knew that success depended upon his persistency, and that he could rely on the endurance of his troops.
He must therefore hold on, in spite of the elements and the rebel strength, tilt the gunboats and reinforcements arrived, when he was confident of success.
Before daylight on the 14th the boats arrived, and the reenforcements were put in position as soon as the condition of the country would permit.
An attack was made by the gunboats, and if it had been attended with even partial success, Grant
was to have assaulted on the land side.
But the boats were disabled, and suffered considerable loss in men, Flag Officer Foote
himself being wounded.
This was a serious disappointment to Grant
, who had hoped to take the fort without a protracted siege.
He was determined to take it, however, either by siege or assault, and never doubted the successful issue.
In a conference with Foote
, the latter stated that he could not renew the attack until he had been to Cairo
to repair his gunboats, and urged Grant
to remain quiet until he could return.
Whether the latter, with his large reinforcements, would have been content to have taken this course, is uncertain; but the rebels themselves were not disposed to wait till they were more completely invested, and they accordingly massed their forces and made a heavy attack on Grant
Notwithstanding their long exposure and suffering from the severe storm of snow and sleet, the Union
troops fought bravely.
But the rebels had massed a superior force against the right, and they drove it back till checked by reenforcements.
Even the latter were gradually pressed back, and the rebels seemed to have secured a