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On the morning previously mentioned I was with General Lyon's brigade of cavalry concealed on the bank of the Tennessee; a portion of my command had been detailed to assist in working the six-inch “Parrott” guns sent from Mobile to blockade the Tennessee river. At this time I had not heard Johnsonville whispered, nor do I believe, except for the easy triumph of our artillery over the gunboats, that any effort would have been made to destroy Johnsonville.

About 9 A. M. a boat was reported ascending the river. She soon appeared around the point below us, heavily laden, with a barge in tow. She proved to be the Mazeppa, a new steamboat, on her first trip. As soon as she passed above us a few hundred yards, I had the pleasure of seeing how “Forrest's artillery” would work, and am glad to say it was served with a skill and precision I had not seen surpassed during three years of almost constant strife.

In ten minutes her machinery was wrecked, and she by the impetus she had when the fatal shot struck her, was driven aground on the opposite shore. It was a sore disappointment to the entire command to see this great prize at their mercy and yet unattainable, not a boat of any description could be found; all we could do was to gaze with longing eyes at the good things, and wish we were there. Finally my patriotism could not be controlled, and I determined to have some of the Mazeppa's stores, or expend considerable energy in trying. So without orders from superiors or much reflection I rolled a small log into the river, placed my hands on the end of it for support, and struck for the other shore. It was a long and fatiguing trip across the river, and I had abundance of time for reflection before I landed, several hundred yards below the steamer. At times I thought I did not want the stores as bad as I did; but one glance at the supplies would instantly renew my patriotism, and I would push my way ahead. On reaching the shore I struck out for tall timber. I knew my greatest danger was whilst exposed between the waters' edge and the timber on the top bank. As I approached the vessel from the rear or bank side, I espied several blue coats concealed behind trees (our boys were still shooting across the river with their Enfield rifles), and I confessed to myself things looked decidely blue, and I determined then and there I would never let my patriotism or desire to secure food and clothing for the boys get me into such a scrape again. Things did look bad. I was on the enemy's side of the river, alone, with two pistols that had been in the river with me for at least an hour, with I could not tell how many blue-coats between me and the boat; but something must be done, and quickly. I determined to charge them, demand their surrender,

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Tennessee River (United States) (2)
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