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[481] Rucker for Morton's battery, he directed that these guns should be immediately placed in the chambers dug out by Colonel Rucker. Morton requested General Forrest to permit him to inspect the river bank from this position up to where Thrall's battery had been placed. This being granted, with an escort from Colonel Rucker we rode rapidly through the Cypress swamp and slough which runs a little distance, but parallel with the river. When reaching a point directly opposite to Johnsonville, we dismounted and crept up close to the river bank, carefully concealing ourselves behind trees and logs. We could plainly discover and counted two gunboats, eleven steamboats and a number of barges tied up at the landing, and one gunboat was plying in midstream; her guns could be plainly seen through her port-holes, and her cannoneers were noticed moving around. Passengers were idly chatting, smoking and lounging upon the decks of the transports. Some ladies were seen coming down the bank, evidently about to embark on some one or other of the transports, several of which were getting up steam. Laborers were engaged in unloading the steamboats and barges, immense quantities of Government stores lined the river bank, and a large warehouse, extending several hundred yards along the shore, seemed densely packed with army supplies. As we have stated, the river bank being several feet higher, close to the water, and receding gradually for fifty or one hundred yards, gave excellent cover under which to move close up without being observed, and presented natural breastworks, which offered protection from the enemy's sharp-shooters across the river.

We were not long in making up our mind as to the most advantageous position, and, hurrying back, reported to General Forrest that we had selected a position just opposite Johnsonville, and desired to take the four rifle guns of Morton's battery. General Forrest objecting said — we suppose for the first time in his whole career--“No, Captain, the position is too close and hazardous. They will destroy you from their gunboats and from the forts.” We explained to the General that our experience in fighting gunboats had proved that the closer you could get to them the more effective your own shot, and the less danger from theirs, as they invariably shoot too high.

After urging this position for some little while as the most available, General Forrest consented that two of the guns might be carried, while the other two should be left in the works prepared by Colonel Rucker. Briggs's section of Rice's battery was placed in the chambers dug out for these two guns. A detail was readily furnished from Colonel Rucker's command to open a road up the slough, and it was with great

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Johnsonville, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (2)

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E. W. Rucker (5)
N. B. Forrest (4)
John W. Morton (3)
J. B. Thrall (1)
T. W. Rice (1)
W. H. Briggs (1)
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