rapidly as possible to Louisville, and report to Generals Boyle or Wright. This I did, and the inclosed papers will explain the final result of the unfortunate affair. Thus hoping that in all this you will not condemn me, I remain your obedient servant,
M. P. Gaddis, Chaplain Second Regiment O. V. I.
Mr. Spray, a hospital clerk at Nashville, gives the following account of this affair:
on board steamer Hastings, January 15, 1863.I snatch a few moments from the dreadful scenes that have surrounded us for the past three days, to say that on the twelfth instant, in company with many officers, wounded in the late battle, together with four hundred wounded soldiers, on the steamers Hastings and Trio, I left Nashville to assist in getting the steamers through to Louisville. Before starting I heard several insinuations that the guerillas would resist our passage, but we being on an errand of mercy, thought our mission would be respected and allowed to pass unmolested. No evidences of danger were seen until, approaching Harpeth Shoals, we beheld the smoking hull of the steamer Charter, and several burning houses on the south side of the river. The steamer had been burned by the guerrillas under the notorious Col. Wade, and the houses by Lieut. Van Dorn, of the First Ohio, in charge of the national gunboat Major Sidell. A short distance below was a large fleet of Federal steamers engaged in getting over the shoals, under the protection of the gunboat Sidell. On passing Van Dorn's fleet I hailed him, and inquired as to danger below. He replied: “There is no danger — I have cleaned them out.” We passed on, the Trio a mile or so in advance. Near two miles below the gunboat we caught sight of the Trio lying to in a cove opposite the shoals. Knowing that she was short of fuel, we concluded that she was engaged in taking on a supply of wood. On nearing her we saw several mounted soldiers drawn up in line along the shore. As many of them had on Federal overcoats, we thought them to be our cavalry. They hailed us, and ordered us to land. I at once discovered them to be guerrillas, and ordered Capt. Robinson to land. The order was promptly obeyed. The current being strong, the boat did not yield readily to the turn of the pilot, making slow progress in swinging around, causing her to drag slowly down the stream. This caused the guerrillas to think that we were not going to land, and they immediately fired two heavy volleys of musketry, followed by two discharges of six-pound balls, all taking effect on the steamer. Your correspondent, in company with Captain Robinson and Pilot Kilburn, of Covington, was standing on the hurricane-deck when the firing took place. I hailed them, and told them to fire no more, as we were loaded with wounded, and would land as soon as possible. They tried to kill the man at the wheel, who stood bravely at his post, amidst all the fire, until the boat was tied up. On our near approach to them, I hastened down to still the dreadful confusion that the firing had caused. Several ladies were on board, and, be it said to their praise, they behaved like true heroines; no fainting or screaming; all as quiet as could be desired under such circumstances. On my return to the front of the boat, I was met by Col. Wade, who, with a horrible oath, ordered Dr. Waterman, surgeon in charge of the wounded, to take his d — d wounded Yankees ashore, as he would burn the boat, and us, too, unless the order was obeyed. I instantly appealed to him in behalf of the wounded. During this time his followers had come on board, and took full possession of every thing. Here I should like, if I could, to picture out to your readers, and the world at large, the awful scene of pillage and plunder that ensued. All but two or three of them were demoralized by the drink obtained previous to our arrival from the bar of the Trio. I will not attempt to pen-picture the scene; language fails, and words are beggars, in attempting to do so. Near one hundred of the thieving, plundering gang, were engaged in rifling every thing from the clerk's office to the chambermaid's room. For a few moments, the stoutest hearts were appalled, and consternation had seized upon all. On passing around, appealing to them to desist, I met their Assistant Adjutant-General, in whom I recognized an old acquaintance, who instantly promised to do all in his power to save the boat, and stop the plundering. He spoke to Col. Wade, and he ordered them off the boat; but, alas, that overshadowing curse of both armies was there, in full possession of human hearts, that might have been more humane, had not the demon spirit of rum hardened their natural sympathies, and unchained their baser passions. In their maddened thirst for plunder, they trampled on and over our poor wounded men, taking their rations, blankets, overcoats, canteens, and even money out of their pockets. Never was there such a scene witnessed. For a time confusion reigned supreme. During the time Dr. Waterman and myself had come to terms with Assistant Adjutant-General Buford, in regard to the passengers. The officers, able and disable, were to be paroled together with the wounded men, but he insisted on burning the boat. We then asked him to spare one boat, and allow us to go on to Clarksville. This he consented to do, upon my entering into a written agreement that the boat should hereafter carry no other supplies, or do any other work for the Government, other than sanitary work. In addition to this, the writer was to burn, or have burned, one hundred and eleven bales of cotton that were on the deck of the Hastings, upon our arrival at Louisville. The terms were severe, and Wade would listen to no other; and on my failing to comply with these terms, the men must be put ashore, and left without covering, rations, or medicines, badly wounded, and thirty-five miles from any military post. Military rule and the stern dictates thereof may condemn our conclusion, yet the claims of suffering humanity, under such circumstances, would compel