Cincinnati Commercial account.
Memphis appeal account.
But it is a source of pride to us, in this our first issue from another theatre of operations, to record the fact, that she fell honorably, and with her “flag nailed to the mast-head.”
For months the city has been the object of Federal hopes and aspirations, not only because of its important position with reference to the Mississippi valley
, but because it was believed that there existed among its people a Union sentiment which would extend and give tone to the community of the entire State.
At last they have succeeded in attaining their object.
Their gunboats now swarm before her portals; the Stars and Stripes are now flaunting from her public edifices; her streets are guarded with Federal soldiery, and a Federal commander has usurped the powers which belong to her municipal rulers.
Yet not one voice, to our knowledge, has been raised in behalf of the new administration — not one heart has throbbed in sympathy with the invader.
In order to convey to our readers a comprehensive account of the surrender, we should observe that the evacuation of Forts Pillow
and taken place two days before.
All of the ammunition, stores, and many of the guns had been brought away.
Yet, so quietly was this done, that notwithstanding the close proximity of the enemy, they were not aware of the fact until the last man was miles away from the position, en route
, and the last dollar's worth of confederate property either removed or rendered valueless.
Thursday morning found the troops all in Memphis
about to depart for another sphere of action.
Thursday night the Federal fleet followed close upon their footsteps, and anchored five
miles above the city with steam up. At the same time seven Federal regiments were landed and marched down from Mound City
, and deployed on the Arkansas
shore to the distance of four miles below the city.
At nine o'clock on Thursday evening the scout-boats of Com. Montgomery
notified him of the presence of the Federals
, by sending up rockets, which was the sign agreed upon, when a signal-gun was discharged from the flag-ship.
Contrary to public expectation the enemy did not advance during the night, but at early dawn they were discovered slowly rounding the point behind which they had lain concealed.
They formed in line of battle at the foot of the island above the city.
The confederate fleet consisted of the following boats: General Van Dorn
, (flag-ship,) General Price
, General Bragg
, Jeff. Thompson
, General Lovell
, General Beauregard
, and Little Rebel, all rams, and was under the command of Corn.
. Owing to the fact that the Van Dorn
had on board over two hundred thousand dollars' worth of public property — a part of which was one hundred thousand pounds of powder — the flag of the Commodore
had been transferred to the Little Rebel.
Each of these boats carried an armament of two guns, with the exception of the Jeff.
, which had four.
The instructions given in by the Commodore
to the captains, were that they should fight as long as their coal lasted, or until they were disabled, when they were to sink, burn, or blow up their respective crafts, rather than allow them to fall into the hands of the enemy.
The Federal gunboats consisted of the following: the gunboat Benton
, (flag-ship of Commodore Davis
,) Captain Phelps
commanding; she mounts fourteen guns; gunboat St. Louis
, Capt. McGanegle
, thirteen guns; gunboat Mound City
, Captain A. W. Kelley
, thirteen guns; gunboat Louisville
, Captain Dove
, thirteen guns; gunboat Cairo
------, thirteen guns; gunboat Carondelet
, Captain Walke
, thirteen guns; three mortar-boats, and twenty rams and transports, including the Monarch
, Queen of the West
, Lancaster No. Three
, John H. Dickey
, Henry Von Phul
, and others, the whole fleet numbering forty-two.
This overwhelming force advanced, as near as we can describe it, with several of their rams in front, their iron-clad gunboats in the centre, two and three abreast, and their mortar-boats and transports bringing up their rear.
The fight was commenced by the confederate ram Jeff. Thompson
, which fired several shots, to which no reply was made.
Soon after, however, the firing became general, and for three quarters of an hour the booming of the heavy artillery was incessant, the Federal fleet firmly advancing and our own little fleet slowly retiring.
During this cannonade an attempt was made by a Yankee ram, the Lancaster Number Three
, to run into the Beauregard
; but, by a skilful manoeuvre, the latter eluded the shock, and in turn dashed into her Federal antagonist, striking her a tremendous blow just forward of her wheel-house, which so disabled her as to make it necessary to run her ashore to prevent her from sinking, and the crew from drowning.
The Federal ram Monarch
made directly for the confederate fleet, and passed down rapidly.
and the Price
now made for the Monarch
, all three coming rapidly together, but, unfortunately, the blow aimed by the Beauregard
at the Monarch
missed its object, and struck the Price
on the wheel-house, which was entirely torn off, and from which injuries she subsequently sank in shoal-water on the Arkansas
Her hull is still visible.
