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[231]

Here the army is saving the navy by a brilliant piece of engineering that prevented the loss of a fleet worth $2,000,000. The Red River expedition was one of the most humiliating ever undertaken by the Federals. Porter's fleet, which had so boldly advanced above the falls at Alexandria, was ordered back, only to find that the river was so low as to imprison twelve vessels. Lieut.-Colonel Joseph Bailey, acting engineer of the Nineteenth Corps, obtained permission to build a dam in order to make possible the passage of the fleet. Begun on April 30, 1864, the work was finished on the 8th of May, almost entirely by the soldiers, working incessantly day and night, often up to their necks in water and under the broiling sun. Bailey succeeded in turning the whole current into one channel and the squadron passed below to safety. Not often have inland lumbermen been the means of saving a navy.

The army saving the navy in May, 1864


 

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