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[339] every thing of value that was either movable or combustible.

Gen. Banks now united with Gen. Grant in urging an immediate combined movement upon Mobile; but the suggestion was overruled at Washington, in deference to the urgent representations of Texan refugees; and Gen. B. directed1 to operate against Texas. He was advised that a movement by the Red river on Natchitoches or Shreveport was deemed most feasible, but was authorized to act as his own judgment should dictate. Deeming the route suggested impracticable at that season, he decided to demonstrate by way of the Sabine, with houston as his objective point. Accordingly, an expedition, including a land force of 4,000 men, was fitted out at New Orleans, and dispatched2 to the Sabine, under command of Maj.-Gen. Franklin; the naval force, detailed by Admiral Farragut, consisting of the gunboats Clifton, Sachem, Arizona, and Granite City, under command of Lt. Fred. Crocker. Banks gave Franklin written instructions to debark his troops 10 or 12 miles below Sabine Pass; thence moving rapidly on the Rebel defenses, unless a naval reconnoissance should prove those works unoccupied, or so weak that they could be easily and promptly reduced by bombardment.

Decently managed, this movement could not have miscarried. The troops were abundant and efficient; the weather fine; the sea smooth; and the enemy unwarned of the point of attack. But Franklin and Crocker decided to take the works at once by a naval attack; and, without landing the troops, moved3 directly upon them with the gunboats, after having been 24 hours in sight, so as to give the Rebels ample warning of their peril.

The result proved this a foolhardy procedure. The gunboats were old merchant steamers, of inferior strength; their guns were of mode rate caliber, and made no impression on the Rebel works; while several of them son grounded in the shallow water of the Pass, where they were exposed to certain destruction by the fire of the batteries, and were soon torn to pieces; when Crocker surrendered the Clifton, as Lt. Johnson did the Sachem; each having been quickly disabled by a shot through her boiler — Franklin thus achieving the distinction of being the first American General [for Renshaw was not a General] who managed to lose a fleet in a contest with land batteries alone. The Arizona grounded, and had her engine disabled; but was kedged off with difficulty at midnight, having received no damage. She was, in fact, of too heavy draft to run fairly abreast of the batteries — at least, to maneuver there with safety. Crocker and Johnson fought their vessels bravely and well; but they were light-draft boats, utterly unfit to assail such batteries, and should not have been impelled to their certain destruction. Our loss in this affair, beside the two boats and their 15 heavy rifled guns, was 50 killed and wounded, beside 200 prisoners--in all, just about equal to the whole number of Rebels engaged; of whom (says Pollard) “not a man was lost on our side, nor a gun injured.”

Franklin had still his 4.000 soldiers,

1 Aug. 12; by dispatch received Aug. 27.

2 Sept. 5.

3 Sept. 8, 3 P. M.

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