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[500] question. I beheld what I supposed to be a flag of truce moving up Broadway, our principal business street. Starting at once to provide for the safety of my family, believing that half an hour at least would intervene before the battle would open, I was surprised to hear the sound of musketry as I made my way to my residence. The battle had actually.begun. Its sudden com-mencement can be accounted for only upon the presumption that the enemy's flag of truce was not a flag of truce, or at least was not respected by those who sent it, for Federal pickets were fired on and prisoners taken before the flag could possibly have reached its destination. Moreover, I am informed by Adjutant Taylor that when he went to meet the flag, with his white handker-chief waving, he was fired upon, and had to retreat. Thus the battle opened, leaving non-combatants, women, and children to make their escape through the rain of shot and shell, which had been provoked by this strange and untimely attack.

Our forces consisted of the Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry, Major Barnes, two hundred and seventy; three companies of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois infantry, Major Chapman, one hundred and two; and the first Kentucky heavy artillery, (corps d'a frique,) Colonel Cunningham, two hundred and seventy-four; total, six hundred and forty-six. These were under the command of the war-worn veteran Colonel S. G. Hicks, who was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh.

The force of the rebels is believed to have consisted of three brigades, under command of Major-General Forest; General Buford and Colonel A. P. Thompson's forces were among them. It turned out that Colonel A. P. Thompson had the commission of Brigadier in his pocket. The rebel forces were supported by the august presence of his ex-Excellency Isham G. Harris.

After the battle had raged awhile, Colonel Hicks received a message by flag of truce, in substance as follows, namely: That he (Colonel Hicks) was assailed by an overwhelming force, that resistance was useless, and, to prevent further effusion of blood, he demanded the surrender of the fort, with all the Government property and stores at the post at Paducah; that if a surrender was made, Colonel Hicks and his forces should be treated as prisoners of war, but if refused and the fort had to be taken by force of arms, no quarters would be given. Signed by Major-General Forrest. To this bold demand Colonel Hicks laconically replied that he had been sent here by his Government to protect and defend the post, and his sense of duty and obligation as a soldier forbade the surrender.

The battle was then renewed with vigor, a spirited assault being made upon the fort by the Kentucky rebel forces, under command of Colonel or General A. P. Thompson. In this fatal assault Colonel Thompson received his death-charge as suddenly and furiously as the proud oak receives the thunder-bolt. A shell passed through his body, tearing to atoms the lower part of the breast and down to the limbs, throwing portions of his body fifteen feet distant. It is said that just before, and almost simultaneously with the shell, a musket was fired at the Colonel by an ardent young African, which took effect in the forehead.

The assault was gallantly repulsed, and the shout of victory arose from the fort. There were other attempts to take it, but each time the besieging hosts were driven back by the intrepid boys at the fort, into whom now seemed to be infused the indomitable courage and valor of Colonel Hicks.

While the fort guns were at work most powerfully and fatally upon the enemy around, two gunboats, the Peosta, (thirty-six,) Lieutenant Shirk commanding, and the----, (thirty-two,) Captain O'Neil, poured an incessant torrent of shot and shell through the streets of the city upon the enemy, who were as busy as bees plundering stores, gathering up horses, etc., mostly belonging to citizens; but few Government horses being lost.

In addition to the plundering, the rebels fired the large frame building on Broadway, built and used by the Government as quartermasters' depot and office. They destroyed our railroad depot and a new boat upon the ways, both of which they knew to be the property of citizens. Four cars were burnt; the locomotives escaped. They set fire to a few bales of cotton on the levee. A row of some six buildings, one of which was occupied as military headquarters, fronting the river, served as a lodgment for their sharp-shooters, who skilfully plied their art upon the lookouts and other openings upon the gunboats. A marine that showed his head was in great danger of losing it. Lieutenant Shirk at once discovered the necessity of routing them, and sent a few volleys into the buildings, which set them on fire.

A dastardly thing in the sharp-shooters was the refuge they sought in a new boat upon the ways, filled with women and children. Thus protected by their sacred presence, they poured their deadly missiles upon the gunboats with impunity. After a while they fired the boat and skedaddled, leaving women and children to find other quarters.

Many business and dwelling-houses have suffered greatly from the shells of the gunboats, prominent among which are the Continental Hotel, City Hotel. and Branch Bank of Louisville. The latter is almost a mass of ruins, with its entire contents. Cashier S. B. Hughes and family resided in the building, but, fortunately, had escaped.

The entire Federal loss is fourteen killed, forty-six wounded, and perhaps thirty prisoners, taken from the hospitals.

It is difficult to estimate the rebel loss, as their killed and wounded were mostly buried by themselves or taken off in their retreat.

Adjutant Taylor estimates their loss at three hundred killed, and the usual proportion of wounded.

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