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[482] difficulty that we could move the guns through this cypress swamp; often had to lift and carry them over fallen timber and driftwood, through water and deep mud, and when nearly opposite the point selected, the horses were detached, and the guns pushed some hundred yards by hand near the crest of the bank, where we were in easy range of the gunboats, steamboats, and the immense accumulation of stores, and almost directly under point blank range from the lower fort. General Forrest was evidently apprehensive for our safety in this, as he thought, exposed position, which he evinced in his order to Captain Thomas H. Sneed, when he directed this trusty officer to take his glasses and crawl to the river bank, conceal himself behind a log, and report the effect of the shot from the forts and gunboats on Morton, when the signal to fire was made known. We learned subsequently from Captain Sneed that General Forrest remarked to him, “I'm afraid they will knock John Morton to pieces up there with their big guns.”

The several commands of cavalry were concealed behind logs and trees and in ravines in easy supporting distance of the batteries, while a detachment of sharpshooters were selected and deployed close to the river bank to oppose similar forces stationed on the opposite side of the river.

Morton's orders from General Forrest were to open with these two guns as soon as in position, which would be the signal to open along the line. We directed the pieces to be loaded and moved cautiously by hand to the river bank, when both guns were trained upon the gunboat plying in mid-stream almost within a stone's-throw of us, they little suspecting the lurking danger so close at hand. This signal being understood by the several battery commanders and the cavalry supports, we gave Zarring the order to “fire,” which sent two rifled solid shots crashing through the sides of the gunboat, when immediately our guns from above and below were heard. Two more shots from Zarring's guns in quick succession were directed on the gunboat. It was then discovered that steam was escaping from her ports and her crew deserting her by jumping into the river, as she headed ashore. Now followed round after round from Thrall on the right, Brown and Briggs on the left and Zarring in the center. The troops joined in the din with their rifles, and in five minutes the enemy were running to and fro in the wildest confusion. Some ladies just approaching the transports were seen to rush frantically up the hillside toward the fort. The transports rang their bells and sounded their whistles, the gunboats opened and the heavy guns from the forts burst forth with a storm of shells, which

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Morton (Mississippi, United States) (1)

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Lemuel Zarring (3)
N. B. Forrest (3)
Thomas H. Sneed (2)
John Morton (2)
J. B. Thrall (1)
J. W. Brown (1)
W. H. Briggs (1)
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