surrender of Island No.10, the garrison was increased to five thousand, which has been drained down to about two hundred and fifty by the army of Beauregard at Corinth. The length of the bluff is about four miles, three of which are skirted by the river, Cole Creek running inland along its base. It is at the debouch of this creek that the fortifications commence. Commencing at Cole Creek, we find first in the list of works a series of charred and smoking gun-carriages and platforms, eleven in number, the guns of which have all been removed, with two exceptions--thirty-two-pounders — which have recoiled by the shock, so as to throw them from their carriages. Continuing nearly in line with this work, we come upon a huge one hundred and twenty-eight-pounder columbiad, cast at the Tredegar Works in Richmond, careened over so as to rest its breech upon the ground, pointing up to the heavens at an acute angle, several piles of shell, solid shot, and two or three small ovens for heating shot, more smoldering carriages, and then a blank space in the middle, which appears to have been overflown, and the guns, if ever mounted, have been displaced long ago. Toward the lower end, the tier of batteries rises so as to present a large, roomy and elaborate system of bombproofs, traverses and parapets in front of the steep bank, of the most formidable kind. Some five burst guns and two spiked remain of the twenty originally placed there. The magazines, large and commodious, with rat-holes under the embrasures, were well constructed, At the extreme lower end of this tier were two monster mortars rent into massive fragments, which by the rusty fractures indicated they had been burst long before. These were evidently intended as imitations and offsets for the terrible engines with which we were assailing them daily. They had been cast at Memphis, and from the marks of the metal, cast from bad iron. They were only fifteen inches of rim, while those of ours have seventeen, and were cast with a chamber in which the powder is inserted. Unlike ours in all other respects, they were intended to be like our mortars. The shells were exact copies, probably obtained from some of ours which had failed to explode. Two of these mortars were found three quarters of a mile further down the bank, spiked. These are the mortars which they have been firing at us of late; but either through inferior powder or want of skill in their use, they have not been able to reach us, although placed at a great elevation over our own. The principal battery of interest, placed nearly at the top of the bluff is the casemated battery overlooking the entrance of Cole Creek, as it is the only casemated battery in the place. The rebels had burned the roof and supports of the roof, and the earth had fallen in so as to cover up gun-carriage and all, and the description of the gun must be omitted until it is exhumed. It is supposed to be a rifled eight-inch gun of superior model, from the character of the shot surrounding it. Next in order comes a battery of six guns, all thirty-two pounders. Three of them have been removed, two burst, and one dismounted. A large number of Read balls and shells are left behind, significant of their worthlessness. Further down-stream we come upon a single gun, also a mammoth one hundred and twenty-eight pounder,. completely reversed by the recoil, so as to be pitched back over, vent down. A compact and admirable magazine is constructed in the bank close behind it. Further down we come upon two separate excavations, evidently designed for a single gun each, but bear no appearance of having any mounted. Here also we met with those immense piles of dirt to which we have become so accustomed, the invariable earthworks and rifle-pits. The trenches and breastworks back from the river, of which there are in some places two lines, and in others detached pieces, are of the most stupendous kind. Deep and wide rifle-trenches have been dug around the brows of every commanding hill, backed by a stout line of earthworks, behind which field-pieces are intended to be placed. The line of intrenchments running from one end to the other is estimated at six miles long, which, on account of the broken and abrupt face of the country, renders an attack in the rear almost suicidal. Ravines, spurs, ridges, and jutting points are intermingled in the most fanciful order. On the extreme east of the Fort, and above Cole Creek, we found the remains of the camp all charred and in ruins. Here was the usual assortment of bottles, biscuits, playing-cards, Bibles, utensils, and letters, a few coarse tents and some coarser clothing. The remains showed the soldiers to have been living in great discomfort. Strange to say, no shells had been directed to this spot, lying as it did too far to the left of us for our attention. Accommodations were there for perhaps two thousand men. In a ravine at the lower end we found the commissary storehouses burnt to the ground. An immense pile of smouldering pork on one side of the road, and an immense pile of corn and beans and peas on the other, told us the secret of the illumination of the previous night. Some twenty or thirty barrels of molasses were left, which our forces quickly appropriated to their use. All the barracks, houses, and stores in the place had been consumed previous to our departure. The quantity of shot and shell left behind was unusually small, and the magazines were entirely empty. The evacuation was complete, clean and entire, nothing worth the carriage was left behind. From a farmer, living three miles from the Fort, we learned that our land force had moved the day previous to our arrival to Mason's station, on the Memphis and Nashville road, where they would take the train to Corinth, as they said, not knowing that Corinth was in our hands. Before leaving they had assigned their stores to
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.