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[248] passing. At this time, Grant's army at Vicksburg was being rapidly reinforced, and it was the aim of the Confederate commander to harass the passing troops as much as possible.

The morning of the 4th, having learned from one of Major Bridges' scouts that a transport, heavily laden with stores, was coming down the river, Lieutenant Ritter took his guns and masked them at a point where the current ran near the shore, upon which he had posted his pieces. Soon the black smoke of a steamer was seen rising above the tree tops, above Carter's bend, a few miles off, and shortly afterwards it came in sight. The vessel was sailing rapidly yet quietly, and, as was afterwards learned, the crew anticipated no danger, for they had not asked any of the vessels they passed if the river was clear of Confederate batteries. The cannoniers were ordered to their posts, the guns loaded, and, as the boat came within range, the order “fire” was given. The stillness of the morning was broken by the shrill report of the rifle piece and the loud roar of the twelve pounder howitzer, which in quick succession flamed out upon the unsuspecting crew. The first or second shot cut the tiller rope, and another broke a piston rod of one of the engines. The crew, finding escape impossible, hoisted a white flag and surrendered and brought the boat ashore. Major Bridges and Lieutenant Ritter were the first to board the boat. The prisoners, seventeen in number, were ordered ashore and put under guard.

They had been drinking the night previous, and therefore failed to inquire of the gunboats they passed whether there were any Confederates on the river. A dinner had been prepared for the passengers, but not served. Lieutenant Ritter's command, therefore, though neither invited nor expected guests, were just in season for the savory dishes of the pantry; nor need we add that they greatly enjoyed the excellent turkey, pies, etc., provided for the occasion.

All the wagons, gun carriages and caissons were filled with such articles as the men thought most useful for the soldier, and the balance, much the greater part, with the beautiful boat (Minnesota), a side-wheel steamer, was consigned to the flames.

This was one of the richest prizes captured on the Mississippi river. The boat contained about a quarter of a million dollars worth of stores, and was the property of a Northern speculator.

About 5 o'clock in the evening, two of the enemy's gunboats came in sight and immediately commenced a furious and indiscriminate cannonading of the surrounding plantations, without

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