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[102] was an exceedingly tenacious clay, in good part covered with large trees. The strong current obstinately kept to the old channel, and could not be attracted to the right bank. An expedition, started1 to go up the Yazoo, having unexpectedly encountered, near the mouth of that river, and been worsted by, the Rebel rain Arkansas,2 Capt. Farragut, having no prospect of further usefulness above, determined to repass the frowning batteries, cutting out and destroying the Arkansas by the way. He succeeded in running by Vicksburg with little loss; but his designs upon the Arkansas were baffled by darkness. A few days later, Commander Porter, with the iron-clad Essex, and Lt.-Col. Ellet, with the ram Queen of the West, made3 another attempt to cut out the Arkansas, which was likewise defeated.

The village of Donaldsonville, which had the bad habit of firing upon our weaker steamers, as they passed up or down the river, was bombarded therefor by Capt. Farragut, and partially destroyed. As the river was now falling fast, threatening to greatly impair the efficiency of our fleet, the siege of Vicksburg was abandoned, under instructions from Washington, and Capt. Farragut dropped down the river, reaching New Orleans on the 28th, with the greater part of his fleet.

Gen. Williams, with his soldiers, debarked on the way at Baton Rouge; he resuming command of that post. Rumors of a meditated attack in force by the enemy were soon current; and hence the General had, on the afternoon4 prior to its occurrence, warned his subordinates to be ready and watchful, so as not to be surprised next morning. The Rebels had been assured by their spies that our men were mostly sick in hospital, which was measurably true; but regiments that numbered but 150 on parade, counted 500 on the battlefield.

The Rebel force had been organized for this effort at Tangipahoa, 60 miles north-eastward, and 78 N. N. W. of New Orleans. It consisted of 13 regiments, and must have considerably outnumbered ours, which was composed of nine thinned regiments in all. Each side, in its account of the action, made its own force 2,500, and that of its adversary twice or thrice as great. The Rebels were commanded in chief by Maj.-Gen. John C. Breckinridge, with Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ruggles5 leading their left wing, and Brig.-Gen. Charles Clarke their right. The attack was made at daylight,6 simultaneously and vigorously, by the entire Rebel force, on the two roads which lead from the south-west into Baton Rouge; and, as but three of our regiments — the 14th Maine, 21st Indiana, and 6th Wisconsin--were immediately engaged, these were soon compelled to fall back, barely saving their batteries, whereof two were for a few moments in the hands of the Rebels. A dense fog precluded a clear comprehension on our side of the position, and caused the 7th Vermont to fire into the 21st Indiana, mistaking it for a Rebel regiment. Our lines were formed nearly two miles back from the river, where our

1 July 15.

2 See page 58.

3 July 22.

4 Aug. 4.

5 From Massachusetts; formerly Lt.-Col. of the 5th Regular Infantry.

6 Aug. 5.

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