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[265] nearly a mile; although on a chilly October day, with the sun obscured by hanging clouds, the men becoming exhausted from hard physical effort, would for a moment drop from their posts and crawl to the river's edge to bathe their burning brows and quench their thirst with the muddy water of the turbid stream. This was certainly a remarkable contest, when we consider the consternation and panic usually produced amongst troops upon the appearance of Federal gunboats, and especially to those unaccustomed to gunboat warfare. Lieutenant S. K. Watkins, the Artillery Battalion Quartermaster, who was an efficient artillery officer, volunteered his services with Zarring's section, and rendered conspicuous and effective service in this novel charge with artillery. Orderly Sergeant Frank T. Reid, of Morton's battery, whose place was with the caissons in a protected situation, was, as usual, at the front, and ever ready to assume any position around the guns in which he could be most serviceable.

Meanwhile, I received an order from General Buford to move one section of artillery from Paris Landing down to the bend of the river opposite to where the gunboat Undine and transport Venus were anchored, and dislodge them, or force a surrender. Orderly Sergeant Reid was directed to hastily proceed down the river and carefully reconnoiter the position where the Undine and Venus were lying. At this time, on looking up the river, I discovered “more game” in sight. A steamboat was seen approaching very slowly and cautiously, some two miles way. I directed the guns to be withdrawn from the immediate river front, and the men to lie down. The steamer, which proved to be the J. W. Cheesman, approached slowly, in fact, at one time checking up as if to return. She evidently apprehended danger. No troops being observed on the shore, and possibly seeing the Undine and Venus below, she was emboldened to proceed on her way. As she passed Crozier, a volley from his ten-pounder Parrotts crashed through her cabins, causing the greatest confusion and bustle on board. She hastened up her speed, but instantly Zarring run his three-inch “Rodmans” in position and drove two shots through her from stem to stern. Other unerring shots followed in quick succession from both sections, and precipitated a most exciting race. Zarring was ordered to follow with his section the receding boat. The guns were moved “by hand to front,” and fired at rapid intervals.

A most remarkable feature to be noted was that, although the boat was constantly in motion and the guns changing position at every discharge, hardly a shot failed to strike its mark. She was irreparably

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Lemuel Zarring (2)
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