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[446] smoke cleared away, we found that their guns were dismounted, nearly every house riddled; and, huddled down close to the water, under the bank, were scores of women, in an agony of terror, beseeching us, for God's sake, not to kill them. May I never see another such a sight! The ordinary horrors of war are bad enough, but the atrocity of making it necessary to open fire upon a village filled with women, I have never seen equalled. We have not landed, and know nothing of the loss they have suffered. No one was hurt on our side.

We are at anchor half a mile above the place; and the order is, that no lights shall be used on board to-night, and nobody undress. I am writing, with coats hung up over my windows, to hide my light, and am suffering from a slight headache.

Fifteen miles above here, at a place called Harrisonburgh, the rebels have a fort. We know nothing yet of its strength or weakness, but, as King William said, at the battle of the Boyne, I think, “strong or weak, we shall know all about it,” for we are going up in the morning to attack it.

. . . . . . . .

March 2d, Evening.--Thanks to a kind Providence, I am still alive and uninjured. As I told you in my letter of yesterday, we went up and attacked the fort at Harrisonburgh, this morning. Our fleet consists of the Osage, Fort Hindman, Ouachita, Cricket, Lexington, and Conestoga, and we went into battle in the order I have placed them.

I think I never said the rebels were cowards, but, if I ever did, I take it back. They fought like demons. They were deficient in artillery, but they used what they had with spirit. They occupied a high, commanding position, and had fortified it with skill. It was a series of hills, the top of each crowned with an earth-work, and the whole connected by rifle-pits.

The battle commenced about nine o'clock, and lasted two hours and a half. I should judge the rebels had three thousand men, and six pieces of artillery. We were completely successful; silenced every gun, and drove the last man from the field. We have no infantry force with us, and could not land, to know what we had accomplished. We burned the town, and proceeded five miles farther up the river, where, finding the water too shallow for us, it was decided to turn back, and are here at our old anchorage of the night before, just above Trinity.

Our losses are considerable. Fort Hindman is disabled, with a loss of nine men. The river is narrow, so that but one vessel can go at a time, and she and the Osage bore, for a time, the whole weight of the battle. All the vessels have lost more or less, except the Conestoga and Lexington.

While I am writing, a deserter brings us the intelligence that the rebels are assembling in force at Trinity. If this information proves to be correct, and I have no doubt it is, we are in for another fight in the morning.

March 3d, 10 o'clock A. M.--We came down here this morning, in confident anticipation of a fight, but the rebels got enough yesterday. During the night they abandoned their works here, burned their guns, and fled. The fleet now lies off the town, throwing an occasional shell over the place, to prevent an approach, while our crews are ashore, unearthing their guns, destroying the gun-carriages, dismantling the fort, collecting plunder, bringing off their guns, etc. It now seems probable that we may not have another fight while we are up here. They may attempt to annoy us with musketry, but are too much demoralized to make another stand, and, between here and the mouth of the Red, there is no place so favorable for them to give battle in, as this. Their losses in yesterday's battle must have been very severe. The guns in this fleet equal the artillery that would be used by an army of seventy-five thousand men; and this, directed against the limited force of the rebels, must have inflicted terrible loss on them. It seems to me now, incredible that they should have held their ground so long against such a fire. In a good cause they would be heroes; they are desperadoes.

No report has yet come on board of the number of guns found here, and I have, of course, no knowledge of the length of time we shall be detained, but think it probable we shall be able to get under way and start down in two or three hours. I can scarcely make myself believe, except as I pass around and see the sick, that we all went through the battle of yesterday, and came off without a mark. . . . .

1 o'clock P. M..--We have remained here all day. The fruits of the victory are, the destruction of two forts, the capture of three heavy siege-guns, the repulse of the rebels, with a loss we know not how heavy, and the opening of the river. We had demolished the fort and got the guns on board by one o'clock P. M.; but, unfortunately, the Conestoga got aground, and all our efforts to get her off have, thus far, proved unavailing. We are abundantly able to protect her, and she will ultimately be got off, but the delay is extremely vexatious. The river is falling, and we can remain up but a limited time, and we wish to use this time in picking up a little stray cotton, thus combining business with pleasure.

This Ouachita country is the finest portion of the South I have yet seen. The climate is delightful, and the soil yields its riches in never-ending productiveness. As we see it now, it is in the first blush of spring. Flowers of many-varied hues beautify the turf of richest green; the peach and plum are in full bloom, and forest trees are brightening into verdure hourly. I mean to see this country at some time, when we do not, as now, come with fire and sword to desolate it. Except that it is malarious, (and all the South is so,) I do not believe there is a finer country in the world.

. . . . . . . .

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