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[477] a sharp point or bend of the river, I was very much startled to find myself in close proximity to three of the enemy's gunboats. I at once repeated signals to my escort to retire, and after waiting a time sufficient for her to have turned around, I commenced backing slowly down stream. As I turned the point below, I was much surprised to see the Venus lying to at the bank. I ran alongside and learned from Colonel Dawson something was wrong with her steering apparatus, and greatly feared he would have to abandon her. During this time the enemy were firing with great rapidity at my vessel, several shots striking us, but doing little damage. One shot tore away part of the pilot-house. We were replying with our two bow guns, though feebly, when compared with the Federal gunboats. The Venus was released from her moorings, backed to and fro in the river, but she did not answer to her rudders. She was finally beached and abandoned. When one of the gunboats was within two hundred yards of her, the other two kept their batteries at work on the Undine. As soon as we came in sight of our batteries on the bank, the enemy, remembering the lessons of the day before, struck out for Johnsonville. We lay the balance of the day under the guns of the artillery. About dusk General Forrest came on board to give in his final orders before the final attack on Johnsonville. I remember them well, for they were short and explicit. He said: “In the morning at daylight I will have my artillery on the river bank a few miles below Johnsonville; at dawn you must attack the gunboats at Johnsonville and draw them down the river until they pass my upper battery, which will be concealed so that it cannot be seen, until they have passed, when, with my lower battery and your gunboat, I shall capture all the gunboats at Johnsonville.”

It was raining very hard at this time, and I offered the General the hospitality of my boat for the night, offering to put him off at Johnsonville for breakfast, but he declined, saying he “was more accustomed to exercise on horseback” Promptly at 4 o'clock the next morning — the 3d, I believe — we raised steam. The rain was still falling heavily, and I felt sorry for the boys who worked all night to get their guns in position below Johnsonville, and determined the navy was the place for me during the balance of the unpleasantness. No wet or mud, all comfortable and dry, and as we steamed along through the heavy mist that had settled like a fog on the river, I built castles in the air all in the next few hours to be dissolved in smoke. Sergeant John Leonard, the only officer I had, remarked, just before we arrived at Johnsonville, how silent the artillery was. In passing the point designated by General Forrest, not a sound was heard nor a light to be seen. I gave the

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Johnsonville, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (8)

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