|The transport “black Hawk” after her fiery test--May, 1864 The vessel shows the treatment accorded the thirty army transports which, convoyed by Porter's gunboats, went up the Red River in the futile expedition, the object of which was to reach Shreveport. The stacks and pilot-house of the “Black Hawk” have been riddled with Confederate bullets, and she shows the evidences of the continuous struggle through which the fleet passed in the retreat from Grand Ecore. For nearly a month the Federal vessels worked their way slowly down the river. The water was falling rapidly and the vessels, as they nosed their way through the shallow and unfamiliar channel, were constantly running aground. As the military forces had withdrawn to Alexandria, the Confederates, who lined both banks of the river, seized every opportunity to attack the discomfited vessels, and almost daily attempts were made to damage or capture them. The river was full of snags and the vessels had to be lightened; they were “jumped” over sand-bars and logs, fighting every inch of the difficult and laborious journey. Even Admiral Porter himself described the obstacles to be overcome as enough to appall the stoutest heart.|
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