Sketch of Third Battery of Maryland Artillery.
Paper no. 3.
To the East.At midnight the camp at Fish Lake was broken up, and the command proceeded on its way, crossing Deer Creek and Bogue Phaliah. The cavalry swam the latter, while the artillery was ferried over. Encamping on the east side of the Bogue, the success of the expedition thus far was celebrated by a banquet at headquarters. The central feature, and most acceptable viand at this feast, was a huge dish of bear's meat, flanked with oysters, jellies and other luxuries captured from the Federals. On the 21st of May, the march was continued through the Sunflower country to the stream of that name. Early on the 23d, a crossing was effected, yet but nine miles were made that day, by reason of the wretched condition of the road. The Yazoo was reached on the 24th, and crossed the same day near Greenwood, between Fort Pemberton and certain obstructions sunk in the Yazoo. These obstructions had been placed there by General Ferguson's orders, to prevent the enemy from ascending that way, and cutting off  Major Bridges' retreat. In times of high water there was another means of approach from the north by way of the Cold Water, and down the Tallahatchie river. To close that route to the enemy's gunboats, the Star of the West was found to have been sunk in the last named stream, near Fort Pemberton. It will be remembered that it was the Star of the West that opened the war, by getting itself fired into, while bringing reinforcements to Major Anderson at Fort Sumpter, in 1861. To one who knows the nature of the country, this march of seventy miles, from Greenville to Greenwood, will seem almost incredible. Fully forty miles lay through a swamp covered with canebrakes, shrubbery and grape vines, interlaced with the greenbrier. The ground was boggy and difficult, so that when the pioneer corps had cut a road through the jungle, it had to be corduroyed in many places to make it passable. The progress of the battery through this region, surprised none more than the people who lived in it. During the rainy season the whole country is flooded, and the inhabitants place their horses, cattle, hogs, farming implements and household furniture aboard a large raft, and tying this to the tops of trees, abandon their houses for this aquatic residence. Here the whole family live in seeming content until the waters subside, and they again set on foot terr afirma. The cavalry had reached the Yazoo several days before the artillery; and, learning that the enemy's gunboats were coming up the stream, had sunk several transports twelve miles below Greenwood to prevent their passage. Before they succeeded in removing these obstructions, Major Bridges's artillery, as stated above, came up and crossed. That evening a company of sharpshooters, under Captain Morgan, of Texas, was sent to attack the ironclads engaged in removing the obstructions. They were found moored to the bank with cables, and busy at work. During the night Morgan's men surrounded the boats, and when at daylight the Federals came out to prosecute their work, a large number of them were shot down at the first fire. It was an embarrassing position for them, for their boats were fastened to the bank, and they could not come out to loose them. If they opened their port-holes, the Texans fired into them; and their guns could not be elevated sufficiently to reach the Confederates, they being near at hand and the banks high. So, closing their port-holes and cutting their cables, the ironclads backed rapidly down the stream, followed for several miles by the Texans. From Greenwood the battery was ordered to Yazoo city, where it arrived on the 1st of June. After one more engagement with the Federal  vessels on the Yazoo, it proceeded on the 12th to Vernon, Miss., where it was attached to General McNair's brigade of Walker's division. Six days after, it was transferred to General Ector's brigade of the same division. A section of Captain McNally's Arkansas battery, under Lieutenant Moore, was also attached to this brigade; and, as he was the senior officer, he took command of both sections. Walker's division constituted part of the army which General Joseph E. Johnston was assembling for the relief of Vicksburg. On the 1st of July the movement toward Vicksburg began. While waiting for the pontoons on which the Big Black river was to be crossed the news was received at Headquarters that Vicksburg had capitulated. About midnight of the 5th Lieutenant Ritter was wakened by Lieutenant Moore, who told him in a low voice to get up, have the horses harnessed and hitched and all ready to move in a short time; that Vicksburg had fallen, and that the army would soon begin its retreat toward Jackson. He warned him especially to say nothing yet to the men of the news just received. How great a calamity the fall of Vicksburg was to the Confederacy is well known. It was specially painful to the detached section of the Third Maryland, as much the larger part of their battery was lost with the city. As before stated, three officers, seventy men, and five guns of the Third Maryland were surrendered. They were paroled on the 12th of July, and on the 26th, at Enter-prise, were furloughed for thirty days, with orders to report at Decatur, Georgia.
The destruction of the Indianola.The Indianola was captured from the Federals on the 24th of February, 1863, near Grand Gulf. An authentic account of the engagement is contained in Major Brent's report to General Richard Taylor, published in the Southern Historical Society Papers; but a better and more graphic one may be found in General Taylor's book, Destruction and Reconstruction. The Indianola was the most formidable vessel of the enemy's fleet on the Mississippi, and her capture was the subject of much rejoicing at the time, both as a glorious achievement and as making a most invaluable addition to the small Confederate squadron. Neither Major Brent nor General Taylor, however, tells what became of the Indianola, nor why it was that the hopes built upon her were never realized. Her end was as discreditable to the parties concerned as her capture was glorious to the crews of the Webb and the Queen of the West.  She was in a nearly sinking condition at the close of the engagement, and was towed to the east bank of the river and there made fast. A lieutenant (of infantry, it is said), with a small detachment, was put in charge of her till repairs could be made. Her reappearance under the Confederate flag was so much dreaded by the Federals above Vicksburg, that they devised the following trick to secure her total destruction by her captors: A coal-barge was covered with timber and plank, and so painted as to resemble closely an iron-clad. Imitation guns were provided, and every means employed to give the imitation the character of a formidable verity. Thus prepared, it was turned adrift to float down near the Indianola. Its real character was detected by the batteries at Vicksburg, but it met with better success when it came near the inexperienced infantry officer in charge of the Indianola. Fearing an attack, the Lieutenant did just what the shrewd Federals had hoped — fired his boat and decamped. I am glad to be able to adduce the testimony of an eye witness, who was throughly acquainted with the whole transaction, in the shape of a letter from Lieutenant William T. Patten, to Lieutenant John B. Rowan, of the Third Maryland artillery.
Another letter from Lieutenant Patten:
On the 19th of March another letter was received from Lieutenant Patten, which was the last he wrote Lieutenant Rowan.