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[229] at the river-wharf, and about five thousand troops in and about the fort, just beyond the southern part of the town. There had been some earth-works thrown up on the road by which we approached the town, but they were not defended. We learned also that Columbus was evacuated and that the force had moved to an island about ten miles above the town, which was strongly fortified, and accounted for the presence of the gunboats at New-Madrid.

As the line of battle was being formed, a gunboat from the upper part of the town threw a shell which burst at a short range in mid-air. They fired at intervals, but the range was short. Soon, however, they began to play more accurately on the right wing, and the cannonading was as brisk as we could desire. The shot and shell fell in and around the Thirty-ninth and Sixty-third in a style that few of us had ever seen before, and the courage of the men was fully tested. They stood firm, and gave indications of as much unconcern as if they were veterans.

We occupied our position near two hours, during which the infantry and cavalry did not fire a shot, and only a few guns of our artillery were heard. It was reported that one of our artillery shots smashed the wheel-house of a gunboat.

At about four o'clock, Gen. Pope gave orders for the force to fall back three quarters of a mile and prepare for the night.

The order was obeyed without any confusion, and the men rested well in their tents, and talked over the wonders of the day.

The casualties of the day were as follows:

Killed--Louis Nine, company B, Thirty-ninth Ohio; a shell struck him in the lower part of the bowels, killing him instantly.

Wounded--Wm. Van Horn, company G, Thirty-ninth Ohio; a piece of shell struck him on the shoulder; the wound is not serious.

One of the Michigan cavalry, company I, whose name I have not heard, is reported to have his arm torn off. I hear, also, that an artillerist was wounded in the leg slightly.

L. Besse, Seventh Illinois cavalry, company M, was shot in the foot by a comrade in dismounting.

To-day we remained in position of last night till two o'clock P. M., when the whole force fell back in line of battle, and are now encamped principally in corn-fields north of the town.


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