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[470]

In the course of this day the flotilla, composed of three armed vessels, the De Kalb, the Cincinnati and the Louisville, with a small number of light boats, had opened a brisk cannonade against the fort, occupying its attention by the destructive fire. One ship even tried to pass up beyond the enemy's works; but after having succeeded in the attempt, finding herself isolated and exposed to a concentrated fire, she was obliged to go down the river again. On the morning of the 11th every one was at his post; Steele's division, on the extreme right, rested on the bayou, and Hovey's brigade, from the position it occupied, commanded the river even above the fort. The centre was formed by Stuart's small division, the left by A. J. Smith's division, which connected with the river by Sheldon's brigade. The powerful artillery of the Federals, owing to the protection of the woods they found there, was pushed to within some hundred metres of the enemy's breastworks. The morning was employed in rectifying the line of battle and in making all necessary preparations to secure combination in the attack. Meanwhile, the gunboats had again engaged the fort. The latter sent a few shells into the ranks of the Federals, which, being well directed, killed a number of men; but the fire from the ships soon silenced that of the front overlooking the river. The large projectiles of the Federals finally succeeded in shattering and penetrating the proof-shelters of the Confederates, dismounting their guns and carrying death among those who served them. Porter then directed his fire against the cantonments, which the land-force was about to attack, and threw shells wherever he perceived the enemy, while three of his light vessels, reascending the river above the fort, placed themselves in a position to enfilade and strike in rear the breastworks which formed the Confederate left. But they hesitated to fire upon this point, lest their projectiles should reach their own troops, who had already come into action and were charging these works with great vigor.

About one o'clock the Federal line was put in motion. The Confederates did not persist in defending the weak entrenchments which covered the approaches of the fort, and only made use of them to delay the march of the Federals, who were vastly superior to them in numbers. They fought gallantly. The garrison

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