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[398] took possession. The boat was found heavily laden with Sutler's stores — flour, bacon, potatoes, pickles of all sorts, sugar, coffee, rice, ginger, syrup, cheese, butter, oranges, lemons, preserves, canned oysters, whiskey, wines, musquito nets, clothing, stationery, tobacco, etc., etc. To needy Confederates, nothing could have been more acceptable. They sat down to a luxurious dinner, which was in preparation at the time of the attack, and relished it, perhaps, more than those for whom it had been intended. Part of the festivities consisted in breaking a bottle of wine over Black Bess--Lieutenant Ritter's iron twelve-pounder — to a shot from which Major Bridges attributed the speedy surrender of the Minnesota. She had long been familiarly known to the battery by this name, but only now received her formal christening. After everything which would be of service had been brought ashore, the steamer was fired. Her value was estimated at $250,000.

About 5 P. M., that day, the enemy's gun-boats appeared, and, without notice to the women and children upon them, began to shell the neighboring plantations.

On the 6th, the section was ordered to return to Rolling Fork, and upon its arrival, Lieutenant Ritter was complimented by General Ferguson and Lieutenant Wood, on his management of his guns. On the 14th, both sections of artillery, and Major Bridge's battalion of cavalry, were ordered to Greenville, and on the 16th proceeded to their old camp at Fish Lake.

The morning of May 18th, 1863, dawned with splendid promise. The sun rose bright and clear, chasing away the mist and fog that hid the face of the Father of Waters, and stirring to activity the contending hosts that were set in battle array along his whole course. The Confederates encamped at Fish Lake were still jubilant over their recent success with the Minnesota, and the captured stores enabled them to indulge in luxuries to which they had long been strangers. Grouped about their fires, they drank their morning coffee with all the relish due the genuine berry. Chatting over the details of their recent exploit, some sitting, and some reclining on their elbows under their bivouac shelters, they sipped the aromatic beverage with great enjoyment. If their inner-man was well-to-do, their outer-man had no less reason to rejoice in his surroundings. Their camp was snugly inclosed on all sides by a deep and primitive forest of cottonwood, magnolia and live oak. The magnolias were in full bloom, and while one variety filled the air with its delightful odor, another attracted the eye by the size of its flowers. The flora of the Mississippi Valley, as is well known, is far

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