalf from Pleasant Hill when he came upon a tensely cold, and a more cheerless, disheartened large body of rebel cavalry, who were within sea of bronzed countenances I never beheld. close support of solid phalanxes of infantry, the Each private seemed to comprehend the vast bayonets of which gleamed through the dense magnitude of our needless disaster. There was woods wherever the sun's rays penetrated. Ac-a gloomy silence apparently pervading every cording to his instructions, Colonel Gooding com-camp, and we could hear no gladsome shouts of menced falling back slowly and in good order, at victory ring throughout the decimated ranks. It the same time continuing to reply to the fire of is useless to deny that the universal opinion of the enemy. While thus retreating, Colonel the rank and file was that our repulse was an Gooding lost some thirty men, killed, wounded, ignominious defeat, which ordinary generalship and missing, and it was at this period that might have foreseen and prevented. Captain Basset and Lieutenant Hall, of the The wind howled piteously through the trees, Second New-York veteran cavalry were severely fanning the long pendants of gray, funereal-like wounded, Lieutenant Hall surviving his injuries moss which decked the tops of the tall, waving but a short time. Colonel Gooding had a very cypress and pines. The sky was shrouded with narrow escape from instant death, a Minié ball portentous clouds, while dense volumes of dust cutting the crown of his felt hat in two places. partially concealed the long pontoon-trains as

We had barely finished our frugal meal at four they rumbled heavily to the rear. At halfo'clock on Saturday afternoon, when the previous past four o'clock precisely, the rebel cavalry adquietude was suddenly disturbed by the roar of vanced toward the right and centre, the exultant the enemy's artillery and quite rapid musketry foe yelling in the most fiendish manner, at the firing on our left. During the forenoon, General same time brandishing their sabres in the air. Banks had evidently decided upon a retreat, as a On they came, at a slow trot, in good order, as large body of troops were ordered to fall back to they neared our lines gradually quickening their Grand Ecore, thirty-five miles distant. Among pace, while close in their rear came the three the troops sent back were Colonel Dudley's and solid battle-lines of the enemy, shouting an inColonel Gooding's cavalry brigades, the remnant describable battle-cry, which would cause the of the once formidable Thirteenth army corps, nerves of the timid to vibrate, reminding one of several batteries, and nearly, if not all, of the all the ferocity of savages. From out the woods colored troops, as I could not learn of any of the belched the enemy's artillery, when there arose latter participating in Saturday's fight

from the crouching forms of several thousand Hundreds of wagons were likewise sent to the loyal men a fearful roll of musketry, opening rear. In fact, preparations were made to fall wide gaps in the rebel lines; but they were as back to Grand Ecore on Saturday night. The speedily closed, and the enraged foe, with a sudreason for this retrograde movement was the lack den dash, threw his gigantic force against our of subsistence for our troops, and forage for our front, and for a moment our whole line seemed horses. The report of our anticipated retreat to waver, giving way a few yards. was received with expressions of dismay and The suspense of this fearful moment was terdisgust by the officers of the Sixteenth army rible to bear, for it did seem to portend defeat. corps, all expressing a desire to press on toward In another moment our artillery scattered grape Mansfield, some fourteen miles distant, the point and canister in appalling quantities upon the where Friday's disgrace occurred. From Mans- exasperated enemy, literally mowing them down field, it was General A. J. Smith's intention to as with an enormous scythe. With deafening push a sufficient force toward Red River, eighteen cheers, and waving of starry banners, our lines or twenty miles, where a junction could have pressed on the rear lines, going into the latter been formed with the balance of his forces, some conflict at the “double-quick." It was now five two thousand men, belonging to the Seventeenth o'clock, and the battle was at its highest, raging army corps, and under the immediate command with unabated fury, the long and deadly roll of of Brigadier-General Kirby Smith.

musketry continuing until night, spreading her Here our transports were ordered to rendez-sable mantle over the bloody picture, screened vous until further instructions were received. the combatants from each other's view, and put Our commissary and ammunition boats were to be an end to that day's hostilities. met at this point, and after establishing communi-! There was something more than solemn grancation, it would have been an easy matter to deur in the scene at Pleasant Hill at sunset on supply our men with rations for ten days or Saturday, April ninth. Standing on a slight emiinore, enabling them to pursue the enemy, who, nence which overlooked the left and centre of our we learned from undoubted authority, were in lines, I could see the terrific struggle between our want of water, which could not be found within well-disciplined troops and the enemy. The sun fourteen miles of the battle-field. Our forces shone directly in the faces of our men, while the controlled all the water within a circle of ten or wind blew back the smoke of both the enemy's twelve miles, and the rebels suffered severely for | fire and that of our own gallant men, into our ranks, rendering it almost impossible, at times, deployed and personally led his troops, aided by to distinguish the enemy in the dense clouds of the gallant Mower, who has reaped many subsmoke. All of a sudden our whole front seemed stantial victories, we should have to record the to gather renewed strength, and they swept the extinction of the Nineteenth army corps and the rebels before them like chaff, following them up Department of the Gulf. closely.

