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[267] deserted her and escaped to the woods. He carried safely both gunboat and steamer to Paris Landing, where they were greeted with rounds of applause by Forrest's troopers.

During this time another gunboat, coming down stream at the sound of the conflict, cast anchor one mile and a half above Briggs's section and opened a brisk shelling. Briggs's pieces being too far from the gunboat for execution were moved, by order of General Chalmers, to shorter range, supported by Chalmers's escort and a company of Alabama cadets as sharp-shooters. Selecting a suitable position, Briggs and the supports, after a spirited engagement, forced the gunboat to weigh anchor and withdraw up the river.

The Undine, one of the largest of its class of gunboats, was a good deal shattered, a shot having passed through from stem to stern, but was not seriously injured in hull, machinery or armament. One gun had been spiked and another had a shell lodged in its bore from one of our guns, which broke a trunion plate, partially dismounting her. There were fifteen of her crew killed and wounded, the Captain among the killed. The Venus was intact as to machinery and hull, although, out of a detachment of infantry she had on board, ten had been killed and wounded and ten were made prisoners. The barges were emptied of their stores and destroyed.

General Forrest arriving upon the ground on the morning of the 31st, energetically pushed the preparations for the contemplated attack on the depot at Johnsonville. General Forrest, sending for me, ordered that I should have the gunboat overhauled, armament repaired, and take charge of the fleet. I readily assented to putting the armament in condition, but begged to be excused from commanding the fleet. I told the General that I could trust to the handling of my guns on land, but was not familiar with naval affairs. After some consultation, remembering having seen Captain F. P. Gracey's daring aquatic feat at old Fort Heiman a few days before, and knowing the Captain to be a gallant and skilled artillery officer and experienced steamboat man, I suggested that he be placed in command of the fleet. General Lyon, who was present, indorsed my statements, Captain Gracey was immediately sent for and appointed naval commander and placed in personal charge of the gunboat Undine. Colonel W. A. Dawson, an old steamboat captain and gallant cavalry leader, was placed in charge of the transport Venus, upon which the two twenty-pounder “Parrott” guns — Walton's battery — had been placed as armament.

I accompanied General Forrest, with other members of his staff, on board the Undine when we made a trial trip to Fort Heiman, the Venus

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