between the wrist, and above the elbow, you are to locate the creeks, which will almost enclose the entrenched camp behind the Fort
Right in front of your face, you are to locate a high bluff, one hundred feet high, with a redan, which commands the Fort
on the opposite side of the river.
I do not know as this description may be intelligible, and I therefore give a diagram, such as your printer can set up with the types, lines and rules at his command:
1 2 3 4--Gunboats commencing attack.
1 1 1 1--Gunboats at time of surrender.
Distance from island to Fort, one and a quarter miles. River opposite Fort, three fourths of a mile wide.
Instead of a right angle, as in this diagram, let it be gentle curve or bend in the river, and you will have a general view of the locality.
The country around is much broken, and intersected by creeks, and covered with forests.
At one angle of the encampment there is a road which leads to the town of Dover
, on the Cumberland
, twelve miles distant. The magazine is in the centre of the work, and is well protected.
The Fort and the camp are both surrounded by ditches.
A combined plan of attack was agreed upon.
was to steam up the western or shallow channel, now containing water sufficient to float the boats over all obstructions, while the force under McClernand
should gain the rear of the camp.
At the same time Gen. Smith
was to move upon the other bank, and attack the redan.
A reconnoissance showed that the largest portion of the rebels were within their intrenchments, and that the force in the redan was comparatively small.
being aware of the condition of the roads, desired Gen. Grant
to move at an earlier hour than that assigned for the gunboats, but Gen. Grant
was confident his forces could reach their positions in time.
In this he was undoubtedly mistaken, as the sequel proved.
The distance was much greater than had been supposed, and the roads were mortar-beds after one regiment had passed.
did not accompany the column, but remained by the river.
assured him that the troops would be behind, informed him that he should proceed at the time fixed upon, and added: “I shall take it before you will get there with your forces.”
The gunboats were anchored four miles below the fort, opposite Gen. Grant
At half-past 10 o'clock a signal was made for them to get under way, and in a few minutes the fires which had been banked up were in full blast.
had prepared his instructions several days previously, and upon mature thought saw nothing to be changed.
They were brief and plain.
The three iron-clad boats were to keep in line with him, steadily advance, and keep bows on — to do just as he did. The three not clad were to follow at a proper distance in the rear, and throw shell over those in advance.
To the commanders and crews he said that in a battle it was very necessary to success that they should keep cool.
He desired them to fire with deliberate aim and not to attempt rapid firing, for three reasons, namely, that with rapid firing there was always a waste of ammunition; that their range would be wild; that the enemy would be encouraged unless the fire was effectual; that it was desirable not to heat the guns.
With these instructions he slowly led his fleet up the shallow channel under cover of the island, thus avoiding long-range shot from the rifled guns which it was known the enemy had in position to sweep the main channel.
He steamed slow to allow the troops time to gain their position.
The columns of troops were in motion.
At starting the bands enlivened the movement, till the horrible condition of the roads compelled them to cease.
The fleet slowly gained the head of the island and came into the following position: