Doc. 175.-Lieut. Com. Fitch's report of operations on the Tennessee and Cumberland.
Mississippi Squadron, flag-ship Benton, mouth of Red River, May 12, 1863.Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a report from Lieutenant Commander Leroy Fitch, in relation to operations in the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.
United States gun-boat Lexington, Hamburgh Landing, April 28, 1863.Sir: I have the honor to report that on the twenty-fourth instant, while cruising down the river, ahead of General Ellet's fleet, I met the steamer Emma Duncan, Acting Master Griswold commanding, coming up to report his vessel for duty. Learning that he had been attacked by a field-battery at Green Bottom Bar, and had three men badly wounded, I proceeded down the river, giving him orders to follow me, in hopes of catching the rebels at or near the same place. I passed the bar about dark in the evening, but the enemy was nowhere to be seen. Arriving at the foot of Green Bottom Bar about midnight, I anchored till morning. Still seeing nothing of the enemy, I proceeded on up the river to meet and communicate with General Ellet. The Emma Duncan remaining nearly a mile in my rear, caught a ferry-flat coming out of a creek, after I had passed; the guerrillas in the flat jumped out and made their escape in the woods. The flat, however, was destroyed and set adrift. I cruised on up leisurely, keeping a good lookout for the enemy along the right bank, but saw no signs of them till I arrived at Duck River Shoals, when I heard musketry and artillery a short distance (not a mile) ahead. I pushed on over the bar and met General Ellet's fleet just at the head of the shoals, engaging the rebel batteries. I was then in good range, and at once opened fire on the enemy. There was not room for his boats to round or to back out of the channel. He was, therefore, compelled to push over the bar before he could effect a landing. I took the battery side, and moved up to cover his boats as much as possible, at the same time raking the bank with our heavy guns. The ram Monarch came in range and opened fire also. As soon as I rounded the point, the enemy fired a farewell shot at one of the brigade boats, limbered up and were off. Some few sharp-shooters remained behind, fired a few shots at a transport having on board sick and wounded. I followed on up the bank, throwing shell after them till I thought them out of range, and ceased firing. By this time General Ellet had landed and was pursuing them. Several of the enemy were found dead on the bank, and many more were dragged off in the woods. I should suppose that their loss in killed and wounded is about twenty-five or thirty. I believe General Ellet lost two killed and one wounded on his boats; also, some horses killed. About eleven P. M. I left General Ellet at the foot of the bar, and proceeded on up the river with his boat and the Emma Dunean, to communicate with the fleet above. I arrived at Eastport in the afternoon of the twenty-seventh instant, and received a communication from General Dodge at Tuscumbia. . . . .