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[53] wooden gunboats Conestoga, Tyler, and Lexington, steamed up the Tennessee to Florence, Ala., at the foot of the Muscle Shoals, where he captured two steamboats, and constrained the Rebels to burn six others; he having burnt the railroad bridge near Benton on the way. The wholly unexpected appearance of the National flag in North Alabama, where slaves were comparatively few, and at least three-fourths of the people had stubbornly opposed Secession, was a welcome spectacle to thousands, and was greeted with enthusiastic demonstrations of loyalty.

Com. Foote, with the gunboats Conestoga and Cairo, moved up1 the Cumberland from Donelson, three days after its surrender. At Clarksville, he found the railroad bridge destroyed; while the wealthier citizens had generally fled, and he encountered no resistance. As it would have been absurd to attack a city like Nashville with such a force, he now returned to Cairo for additional boats; while Gen. Smith, with the advance of our victorious army, marched up to Clarksville; whence Lieut. Bryant, of the Cairo, followed by 7 transports, conveying the brigade of Gen. Nelson, moved up thle river to Nashville, where they arrived on the 24th, but found no enemy prepared to resist them. In fact, the city had virtually surrendered already to the 4th Ohio cavalry, Col. John Kennett, being the advance of Buell's army. Col. Kennett had reached Edgefield Junction, 8 or 10 miles from Nashville, and thence sent forward a detachment, under Maj. H. C. Rodgers, who occupied without resistance the village of Edgefield, opposite Nashville, on the Cumberland, and communicated with Mayor Cheatham, who surrendered the city to Col. Kennett on his arrival, which was before that of Gen. Nelson's command. A small squad of the 4th Ohio crossed over into the city and returned, their orders not contemplating its occupation; but the battery of the regiment had been planted where it commanded the heart of the city, and a reasonable fear of shells impelled Mayor Cheatham to proffer and hasten a surrender, by which he agreed to protect and preserve the public property in Nashville until it could be regularly turned over to the use of the United States.

But, in fact, the spoils of victory had already been clutched by the Nashville mob; so that, while the Rebel loss was enormous,2 the positive Union gain was inconsiderable.

1 Feb. 19.

2 Pollard says:

Gen. Johnston had moved the main body of his command to Murfreesboroa — a rear-guard being left in Nashville under Gen. Floyd, who had arrived from Donelson, to secure the stores and provisions. In the first wild excitement of the panic, the store-houses had been thrown open to the poor. They were besieged by a mob ravenous for spoils, and who had to be dispersed from the commissariat by jets of water from a steam fire-engine. Women and children, even. were seen scudding through the streets under loads of greasy pork, which they had taken as prizes from the store-houses. It is believed that hundreds of families, among the lower orders of he population, secured and secreted Government stores enough to open respectable groceries. It was with the greatest difficulty that Gen. Floyd could restore order and get his martial law into any thing like an effective system. Blacks and Whites had to be chased and captured and forced to help the movement of Government stores. One man, who, after a long chase, was captured, offered fight, and was in consequence shot and badly wounded. Not less than one million of dollars in stores was lost through the acts of the cowardly and ravenous mob of Nashville. Gen. Floyd and Col. Forrest exhibited extraordinary energy and efficiency in getting off Government stores. Col. Forrest remained in the city about 24 hours, with only 40 men, after the arrival of the enemy at Edgefield.

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