crowded with engineers and workmen who suffered severely.
The pickets immediately along the river, under the gallant Fiser
, from their rifle pits maintained such a destructive fire that the enemy was compelled to abandon the work.
Very soon, however, they returned and made repeated efforts to complete one bridge, but the fire of the Mississippi
boys was too deadly, and the enemy was forced to withdraw.
When daylight dawned a heavy fog hung over the scene, and the vision was as much obscured as it had been during the night.
About 10 o'clock of the 11th, Burnside
, annoyed because a few skirmishers were able to prevent the completion of his bridges, and, therefore, delay his passage of the river, ordered his chief of artillery to batter down the city.
His purpose was to drive the Mississippians from their rifle pits and hiding places.
Assuredly General Burnside
knew the wide destruction which would follow his order.
Several thousand women and children sat in their homes, exposed to that storm of iron.
Looking back upon the event of nearly forty years ago, it seems that the necessities did not not warrant the destruction of that city, and we now regard it as a savage act, unworthy of civilized war. But Burnside
concentrated 200 cannon on the city.
Suddenly, as it was unexpected, the flash of these guns, followed by the explosions, hurled at the same instant 10,000 pounds of iron into the city.
Tire shells exploded in and over the town, creating the greatest consternation among the people.
The bombardment was kept up for nearly two hours, and no tongue or pen can describe the dreadful scene.
Hundreds of tons of iron were hurled against the place, and nothing in war can exceed the horror of that time.
The deafening roar of cannon and bursting shells, falling walls and chimneys, brick and timbers flying through the air, houses set on fire, the smoke adding to the already heavy fog, the bursting of flames through the housetops, made a scene which has no parallel in history.
It was appalling and indescribable, a condition which would paralyze the the stoutest heart, and one from which not a man in Barksdale
's Brigade had the slightest hope of passing through.
During that hail of iron and brick, I believe we can say that there was not a square yard in the city which was not struck by a missile of some kind.
Under cover of his bombardment, Burnside
undertook to renew his efforts to complete the bridges, but the matchless men of Barksdale
's Brigade, acting under the immortal Lieutenant-Colonel Fiser
, concealed in their pits along the river bank, poured