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[208] on that side of the river; yet it will be borne in mind that this important secret could not be entrusted to high officers of the navy until a few hours before they were to co-operate in the movement. At daylight we heard our gallant troops commence the engagement. The long rattle of the volleys of musketry, mixed with the deep notes of artillery, informed us that we were behind, and soon came the unmistakable boom of heavy navy guns, which plainly told us that we were wanted—that our iron sides should be receiving those missiles which were now mowing down our ranks of infantry. In feverish haste our lines were cast off and hauled aboard, and once more the good ship was driving towards the enemy. Like a war-horse she seemed to scent the battle from afar, and in point of speed outdid anything we had ever before witnessed. There was a fatal error. Had she been nursed then by our young and over-zealous engineer she would have again made her mark in the day's fight. We were in sight of Baton Rouge. The battle had ceased; our troops had driven the enemy to the edge of the water, captured his camps and his positions, and had in turn retired before the heavy broadsides of the Essex, which lay moored abreast of the arsenal. Our officers and crew went to quarters in high spirits, for once there was a chance to make the army and country appreciate us. Baton Rouge is situated on a ‘reach’ or long, straight stretch of river, which extends three or four miles above the town. We were nearly to the turn and about to enter the ‘reach;’ the crew had been mustered at quarters, divisions reported, and all the minute preparations made for battle which have before been detailed, when Stevens came on deck with Brady, the pilot, to take a final look and determine upon what plan to adopt in his attack on the Essex. It was my watch and we three stood together. Brady proposed that we ram the Essex and sink her where she lay, then back out and put ourselves below the transports and wooden gunboats as soon as possible to cut off their retreat. Stevens assented to the proposal and had just remarked that we had better go to our stations, for we were in a hundred yards of the turn, when the starboard engine stopped suddenly, and, before the man at the wheel could meet her with the helm, the ship ran hard and fast aground, jamming herself on to some old cypress stumps that were submerged. We were in full view from the position General Breckinridge had taken up to await our attack. All day long he remained in line of battle prepared to move forward again, but in vain. On investigation it was found

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Henry K. Stevens (2)
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John C. Breckinridge (1)
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