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 district as chief of artillery and ordnance, with rank of colonel July, 1862; also commanded First Louisiana brigade cavalry until, in October, 1864, he was promoted brigadier-general of cavalry, in which rank he served until the close of the war. At the time of the surrender he was in command of the forces of the front line in the West. extending from Arkansas to the Gulf, the last line held by the Confederate army. One of the most exciting exploits in which General Brent was engaged was the capture of the Federal ironclad Indianola, early in the spring of 1863. The Indianola, after running the batteries at Vicksburg, had proceeded to the mouth of the Red river, and thence started back up the river. Unexpectedly to him, Brent was assigned by General Taylor to take command of two boats and engage the Indianola. The boats on the Red river available were the side-wheel steamer, Webb, which was used as a towboat before-the war, and was without any protection whatever, except tiers of cotton bales about the boiler, and the Queen of the West, a gunboat captured a few days before from the Federals at Fort DeRussy on Red river. The latter was a modern boat, with bow strengthened for ramming, but had no protection for her machinery except tiers of cotton bales. With this flotilla General Brent started in pursuit of the ironclad Indianola and overtook her twenty miles below Vicksburg. He immediately engaged his formidable antagonist, which carried 11-inch guns, a shot from which, properly served, would have disposed of either of the Confederate vessels. But every time the iron shutters of the Indianola were raised to allow a gun to be fired, the men of the Webb or Queen of the West would open on them with rifles, with the result that the Federal gunners were demoralized. Only one ball from the Indianola struck the Queen of the West, and that did no damage further than scatter a lot of her defensive armor, cotton bales, like leaves in an autumnal gale. Meanwhile the wooden boats rammed the Indianola repeatedly,
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