and ten pieces of artillery, marched out and offered General Canby
battle; but with 40,000 men he declined the offer unless he were attacked.
then occupied Spanish Fort
and Fort Blakely
and waited to be attacked in them.
The Missouri brigade was stationed at Fort Blakely
, General Cockrell
being second in command, and General Maury
said that among the garrison ‘was the noble brigade of Missourians, Elijah Gates
commanding, the survivors of more than twenty battles, and the finest troops I have ever seen.’
fell first, and then the efforts of the combined Federal forces were directed against Fort Blakely
were so weak in numbers, and the line they had to defend was so long, that it was necessary to deploy the men ten yards apart.
The Federals advanced against this thin line in three lines of battle 22,000 strong.
Twice the Missourians were moved from their position in the line to repulse assaults of negro troops, which they did; but as they were returning from the last engagement the Federals
had forced their way into the intrenchments, and finding themselves cut off the Missourians took to the water, and by wading and swimming a considerable part of them reached Mobile
This remnant of 150 of as brave a force as ever fought were surrendered on the 4th of May, 1865, at Meridian
, and were then paroled and returned to their homes.
The winter of 1864 and 1865 dragged slowly in the Trans-Mississippi department.
It was full of uncertainty, gloom and darkness.
The shadow of impending disaster rested heavily on the spirits of the men in the army, and they longed for spring to come that they might be able at least to face the storm, if they could not do anything to avert it. There were 60,000 good soldiers in the department, but the authorities at Shreveport
seemed to be utterly incapable of utilizing them.
During the expedition to Missouri
, Maj.-Gen. J. B. Magruder
had been assigned to the command of the district of Arkansas