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[68] desultory manner during the summer, but the fortifications were abandoned September 16th, upon the recommendation of Col. J. K. Duncan, and the garrison just removed in time to escape an attack from Federal war. ships, which were seen bearing down upon the island as the last Confederate boat was leaving. The enemy shelled quite vigorously what they supposed was a masked battery. On December 8th the island was occupied by a brigade from the department of New England, to which Gen. Benjamin F. Butler had been assigned. Several gunboats of the Federal squadron also made this island their base, while they attacked Confederate shipping and harassed the Mississippi coast.

On April 3d, a force of 500 Federals was landed at Biloxi, and General Lovell, in command of the department, arranged for an attack upon them by seven companies of the Third Mississippi, Colonel Deason, stationed at Handsborough and Pass Christian, while Commodore Whittle with the Carondelet, Pamlico and Oregon should engage the Federal vessels; but the enemy's fleet was reinforced by two ships, the troops were re-embarked and the Confederate boats repulsed. The expedition then landed 1,200 men at Pass Christian, who overpowered the three companies there and burned their camp, the men retreating and joining Colonel Deason's other battalion.1 Deason marched on Biloxi, found it abandoned, and was then ordered to rendezvous his regiment at Pass Christian; but it was soon withdrawn to New Orleans, where it remained until the city was evacuated.

In March, 1862, the combined naval and military expedition against the lower Mississippi defenses was ready to move. Commodore Farragut had a formidable fleet in the passes, and General Butler, who arrived at Ship Island March 21st, embarked 6,000 men on the 29th to

1 The flag that was captured on that day from Company A, Capt. B. Curran, was returned to him by Col. John B. Healy, Ninth Connecticut, with public ceremonies, during the Columbian exposition at Chicago.

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