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[264] confusion was apparent. The gunboat kept almost ahead of the retreating column, and, when practicable, threw shell over the river-bank toward it. It is said that the retreat was headed by Morgan, for Basil Duke was taken prisoner in the early part of the fight, but it was as rapidly followed up as possible. The Moose reached Belleville in time to fire upon the first party that attempted to cross the river. The crew report eight or nine killed and several wounded in the water, but twenty rebels or more got safely ashore in Virginia. It should have been stated above that General Scammon, with reinforcements from the Kanawha, arrived at the first scene of action in time to participate, but instead of landing his men on the Ohio side he disembarked them on the Virginia shore. This precaution may have been well enough in the event of the enemy effecting a crossing, but when the Moose moved up General Scammon reembarked his troops, and went up with the gunboat to head off Morgan's retreat.

Foiled at Belleville, the rebels still kept pushing up along the shore, and again attempted to cross at Hawkinsport, fourteen miles above the island, but again their efforts proved abortive on account of the gunboat. Passing Hawkinsport, the Moose came to Lee's Creek, Va., where she was greeted by a sharp volley of rifles and musketry from an ambuscade on the shore. It was now the turn of the starboard gunners to try the temper of their metal, and a smashing broadside was poured into the sneaking rascals on the “sacred soil.” It was sufficient, for not another shot was fired, and Lieutenant Fitch learned afterward that nine of the bushwhackers were killed and several wounded.

The transports containing General Scammon's forces were then run up to a point between Hawkinsport, Ohio, and Lee's Creek, Va., and landed on the Ohio shore, to intercept the rebel retreat. This is the last information we had on the river of that expedition, although it was reported in the evening that Scammon had captured the force or compelled it to surrender.

While the Moose was winning her laurels the other boats of the fleet were not failing to enact their regularly assigned part of the programme, which was to guard the fords below the island, and prevent any skulking squads of the rebels crossing to the much wished for Virginia shore. It is said that some of Morgan's men sang, “Oh! Carry me back to ole Virginny,” with a pathos and sincerity of tone quite suggestive, not to say touching, and it certainly cannot be denied that Captain Fitch “went for them” with a degree of alacrity which proved his entire willingness to assist them as far as he could. The only regret which now in any way disturbs the repose of this officer is, that the rebels did not make a larger draft on the Moose, which might have been used as a ferry-boat to carry them even farther on their direct road than they bar. gained for. As it was, she did all she could under the circumstances, and as the river was falling very fast, she, together with the others comprising the fleet, was compelled to return downstream. The Alleghany Belle, a light draught boat was fitted up temporarily for the occasion and armed with a rifled gun protected with bales of cotton, to guard the fords between Belleville and Buffington Island.

The scene of the battle was one of the most composite, perhaps, in the panorama of the war. The rebels were dressed in every possible manner peculiar to civilized man, but, generally speaking, their attire was very good. They wore in many instances large slouch hats peculiar to the slave States, and had their pantaloons stuck in their boots. A dirty, gray-colored coat was the most prevalent, although white “dusters” were to be seen.

They were armed with carbines, Enfield rifles, sabres, and revolvers, were well mounted, and looked in good health although jaded and tired. The battle-field and the roads surrounding it were strewn with a thousand articles never seen perhaps on a battle-field before. One is accustomed to see broken swords, muskets, and bayonets, haversacks, cartridge-boxes, belts, pistols, gun-carriages, caissons, cannon, wagons upset, wounded, dead, and dying on the battle-field, but besides all these on the battle-field of Buffington Island, one could pick up almost any article in the dry goods, hardware, house-furnishing, or ladies' or gentlemen's furnishing line. Hats, boots, gloves, knives, forks, spoons, calico, ribbons, drinking-cups, buggies, carriages, market-wagons, circus-wagons, and an almost endless variety of articles useful and all more or less valuable. An inventory of Morgan's plunder would tax the patience of an auctioneer's clerk, and I question if one man's life would be long enough to minutely catalogue the articles picked up during his raid.

The carnage of the field was not remarkable, although little groups of rebels were found slain by the deadly fragments of shell.

The result, as far as heard from at this time is all that could be wished for by the country. The en tire rebel force was met, engaged, defeated, routed, and partially captured. All the enemy's arms, guns, accoutrements, most of his horses and all his plunder, were taken or fell into our hands, but the “full particulars” of his defeat and capture must be made the.subject of another communication.

Nearly one thousand seven hundred prisoners are now in our hands, under guard of the Eighth Michigan cavalry, and others are constantly arriving by our scouts and pursuing parties.

Prisoners admit a loss of two hundred killed and wounded on the field, while our loss will not exceed a fourth of that number. The rebel raid into the North is over. It has been destroyed, and the prestige of its notorious leader is gone.

The saddest incident of the fight is the wounding of Major MeCook, father of the lamented Colonel McCook, murdered last summer by guerrillas in Kentucky. The old gentleman received a shot in the breast, which is represented as very serious, but it is to be hoped that it may not prove so. Major McCook is a patriotic, loyal, sturdy


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