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[400] hurricane-deck, and the water-deck below. Packed and crowded in a way that only pleasure seekers can enjoy, the steamer presented the appearance of a vessel chartered for a holiday excursion. Behind the Crescent City, at a distance of about half a mile, was a gunboat, and following that at regular intervals, four more transports. The number of troops aboard the five vessels was estimated at about four thousand infantry and calvary.

The decks of the first transport presented a scene of mirth and jolity. As the vessel drew near the Confederate battery, the latter suddenly opened a raking fire of shell and canister, which put an end to the idle dream of peace and safety. Men careless a moment before, now jumped and rushed, with yells of pain and fright, to the opposite side of the boat, thus careening it fearfully and exposing its hull to the artillerists on shore. The latter proceeded at once to fire shell into it, till the Federal officers, with a deal of swearing and yelling, got the men back and righted the boat again. Meanwhile the sharpshooters were not idle, and being good marksmen, picked off a great number. The Third Maryland fired sixteen rounds before the Cresent City got out of reach. The infantry aboard returned the fire, and wounded three Confederates. It was ascertained afterwards from a citizen who was in the vessel during the engagement, that she lost two hundred and sixty, killed and wounded. As soon as the gunboat came within easy canister range, the artillery was ordered to withdraw behind the levee in the rear.

While this was going on below, the transports above came to the shore, threw out their stages, and speedily landed a force of calvary and infantry, to capture the pestilent Confederates. The latter withdrew their artillery at once across the open fields in the direction of Greenville, while Major Bridges with the sharpshooters, remained at the levee to cover their retreat. To cover his own, he ordered Lieutenant Ritter to halt his section of artillery at a bridge across a bayou half a mile in the rear, and await further orders. He himself withdrew by another road over a bridge half a mile further up the bayou, while the enemy, in line of battle, advanced along both roads. As there was no force to hold the upper bridge, the way was open to Lieutenant Ritter's rear; and yet no “further orders” came. The Federal force had actually crossed the upper brigde, and were nearing their line of retreat, when the Third Maryland limbered up and passed down the road at a gallop. At the same moment, seeing their peril, Major Bridges ordered a countercharge of his calvary, on the other road, and thus held the enemy in check until the section was beyond the danger of capture.

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Greenville (Mississippi, United States) (1)

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Sergeant William L. Ritter (2)
R. R. Bridges (2)
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