| This battle of Pleasant Hill is probably the The enemy made another desperate stand, first time on record where the rebels have mani. when Colonel Shaw, commanding the Third fested any desire to meet our soldiers in an openbrigade, First division, Sixteenth corps, gave the field fight, and particularly where they have been order to charge bayonets, and the crisis was soon the attacking party. This rebel phenomenon is over, the rebels being unable to stand the pres- easily explained. After the easy victory of Frisure of “Yankee" steel. In the very thickest day, Kirby Smith supposed it would not be a of the fight, on our left and centre, rode the very difficult matter to completely exterminate patriarchal-looking warrior, Colonel Andrew the balance of the little army, against whose Jackson Smith, whose troops received an in- front he hurled his overwhelmingly superior creased inspiration of heroism by his presence. numbers. Deluded with this belief, he at once Wherever he rode, cheer after cheer greeted himr, sent to Shreveport for the balance of his forces, for there is an irresistible attraction around this principally Missouri and Arkansas troops, fresh officer, who has exhibited the real Jacksonian from their camps. energy. Not less conspicuous were Major-Gen- Upon their arrival at our front, Kirby Smith eral Banks and staff, General Joseph A. Mower, and Dick Taylor both harangued the new levies, of the First division, Sixteenth army corps, Gen- exhorting them to strike together a steady blow, eral Franklin and staff, and General Emory and and the “Yankees " would surely be driven from staff.

the soil of Louisiana. They boasted with great As the dusk of evening became more and more bombast upon the capture of eighteen pieces of intense, and the last glimmering streaks of day artillery from us, and nearly two hundred army were rapidly fading away, the enemy struggled wagons filled with Government stores, including merely for the possession of the battle-field, and considerable whiskey, which also fell into their a tremendous roar of musketry burst forth from hands. Pointing with exultation to the spoils their staggering lines, which was responded to and trophies which his men had secured, he by two or three terrific volleys from our side, and filled the fresh troops with a degree of hopeful then came that dead, quiet calm, broken only buoyancy, which afterward proved fatal; for by the moaning of our men's voices and the while flushed with success, they were entirely groans of the dying. The enemy retreated rap- ignorant of the arrival of General A. J. Smith's idly that night, General A. J. Mower, of the Six- fresh troops; and this explains the recklessness teenth army corps, having pushed out some four and apparent indifference with which they asmiles from Pleasant Hill, without being able to sailed us, filing in their men to the very jaws of overtake the enemy.

death. Where so much gallantry was displayed, it This information I derived from wounded priswould be invidious for me to particularize; but oners, nearly all of whom corroborate the statethe conduct of Colonel W. T. Shaw, Second ment. They deny that General Pop Price was brigade, Third division, Sixteenth army corps; there, although letters have been found by our Colonel Benedict, Nineteenth army corps, who troops which would seem to indicate that he was fell mortally wounded at the head of his noble on the field during the battle. brigade while cheering them on to the fight; General Banks, while encouraging his troops Lieutenant-Colonel James Newbold, of the Four- in the midst of a galling fire, had his coat pierced teenth Iowa, Sixteenth army corps ; Colonel Mix, with a bullet. General Franklin manoeuvred of the ---- New-York cavalry, Nineteenth army his troops with great skill, and while leading his corps, both of whom sacrificed their lives in de- men on Friday, he had two fine horses shot from fence of their country's honor; Colonel Lynch, under him, while a Minié ball grazed his boot. Second brigade, Sixteenth army corps; Colonel The First division of the Nineteenth army Moore, First brigade, First division, Sixteenth corps did nobly on Friday, coming up to the army corps ; Colonel Hill, -- brigade, First di- rescue of the remnant of the shattered Thirteenth vision, Sixteenth army corps, all deserve the army corps, with deafening cheers. An officer on highest praise. In fact, though the results were General Ransom's staff was riding rapidly in front very unfavorable to our cause, yet in the battle of our lines with an important order, when a solid of Pleasant Hill we can rest assured the stain of shot struck his horse's head, severing it from his cowardice cannot blot the record of that bloody body in much less time than it takes to tell it. battle.

Battery L, Fifth regulars, was captured by the All of the troops seemed inspired with a degree rebels, and retaken a few minutes after by our of courage which nothing but the total annihila- men. tion of our men could subdue or extinguish. It Colonel Lynch performed a gallant little exis impossible to state who was in chief command ploit, which came near costing him his life. on Saturday, Generals Banks and Franklin being Gathering up a small squad of men after the both upon the field; but had it not been for the battle was nearly over, he pushed on two miles masterly manner in which General A. J. Smith from our lines, and captured three caissons filled

« AnteriorContinuar »