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[397] much as possible, reinforcements from reaching General Grant at Vicksburg.

Soon after the arrival of Ritter's section, a transport appeared in view, ascending the river. Lieutenant Ritter opened fire on her, some of the shells exploding upon her deck, and others passing through her. She got by, but cast anchor a few miles up the river to repair damages. A swamp prevented further attack on her at her anchorage.

The firing had scarcely ceased, when a gun-boat came in sight. The section took position behind the levee, where it would be sheltered somewhat during the engagement which was now anticipated. Lieutenant Ritter had taken the precaution to cut abrasures in the levee, so that he might thus protect his guns in an emergency.

Approaching within range, the gun-boat proceeded at once to open fire on the Confederates. The latter replied with shot and shell, and the engagement lasted about half an hour, when the enemy steamed away. It was afterwards ascertained that the vessel was iron-plated only about the port-holes, for the protection of her gunners, and that some of the shells had passed through her.

About the 1st of May, Lieutenant Cottonham's section was ordered to Vicksburg.

On the morning of the 4th, one of Major Bridges scouts brought the news that a transport, heavily laden with stores, was coming down the river. Lieutenant Ritter masked his guns at a point where the current ran in near the bank, and a waited the vessel's approach. Soon the black smoke of a steamer was seen rising above the tree tops, beyond Carter's Bend, a few miles off, and shortly afterwards she was in sight. On the vessel came, anticipating no danger. The cannoneers were ordered to their posts, the guns were loaded, and as the boat came within range, the order “fire” was given.

The stillness of the calm summer morning must have seemed to the crew rudely broken, when in quick succession the shrill report of the rifle-piece and the loud roar of the twelve-pounder howitzer broke upon their ears. The first or second shot cut the tiller-rope, and another broke a piston-rod of one of the engines. The crew, dispairing of escape, hoisted a white flag of surrender, and brought the boat ashore.

Major Bridges and Lieutenant Ritter were the first to board the prize, which was found to be the Minnesota. The crew met them at the head of the saloon steps, and politely requested their captors, in true Western style, to “take a drink,” which was as politely declined.

The prisoners, seventeen in number, were sent ashore, and the Confederates

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