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[83]

To attain the object in view, I had at my disposal six siege pieces, the heaviest weighing 5,400 pounds. I also caused to be constructed a railroad ram, armed with an 8-inch Dahlgren and mounted on a railway flat. This flat and gun were carried by railway to a point within a few hundred yards of the Harriet Lane. A large quantity of cotton was transported in the same way, with the view of using it in making a breastwork for this gun should we not succeed in our object before daylight. In addition I had fourteen field pieces, some of them rifled and some smooth bore. Three of the heaviest of the siege guns had to be transported nine miles, the others seven miles, between sunset and 12 o'clock under cover of the darkness and over very difficult roads. A system of rapid communication with our gunboats by telegraph and otherwise having been established, it was arranged that the attack should take place at 12 midnight, the fire of our land batteries constituting the signal for the naval attack. Nevertheless I informed Commodore Smith, in command of the naval expedition, that I would attack the enemy's fleet whether the gunboats made their appearance or not.

The key of the whole position was Fort Point at the mouth of the harbor, two miles below the town. This fort was entirely open in the rear, thus affording no protection for our artillery against the enemy's vessels inside of the harbor. The attack from this point was intrusted to Capt. S. T. Fontaine, of Cook's regiment of artillery, supported by six companies of Pyron's regiment, dismounted dragoons, under command of the gallant Colonel Pyron. Wilson's battery of six pieces was to attack the enemy from the center wharf; the railroad ram was sent to the upper wharf. The remainder of the artillery was manned from Cook's regiment and posted in eligible positions. Col. J. J. Cook himself was intrusted with the command of the storming party of about 500 men, composed of details from Pyron's and Elmore's regiments and Griffin's battalion, and furnished with ladders to scale the wharf on which the enemy's land forces were barricaded. Brig.-Gen. W. R. Scurry was placed in command of Pyron's regiment and of the remainder of Sibley's brigade, and Elmore's men, commanded by Lieut.-Col. L. A. Abercrombie, the latter acting as a support for the whole. Lieutenant-Colonel Manly, of Cook's


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Fort Point (Texas, United States) (1)
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