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[445] Fort Hindman. She was struck twenty-seven times by shot and shell, one shot disabling the starboard engine. I immediately dropped her down below the other vessels, and then went on board the Ouachita. The Ouachita was struck three times, but no damage done. The firing of the vessels was excellent, and soon drove the battery away. The banks were so high that it was impossible for the vessels abreast of the sharp-shooters to do them any damage; but the lower vessels enfiladed the banks, and, I afterward learned, killed and wounded a great many. A deserter reported that the colonel of his regiment was killed. Leaving the Hindman in a safe place, I proceeded up the river, with the other vessels, to Bayou Louis, which enters Sicily Island. The water was so shoal that the lightest boat I had could not enter. I then proceeded to Catahoula Shoals, where I found plenty of water to enable me to proceed to Monroe; but the water was falling so fast, I deemed it best to return. On our arrival at Harrisonburgh, I landed with the Ouachita, and set fire to some of the largest houses in the town. While the houses were being fired, a body of cavalry and infantry were observed coming down a ravine. I called the men on board, and opened fire from the vessels, causing the troops to scatter in every direction. The works at Harrisonburgh are very formidable. There are four forts on high hills, commanding the river for two miles below the town, and more than a mile above. Rifle-pits run all around, and connect the forts. At dark, I anchored two miles above Trinity. At daylight on the third, I got under way and proceeded to Trinity. At this place, two excellent earthworks are thrown up, one of which commands the river for more than two miles. It was my intention to burn the town; but finding so many women and children in it, I spared it.

We found there three thirty-two pounder guns and carriages. The guns I brought away, and burnt the carriages and platforms. Hearing that the rebels had a pontoon-bridge a mile from the mouth of Little River, I sent the Cricket up, and burned it. I remained at Trinity until the morning of the fourth, when we proceeded down Black River, and picking up all the cotton near the bank, anchored at dark about twelve miles from the mouth. At daylight on the fifth, I got under way, and arrived at this place at meridian.

I am much indebted to the officers of the different vessels for the manner in which they performed their duty. I regret to report that eight men were wounded on the Fort Hindman, one mortally, (since dead,) and two severely. One man was wounded severely on the Osage; Acting Ensign Ezra Beaman, of the Choctaw, whom I took with me as signal officer, was wounded in the right foot while on board of the Ouachita. I would respectfully bring to your notice James K. L. Duncan, ordinary seaman; Hugh Melloy, ordinary seaman; and William P. Johnson, landsman, of the Fort Hindman, for their gallant conduct during the engagement with the battery near Harrisonburgh. A shell burst at the muzzle of one of the guns, setting fire to the tie of the cartridge, which had just been put in the gun. Duncan immediately seized the burning cartridge, took it out of the gun, and threw it overboard. A shell pierced the bow casemate on the right of No. One gun, mortally wounding the first sponger, who had the sponge in his hand, which he dropped out of the port on the forecastle. Melloy immediately jumped out of. the port on the forecastle, picked up the sponge, sponged and loaded the gun, standing outside, under a heavy fire of musketry. Johnson, although badly wounded in the hand, took the place of a wounded man, sponged and loaded the gun during the entire action.

The following is the list of casualties in the different vessels: Hindman, one man mortally wounded, since dead; eight wounded, two severely; hit twenty-seven times. Osage, one wounded. Ouachita, one killed; two wounded; struck three times. Choctaw, one wounded.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. M. Ramsay, Commanding Expedition to Black and Washita Rivers. Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Surgeon Mixer's account.1

United States steamer Lexington, off Trinity, Ouachita River, March 2, 1864.
. . . . . . . .

The Admiral came down on the afternoon of the twenty-ninth of February, and, true to my prediction, he has furnished us with something to do. We are on an expedition up the Ouachita. (Pronounce that Washitaw.) There are six vessels in the fleet, carrying seventy guns. The Ouachita rises in Arkansas, and empties into the Red, about forty-five miles from the mouth of the latter. The last sixty miles of the course of the Ouachita is sometimes called the Black River.

We started at noon on the first of March, and during the first day met no opposition. To-day we were also unopposed, until within four miles of our present position, when about one hundred men, concealed behind a levee, opened on us with musketry. The fire was replied to by the fleet, and we kept on our course until we were directly in front of the town. Trinity is a little town on the west bank of the river, and contains, perhaps, about three hundred inhabitants. When directly in front of this place, the rebels opened on us with two pieces of artillery, planted in the centre of the town. It was the most atrocious piece of folly ever committed, and if they had counted on our not firing on the town, they were very soon undeceived. Of our seventy pieces of artillery, we could bring to bear about forty, and they were discharged almost simultaneously. The shock may be imagined, but cannot be described. For about twenty minutes, the war of artillery was almost continuous, and the smoke hid every thing from view. Finding that we elicited no reply, we ceased firing. When the

1 Surgeon Mixer was attached to the Lexington.

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