for the restoration of the old order of things, though still professing to be secessionists.
Charles Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding Ram Flotilla.
A National account.
Fort Pillow, Wednesday Night, June 4.Fort Pillow is fallen. The last rebel strong-hold on the Mississippi is ours, and the way lies open to Memphis. The fortifications before which we have lain so long and into which we have poured so many thousands of ponderous shells, is at our mercy. Eight weeks have we besieged it with gunboats and mortars, and it now falls without the loss of a life. The enemy is gone, quit, scampered, run away, unable to withstand the closing jaws of our fleets and armies ; he is panic-stricken and demoralized. While I write, the flaming bonfires of his stores, his quarters, are lighting the heavens, and the flashes of his guns bespeak his haste. Victory! The immediate occasion of this desperate and ruinous step on the part of the subjects of King Cotton is no doubt the fate of Corinth, but the real victory was gained on that dread day at Shiloh, when the few stout and loyal hearts and the active brains of our freemen held back the tide of rebellion by their determined and self-sacrificing spirit. Neither Corinth, nor Pillow, nor Memphis was safe after that crowning Sunday night. It became a question who should bring up the most men and resources for the next battle. We did it and the victory becomes bloodless in consequence. The exultation, the jubilee which this auspicious day will send to the hearts of thousands of our fellow-countrymen is the first fruit of the great restoration of peace and prosperity which is to flow in upon us from this hour. We have not only applied the tourniquet to this rebellion, but changed the current of the artery which is henceforth to throb with loyal and national — life-sustaining national blood. Flag-Officer Davis must have had some intimation of the rebel purpose in abandoning and destroying the place some day or two since. There have been an unusual number and variety of reconnoissances during this week, in tugs, in rams, in yawls, in gunboats, and by overland scouting. Reports certainly reached us two days ago of the evacuation, but when our mortars were fired they met with very ready responses. This morning the mortars opened at an unusually early hour. The firing was continued with great spirit during the morning, the rebels firing a shot in return at long intervals. Probably twenty shots were received from them during the morning, all of which, however, fell short. Our tremendous shells could be seen very distinctly exploding over the bluff on which their works were situated, the white, expanding, fleecy cloud drifting slowly across the horizon long after the ponderous missiles had reached the earth. The day was cool, with a refreshing north wind blowing, and the spectacle of the mortar bombardment was witnessed with great interest until about three o'clock, when the firing ceased, the rebels having ceased an hour before. reconnoissance — accounts of A deserter. The cessation of the mortar-firing was probably to allow a reconnoissance to be made across Craighead Point. Col. Fitch sent a lieutenant and eight men over, who reported, on their return, that there were still men to be seen about the guns, but that the general appearance of the place was deserted. A more satisfactory exploration was made, however, by Pilot Bixby, of the Benton, who took a cutter, with boat's crew, and went down to the point, where he landed. A deserter made his way to the cutter across the point, and informed us that the rebels had gone from Fort Pillow, that the fort was abandoned, except by a garrison of twenty men, who had been left behind with ten rounds of ammunition for each of the few guns still left in position. So earnest and positive in his asseverations, that he offered to lead the party to the works, and if they did not find things as he described them, he offered his life as the forfeit. The deserter was brought to the flag-ship, where he repeated his story with greater detail. A pause of some three hours occurred, in which there was comparative silence on both sides. It was about six o'clock as we had just risen from supper, when a cloud of white smoke was announced as appearing over the tops of the trees. An instant more, and a jet of water splashed up fifty feet high from the surface of the river right abreast of the point. A minute had elapsed when another, and after a while a third and fourth struck nearly in the same place. These seemed to confront the report of the deserter which had just been brought in, and while we were discussing the truth of the report, a number of guns were fired from the fort, the shots from which could nowhere be discovered. Not a gunboat was within range, the mortarboats had been already towed up from their position, not a skiff nor a human being could be seen, and it was finally concluded the enemy was probably firing at some of our scouting-party in the woods. Not until later did we discover that these were the parting salutes of the fugacious rebels — a vindictive leave-taking after so long and harmless a siege. So free were they with their ammunition, that they plied their guns with double and triple charges, and then left them to explode. By half-past 6 or near seven we could perceive also an unusual quantity of light smoke coming as it were from the river opposite the fort, which we took at first for the flotilla. The sun was setting gloriously at our backs as we gazed at the dark bluffs. Soon the smoke grew more dense and expanded. In half an hour it burst out further to the right, and in half an hour the tops of the woods were crowned with the light reflection of fires. The principal seat of the burning material seemed to be on the river's bank, nearly at the lower turn of the