previous next

[480] where a line of rifle pits envelops the main encampment, which also guards the approaches to the town and river landing from the south and east. The river bank rises gently from the water's edge southward and east, in the distance of 300 yards reaching an elevation of about forty feet, and terminating in a hill some seventy-five feet above low water mark, upon which was constructed the lower battery. A ridge diverging eastward and south from this position terminates in a plateau some half mile distant, which is surmounted by a hill overlooking the lower fort and commanding the river for some distance northward and southward. Upon this eminence was constructed an extensive redoubt, armed with heavy ordnance. This was known as the upper fort. The western bank of the river, upon which our positions are marked on the map, is abrupt near the river, about twenty-five feet above the level of the water, and descends, as is usual with all Southern rivers, as it recedes westward. That side of the river was thickly covered with a heavy cypress growth. The trees had been felled immediately in front of Johnsonville, some distance backward to give an open view and range for their guns. The Federal position had many defensive advantages, and rendered an attack upon it hazardous, almost beyond hope of success. Forrest was never daunted in any effort, and soon put on foot a vigorous offensive movement against the position.

Four twelve-pounder Howitzers, which had just joined us with Mabry's brigade from Paris, was directed to position some half or three-quarters of a mile above Johnsonville. The river bank being higher near the water's edge, and receding backward, afforded natural protection. Brigadier-General H. B. Lyon, an accomplished artillery officer and a man of great dash and energy, took immediate supervision of this position and aided Captain J. B. Thrall in preparing redoubts for his guns before Morton's arrival. Chambers were sunk for his guns, and embrasures cut through the solid parapet in his front. This position was perfectly protected from the gunboats, but opened to a direct and plunging fire from both Federal forts, especially from the upper fort.

Colonel E. W. Rucker, who had much experience in locating and planting heavy artillery at Island No.10, on the Mississippi river during the first year of the war, had to cut out similar chambers for Morton's battery, some half mile or three-quarters below Johnsonville, and nearly opposite, but below the mouth of Trace creek. Rice's battery was directed to position near the mouth of Cypress creek, two miles below, to prevent any gunboats from approaching from the north.

On rejoining General Forrest at the positions prepared by Colonel

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John W. Morton (2)
N. B. Forrest (2)
J. B. Thrall (1)
E. W. Rucker (1)
T. W. Rice (1)
Mabry (1)
H. B. Lyon (1)
Chambers (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: