Cincinnati Commercial account.
New-Madrid, Mo., March 14, 1862.I did not intend to write you again until success crowned our efforts. To-day I can say our victory is complete and overwhelming. Ten days ago we arrived here, and opened up a little entertainment for the chivalry, strongly intrenched at New-Madrid. We had nothing but a few batteries of light artillery, while they played on us with from five to six gunboats, and eight thirty-two pounders upon the walls of two forts. Gen. Pope at once saw his position, and sent back to Cairo for four siege-guns--twenty-four-pounders. He kept, in the mean time, constantly harassing the enemy, without exposing his own men, awaiting the arrival of his guns. He likewise, during the darkness of one night, had rifle-pits dug, and a battery of Parrott guns planted upon the river-bank at Point Pleasant, seven miles below New-Madrid. Gen. Plummer was placed in command. The first introduction to the chivalry were a few twelve-pounders and a shower of musket-balls, well aimed, at a couple of fine transports well laden with luxuries and comforts for New-Madrid and Island No.10. They suddenly wheeled about and left for Dixie. Such an insult must be wiped off the bank of the confederate river, and forthwith a gunboat was despatched to shell Plummer out of his holes. But the gunboat came a little too near and forthwith port-holes and pilot-house received hundreds of musket-balls from the sharp-shooters; and it speedily moved to the opposite side of the river, in easy shelling distance, and for seven days from one to three gunboats have done their best to dislodge the gallant Plummer, and without success. The honor of this patent method of whipping gunboats should be given to Gen. Pope, as but few officers had any idea it would succeed. This little timely thought has prevented the enemy carrying troops or munitions of war on transports, either up or down the river, and left us all the rich supplies we to-day found at New-Madrid. But of the fight and the flight. On Wednesday, March twelfth, our four guns arrived. We drove in their pickets at sundown, and a thousand spades were noiselessly making trenches and preparing hasty protections for the guns. They were in position before daylight, and as the fog lifted from the marshes and the river, four shells were gently thrown over into the upper fort, much to the astonishment and indignation of the gentlemen from Dixie. In a few moments nine gunboats were in position, some of them throwing sixty-four pound shells, and eighteen thirty-two pounders upon the two forts now doing their best to send us all, as the boys say, “to the happy land of Canaan.” The Tenth and Sixteenth Illinois were placed in the trenches as sharpshooters, and the Thirty-ninth, Twenty-seventh, Sixty-third, and Forty-third Ohio regiments were placed on the flanks and in the rear to support the battery. The First Regular U. S. infantry, under Capt. Mower, manned the guns. Fortunately they had been well drilled as artillerists, and behaved admirably. Col. Bissell's engineer regiment were most valuable aids. While I have no desire to puff any regiment, I must say the Thirty-ninth and Twenty-seventh Ohio regiments deserve great credit for their coolness and bravery. On Wednesday evening, two companies of the Twenty-seventh and two of the Thirty-seventh, all under Lieut.-Col. Kennett, were ordered to drive in the pickets of the enemy without firing a gun, if possible, so that the engineers could lay out the earthworks and prepare for the guns. They came upon the rebel pickets and drove them in without firing a gun. The rebel pickets, as they retreated, fired volley upon volley, but did not wound a man. These four companies took position, and remained upon the field until this morning, making thirty-six hours. The balance of these regiments took position at four o'clock on Thursday morning and remained at their posts until this morning. They were just in range of the guns from the fort and battery, so they flew at the guns they supported, and for twelve hours the shot and shell flew about and over them like hail. The two regiments were protected by a low bluff of a slough; besides, with pocket-knives and bayonets they scooped out the dirt, so that as small an amount of Ohio humanity as possible should be exposed. It is perfectly safe to say that one hundred shot and shell struck within from four to six feet of the Thirty-ninth without killing a single man. I heard men, this morning, proverbially profane say: “Well, it's no use talking, but God was with the Ohio boys yesterday.” The casualties that occurred I append below. Three of the Twenty-seventh had their legs shot off with the same ball. Col. Fuller saw the ball he thought almost spent, and remarked it might break some poor fellow's leg; yet it broke through the fence, knocked off three legs, and continued on its way. One thirty-two pound ball struck the ground, bounded and struck the knapsack of a soldier of the Thirty-ninth as he lay flat upon the ground, knocked the breath out of him, and leaped on its onward journey. The fellow recovered himself soon enough to see his vanishing visitor. Another ball struck a bayonet, bending it double, as it hung by the side of a soldier, and distributed his day's rations in his haversack to the company generally, much to his dissatisfaction. A gun in the hands of a member of the Twenty-seventh was struck and bent at right angles. Shells frequently buried so near that, exploding, would cover with dirt twenty men. Gens. Pope and Stanley rode down and witnessed for a time the firing, and they remarked that it was a miracle that so few were killed or wounded. One round-shot from the enemy struck one of our large guns on the muzzle and knocked a piece out of it six inches long, unfitting it for further service, at the same time killing two men and wounding two or three more. The boys, toward evening, got tired of lying flat; and if the firing ceased for a moment, every fellow would jump up and yell so as to be heard a mile.