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[547] hastened down to Gen. Banks, at Grand Ecore, six miles below; when troops were sent up to their relief; and they were brought down without further annoyance.

At Grand Ecore, Porter found most of his larger vessels aground — several of them drawings a foot more water than there was on the bar at that point. While he was getting them over, the Eastport, which had gone eight miles farther down, was sunk ; and several days' hard work were required to stop her leaks, pump her out, and get her afloat again. By this time, Banks had concluded to continue his retreat to Alexandria and below — the return of Smith's force to the other side of the Mississippi being imperatively required — and six days were consumed1 after the Eastport was afloat in arduous efforts to get her to Alexandria, she running fast aground eight times by the way. At last-Banks's army being now 60 miles ahead, the Eastport having been divested of her guns to induce her to float, and only three of the lighter gunboats left to convoy her — she went hard aground again, when scarcely thirty miles below Grand Ecore, and could not be got afloat; whereon Porter reluctantly gave the order for her destruction--Lt. Com'g Phelps being the last to leave her, after applying a match to the train whereby she was blown up, set on fire, and completely demolished. At this moment, 1,200 Rebels, on the right bank, made a rush to board the Cricket, which stood out from the bank and opened on them with grape and canister, while the Fort Hindman and another gunboat obtained a cross-fire on them, and in five minutes there was not a Rebel in sight; nor did they again make their appearance till our boats had reached Cane river, 20 miles below; when, on rounding a point, they were saluted from the right bank by 18 Rebel guns.

The Cricket, acting Master H. H. Gorringe, was ahead, and received every shot from the Rebel battery; most of them going through her. Her after gun was struck by a shell and disabled; every gunner being killed or wounded. At that moment, another shell exploded by her forward gun, sweeping off every gunner, and, entering the fire-room, left but one man there unwounded. Her decks had by this time been deserted. But Adm. Porter, who was on board, took command, improvising gunners from the negroes on board, put an assistant in place of the chief engineer, who had been killed, stepped to the pilot-house, where one of the pilots had been wounded, and ordered her run by the battery; and it was done, under a terrible fire.

Admiral Porter now attempted to lead her up stream ; but this proved impracticable: so lie let her drift around the point, so that he could, with his two still serviceable guns, shell the Rebel battery in the rear. In the disturbance thus occasioned, the light-draft Juliet and pump-boat Champion, lashed together, were enabled to escape from under the bank where they had helplessly drifted — out of the Rebel fire — the Juliet having been disabled and had her steam-pipe cut by the Rebel balls. The Hindman, from above, now

1 April 21-G.

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