country—went to the Federals
or joined some Confederate command being organized.
Having pacified the country in a rough but effective way, and got the business of recruiting fairly started, Shelby
looked around for something to do—some enemy to fight—some daring exploit to accomplish—that would attract Steele
's attention to the north side of the river and induce him to let the south side alone.
was the base of Federal operations in North Arkansas
It was alive with gunboats, and a railroad, which supplied Steele
's army, connected Little Rock
with Devall's Bluff
Without disturbing the recruiting officers in their work or taking a recruit with him, Shelby
moved the brigade quietly but swiftly down to Clarendon
, on White river
, fourteen miles below Devall's Bluff
, his scouts informed him, was an ironclad gunboat.
anchored in midstream—the Queen City
After night he approached the town, surrounded it with his scouts, with orders to arrest every person coming and going and at midnight, with artillery muffled, crept stealthily into the town, masked his battery where he could sweep the deck of the boat, deployed the brigade as skirmishers all around it, and waited for morning.
Just at daylight the order to fire was given, and four Parrott
guns and a thousand rifles opened fire simultaneously on the boat, and shot down every man who appeared on deck or tried to fire a cannon.
The boat was hard hit, the crew panic stricken, officers demoralized, and as volley after volley was poured into her, she struck her flag.
The boat was armed with thirteen 32-pound guns, and had as good a crew as any Federal boat.
paroled the officers and crew and burned the boat, taking two of her guns with which he extemporized a battery on shore, and waited to see what the other gunboats would do about it
He did not have long to wait, for in an hour three gunboats appeared, and as soon as they discovered the command