Soon after these collisions had taken place, it was discovered that the General Lovell
had been struck by a shot, which disabled her machinery.
She was then headed for the Tennessee
shore, but before reaching the same she was struck by a ram, and instantly sunk in deep water about two hundred yards from shore, at the foot of Huling street. While the Lovell
was sinking, several boats, manned by non-combatants, left the shore to aid the crew who were struggling in the water, when, with a brutality characteristic of Yankee conduct during the war, two broadsides were fired at them from two of the passing gunboats of the enemy.
Among the killed, by the sharp-shooters, of the crew of the Lovell
, was Capt. William Cabell
, the pilot, who received a shot through the head and died instantly.
Another boat, the Little Rebel
, was disabled about this time by a ball, when a Federal gunboat ran alongside, and depressing her guns, poured in a broadside below her guards, which, to use the language of one of her crew, “fairly blew her bottom out.”
Most of those on board escaped by swimming ashore, Com. Montgomery
being among the number.
His escape was made after an encounter with three Yankee pickets, who demanded his surrender as he was nearing the shore.
In the fray we have every reason to think somebody was hurt.
Here the narrative of the fight terminates.
The Jeff. Thompson
, and Bragg
were respectively disabled, run ashore, or set on fire, their crews meanwhile escaping to the woods.
The Jeff. Thompson
is blown up, the Beauregard
sunk near the shore, her upper-works remaining above the surface.
were the only boats that could be brought off, and these were subsequently anchored in front of the city, with the odious flag of the invaders flying at their mast-heads.
Finding that the Van Dorn
, after a long pursuit, could not be overhauled, a portion of the Federal fleet returned to a position in front of the city, when a boat, bearing a white flag, approached the levee and landed an officer and three men, who at once proceeded to the Mayor
's office, and presented the following demand for the surrender of the city:
replied as follows:
The first of the public buildings visited by the small squad that came ashore was the post-office, over which the Federal
flag was raised.
In passing through the streets no disturbance occurred, but the crowd at every corner gave the most unmistakable signs of their hostility to the government whose ensign was about to be thrown out. It was reported that one pistol-shot was fired at the men on the post-office engaged in raising the flag, but we were unable to obtain any authentication of the rumor.
Groans and hisses greeted the enemy's banner, and the spirit of the populace was so strongly manifested, that it was thought advisable by the Federal
officers to place a guard around the flag, which was done.
During the afternoon Mayor Park
received a second communication from Com. Davis
announcing that he had placed the city under military authority, and that he would be pleased to have his cooperation.
We subjoin the correspondence:
After a consultation between the commander of the Federal
land forces and the Mayor
, the city was placed under the control of a strong guard of Federal troops.
During a walk through the streets after midnight Friday night, we passed several of the patrolling parties.
Everything was quiet, and but few persons were seen upon the streets.
During the afternoon succeeding the battle, the business houses were all closed.
The people kept aloof from the enemy, and they were not interfered with until a squad was sent to remove the confederate flag from the mast on Front row.
This the crowd refused to permit to be done, when two companies were landed from one of the transports and marched to the spot.
After surrounding the pole, and a dispute of several hours, during which a collision was several times imminent; it was cut down amidst the execrations of those present against their invaders, and Vociferous huzzas for the Confederacy
, Jeff Davis
That the fleet of the enemy was vastly superior to ours, not only in the number of vessels, but also in the weight of ordnance, was well known before it was determined to give battle.
Why this conclusion was arrived at, will be explained by the report of Commodore Montgomery
, and until that document appears we decline all comment.
Our men commenced the fight gallantly, and prosecuted it bravely.
No censure can attach to their conduct, which was witnessed by thousands who had congregated upon the bluff.
Our loss of men will not, we believe, exceed fifty in killed and wounded, and one hundred prisoners. On the boats captured and destroyed, there was but a small quantity of stores and munitions, and everything in the city of value to the government had been removed.
Beyond the mere fact of obtaining possession of the position, the victory of the enemy was a barren one.
They have only learned of the existence of a condition of things which we are proud to record of the Bluff City
— namely, that her citizens remained loyal to the confederate cause, and that none of that Union spirit which has so long been charged as existing among her people was manifested.
The city is conquered, but her people are not crushed, or converted to Lincolnism — neither have they lost a particle of hope in the ultimate success of the South
They almost unanimously pledged themselves to the cause at the ballot-box a year ago, and they remain true to the pledge, even under the great adversity that has overtaken them.
To their honor be it recorded!