previous next
[296] threatening guns that kept up a fire on the iron swept area of the now consumed depot. Of all the cannonading that General Grant ordered, the least effective, for the cost, was the bombardment by the fleet of mortar boats. When the fleet commenced throwing the thirteen-inch shells, it dwarfed all other menaces to our lives; but we soon became used to watching the course of the shells as shown by the glow of fire made by the fuse, and learned to dodge the spot where it would fall. They did more damage to houses than to the citizens or people. My first notice of the thirteen-inch shell practice was brought about by a practical joke played on me by the boys. Mrs. Captain Winters had cooked a first-class dinner for a few of us, from material that we had clubbed together out of our scanty resources. In the midst of the eating it was reported that one of the boss shells had taken the ear off my horse. So, being curious to see such a close shave, I ran out to investigate. I found one ear of the quadruped tied down with a string. I also found on the return trip, my share of the sweet potatoe pie eaten up. I was shelled out in earnest. A few days after that, Captain W. and his accomplished lady were sitting in a room, of the then engineer headquarters; two of their children were eating a lunch in the dining-room. Without warning, a thirteen-inch shell burst through the ceiling and partitions, and exploded in an adjoining parlor, throwing the plaster debris over the children When I got to the spot, Mrs. W. was backing out from under the table with her children, unhurt. It was no unusual thing for the fronts of houses to be blown out by the explosion of these shells, but I knew of but one instance where life was lost. It occurred one evening about dusk. The mortar had been evidently trained to throw its shell to the court-house, but falling to the South, struck an iron balcony of the hospital building, that was crowded with wounded convalescents. It was distressing to hear the cries of the poor fellows as they fell to the ground, victims of a cruel and spiteful fate. The horses and mules soon learned to calculate, from the sound the shells made, where they were going to fall, and gave a wide berth to exploding missiles. Lucky was the officer who had a servant sufficiently courageous to lead his favorite horse to spots of comparative safety, between extreme danger line and absolute protection from the breast works, and where the Bermuda grass flourished. It was a picture of content to see nigger and horse in the evening—one having got his fill of grass, the other his fill of sunshine and rest. After all the care and devotion I gave to my steed, one of Grant's

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Frederick Grant (2)
Captain Winters (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: