previous next
[550] days more, had constructed several wing-dams, directly at the head of the falls, raising the water on the rapids over a foot additional; and, in three days more,1 the gunboats Mound City, Carondelet, Pittsburg, Ozark, Louisville, Chilicothe, and two tugs, had successively passed the falls and the dams, with the loss of one man swept overboard and two or three rudders unshipped, were coaled and moving down the river, convoying the transports — the back-water from the swollen Mississippi (150 miles distant) enabling them to pass all the bars below without delay or difficulty.

Ere this, the gunboats Signal and Covington, with the transport Warner, steaming down the river in fancied security, were fired on, soon after daybreak,2 at Dunn's bayou, 30 miles below Alexandria, by a large Rebel force, and thoroughly riddled; the Covington being abandoned and burned while the Signal and Warner were compelled to surrender. There were some 400 soldiers on board of these vessels, including Col. Sharp, 156th N. York, and Col. Raynor, 129th Illinois, of whom 150 were captured, and perhaps 100 more killed or wounded. The residue took the shore, and escaped as best they could. Soon afterward, the City Belle, transport, conveying the 120th Ohio, 425 strong, up to Alexandria, was like wise captured; only 200 of the soldiers escaping.

Gen. McClernand, with the larger portion of our forces who had for months held the island posts on the coast of Western Texas, having evacuated those posts by order of Gen. Grant, arrived at Alexandria3 soon after the return of our army to that point. Gen. Fitz Henry Warren, who had been left in command at Matagorda bay, with the remainder of those forces, evacuated, soon afterward, all our posts on the coast of Texas save those on the Rio Grande, and came around to reenforce Gen. Banks; but was stopped by formidable Rebel batteries at Marksville, on the Red river, when he fell back to Fort de Russy and strengthened that post.

Banks, upon reaching Alexandria from above, had found4 there Gen. Hunter, with reiterated orders from Grant to bring his Shreveport campaign to a close without delay. Banks sent Hunter back5 with dispatches, stating that the fleet was above the falls, and that it could not be left there to the enemy, nor yet brought over without serious, protracted effort on the part of the army. Yet, before the dams were completed and the gunboats relieved from their peril, Banks was favored with a fresh dispatch6 from Halleck, saying:

Lieut.-Gen. Grant directs that orders heretofore given be so modified that no troops be withdrawn from operations against Sherveport and on Red river, and that operations there be continued, under the officer in command, until further orders.

Two weeks earlier, this, with permission to retain Smith's corps, would have been must welcome. But, before it came to hand, the Rebels had control of the river below as well as above Alexandria, and a renewal of the campaign was judged impracticable.

Gen. Banks evacuated Alexandria

1 May 11-13.

2 May 5.

3 April 29.

4 April 25.

5 April 30.

6 Dated April 30.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Nathaniel P. Banks (5)
Ulysses S. Grant (3)
David Hunter (2)
N. York (1)
Fitz Henry Warren (1)
Kilby Smith (1)
Sharp (1)
Raynor (1)
John A. McClernand (1)
Henry Wager Halleck (1)
Dunn (1)
Belle (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 30th (2)
May 13th (1)
May 11th (1)
May 5th (1)
April 29th (1)
April 25th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: