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[426] them in steam. There not being room to pass the Sachem, this vessel was backed down the channel, and a boat sent to the Sachem, which returned with the engineer and fireman, badly scalded — since dead. The Arizona had now grounded by the stern, the ebb-tide caught her bow and swung her across the channel. She was with much difficulty extricated from this position, owing to her engine becoming disabled. The flags of the Clifton and Sachem were run down, and white flags were flying at the fore. As all the transports were now moving out of the bay, this vessel remained, covering their movements, until she grounded. She remained until midnight, when she was kedged off, as no assistance could be had from any of the tugs of the expedition.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

H. Tibbetts, Acting Master, Commanding the Arizona. To Commodore H. H. Bell, New-Orleans.

A National account.

headquarters General Weitzel's division, nineteenth army corps, steamer Belvidere, Mississippi River, September 11.
The expedition of the Nineteenth army corps, Major-General Franklin commanding, which left New-Orleans on the fourth inst., has returned without accomplishing the object for which it was despatched. All the preliminary arrangements were made in the most expeditious and secret manner, and the promise of success was most flattering up to the very last moment, when a combination of those unfortunate accidents which no human foresight or determination can prevent or overcome, turned victory into defeat, and rendered nugatory all the efforts of the gallant officers and men composing the expedition, compelling them to relinquish for the present the attempt, and return to the base of operations at this place.

The aim of the expedition was the occupation of Sabine City, situated on the right bank, at the mouth of the Sabine River, the dividing line of Louisiana and Texas, a point of great strategic importance as a base of operations against either Western Louisiana or Eastern and Central Texas. The city is only forty to forty-five miles from Galveston by land, and about sixty miles by sea; from Houston, the capital of Texas, it is distant about sixty miles, and is connected with a branch railroad from Beaumont. This railroad is not in operation at present, a portion of the track being torn up. The distance from the mouth of the Mississippi is two hundred and eighty miles. The strategic importance of the place can thus be comprehended at a glance, and its occupation was doubtless intended as the first step in a campaign the results of which promised to be of the most brilliant and lasting character.

Accompanying the land force was a naval force of four light draught gunboats, consisting of the Clifton, Arizona, Granite City, and Sachem, and the plan was for these to silence the batteries, drive back the enemy, and cover the landing of the troops. How gallantly and nobly they strove to carry out successfully their part of the programme, and how they failed, and how the many brave hearts within sight and hearing of the con flict witnessed that failure with bitter feelings of anger and regret that they could not be relieved, may never become portions of our history, but will remain indelibly recorded on the hearts of all who were present, and nerve them to still greater exertions in the glorious cause of redeeming their country.

At the last place of rendezvous, off Berwick Bay, it was determined that the entire fleet should endeavor to reach the point of destination by midnight of the seventh, and the attack was to take place at three or four o'clock on the morning of the ninth. With this understanding, the long line of vessels moved on their way, piloted by the gunboat Arizona, Captain Tibbetts, which was followed by the transport Belvidere, Captain Fletcher, having on board the veteran Brigadier-General Godfrey Weitzel, commanding the First division of the corps, and the gallant members of his staff, the General being assigned to that post of honor and of danger which he not only willingly accepts, but modestly requests the command of the advance. The blockading vessel stationed off Sabine Pass was now the object, and the fleet steamed swiftly on, while a bright look-out was constantly kept to discover the vessel. Hour after hour passed, and no vessel appearing up to three o'clock on the morning of the eighth, the fleet was hove to, and upon examination it became apparent that the fleet had run by the designated point quite a distance, in consequence of the absence of the blockader. It was, of course, too late in the day to carry out the original plan, and the consequence was a delay of an entire day was necessitated, thus giving the enemy, if advised of the expedition, an opportunity of receiving reenforcements and making all necessary preparations either for evacuation or a more vigorous defence. I would add in this connection that the blockader was absent on a cruise, from which she returned before the battle.

During Monday night, therefore, the entire fleet were collected in the neighborhood of Sabine. The gunboats and lightest draught vessels of the transport fleet crossed the bar, and immediate preparations were made for the attack, the unavoidable delay necessitating some changes in the mode. Captain Crocker, of the Clifton, as gallant a sailor as ever fought a ship, was to inaugurate the action by feeling and uncovering the enemy's batteries, ascertaining the number and disposition of the opposing force, and drawing their fire, while Generals Franklin and Weitzel personally examined the shore of the pass and ascertained the most eligible point for disembarking the land forces. Accordingly the Clifton steamed up the pass, throwing a shell now and then from her huge rifled guns at the only work visible, (an earthwork containing six heavy guns,) and making a careful reconnoissance of the surrounding locality. She received no response to her numerous shots, and with daring bravery steamed within easy range of the fort, turned about, and leisurely returned to her former position.

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