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[399] more rich and splendid in tint than that of the Atlantic slope; and what with the abundance of flowering trees, interspersed with others whose foliage exhibits every variety of color and form — the profusion of bright green mosses and twining vines — the dense undergrowth of berries and vigorous shrubbery, the whole produces upon the mind a strong impression of the magnificent prodigality of nature. Add to it the enchanting effect of the sunlight of a bright May morning, and the scene becomes one of indiscribable beauty.

The Marylanders of Major Bridge's command were surrendering themselves to the charm of this romantic situation, when an order was received which made them oblivious of it all. The news had came in through the scouts that lined the river for many miles above, that a number of transports laden with reinforcements for General Grant's army at Vicksburg were coming down, and would reach Carter's Bend that morning. Immediately all was life and bustling activity, and the soldier's peculiar feeling of quiet delight at the approach of danger, took the place of the more amiable sentimentality of a few moments ago.

Major Bridges' force consisted of one section of artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Anderson, and another by Lieutenant Ritter, each with about twenty-five men, and a small squadron of Texas Rangers; the whole command numbering about two hundred and fifty men. Getting his men speedily in motion, he proceeded rapidly up the Greenville road, eight miles, to a point above Carter's Bend. The Mississippi here makes a detour of fifteen miles, and then returning upon itself, forms a peninsula, the neck of which is but a mile across. It was thought best to take this position above, rather than the one below the bend, as in case of success there would be an opportunity to fire a second time below at the vessels that had been disabled in the first attack.

The four pieces of artillery were placed on the river bank, unprotected, but masked by the thick brush that grew along the water's edge. The dismounted calvary acting as sharpshooters, and supporting the Maryland section, were disposed to the right and left along the river. The levee was about a hundred and fifty yards in the rear, and beyond that were the open fields of Carter's plantation. Thus disposed, the Confederates awaited the enemy's approach, beguiling the time by picking the luscious blackberries found here in great profusion.

They had not long to wait, as the Federal vessels soon appeared. The Cresent City, a side-wheeler, which had formerly plied between New Orleans and Memphis, led the van. She was now employed as a transport, and was laden down with troops. They covered the entire

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Sergeant William L. Ritter (1)
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