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[505] last, that their advance-guard were just outside our town; then, at one o'clock. P. M., that they were entering it. They started a flag of truce in, but our men fired ont it, and it was stopped. They were said to be about three thousand strong, with a reserve force of some four thousand or five thousand behind. Part of them formed a line of battle beyond and behind the Fort; and the balance came rushing into town, and immediately commenced robbing and pillaging the livery stables, stores, and houses — showing that the plundering of goods and stock was their main object, and that they probably anticipated bombardment of the place.

In the mean time, as Colonel S. G. Hicks, the commander of the post, had issued an order for non-combatants, women, and children, in case of an attack, to retire to the wharf, long lines of them came pouring down, (among them your correspondent,) and as it had been arranged for the wharf-boat and steam ferry-boat to take them across the river, these were soon densely crowded. While waiting to get all on board, and for the ferry-boat to get up steam, the battle at the Fort began.

Colonel Hicks and Major W. L. Gibson, our Provost-Marshal, and other officers had retired to the Fort, where we had about one thousand men, some two hundred or three hundred of whom were colored soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Cunningham. Opposed to this handful of men, the rebels had, taking their whole force, seven to one, and their attacking force, three to one. Fearful odds! Three times did the rebels charge the Fort, and were as often repulsed, with fearful slaughter, our guns mowing them down in heaps, besides the execution done by the musketry — as many as thirty being counted in one heap, and nineteen in another!--the colored soldiers fighting bravely, clubbing their muskets and beating the rebels back as they would mount the walls of the Fort. After an hour or more of hard fighting, the rebels were finally repulsed and routed, when a loud shout went up from the Fort, which was echoed back from the wharf-boat and those on shore.

Two of our gunboats were fortunately present, and participated in the fight, shelling the rebels while they were assailing the Fort. After a while, the wharf-boat, lashed to the ferry-boat, was towed out into the stream and across the river to a place of security. One of the gunboats then went up and took position opposite Broadway street, and the other above her, and began shelling the town with fearful effect, now full of rebels engaged in robbing and sacking the houses.

A flag of truce was sent in the Fort, demanding a surrender, when the reply of Colonel Hicks was: “If you want the Fort, take it.” Major Gibson, Colonel Cunningham, and all our officers, as well as men, fought with distinguished courage and gallantry. Colonel Hicks is entitled to the greatest praise for the heroic manner in which he and his gallant little band defended the Fort against such overwhelming numbers opposed to them, and certainly deserves a brigadiership. Major Gibson distinguished himself by his coolness and undaunted courage, and Colonel Cunningham by his bold daring and bravery.

Our casualties were twelve white killed, and seven colored soldiers; how many wounded I have not learned. As these were killed by rebel sharp-shooters from the upper parts of the houses in the vicinity, Colonel Hicks ordered the burning of these houses. As the rebels carried off many of their dead and wounded, their exact loss cannot be ascertained, but it must have been two hundred or three hundred killed. The rebel General (formerly Colonel) Albert G. Thompson, ( “Bert Thompson,” ) while leading on a charge, was killed by the explosion of a shell, within forty feet of the fort, and his body so badly mangled that it could not be carried off by the rebels, one arm not being found at all. Before the breaking out of the rebellion, he was a prominent lawyer of Paducah, and district-attorney, but joined the rebels here; and it is a singular coincidence that, after serving in the rebel army, being wounded at the battle of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and promoted to a Brigadier-General, he was killed in the very town where he began his military career.

There has been great destruction of property by the rebels and the bombardment, upward of a hundred houses having been burned, embracing all the lower part of Front street, below Broadway, including the headquarters building, the new and large quartermaster's building on Broadway, hospital No. 1, the railroad depot and cars, half the square between Market-House square and Front street, etc. Almost everywhere are to be seen the marks of the shells; the gunboats and guns of the Fort, which, after the rebels were repulsed, were turned on the town, doing fearful execution!

On Saturday evening, the rebels forming line of battle at a “respectful distance” from the Fort, again sent in a flag of truce demanding, a surrender, and giving until four o'clock to answer, threatening to destroy the town in case of refusal. Colonel Hicks returned his old answer: “If you want the. Fort, take it.” But they took care to “keep their distance,” and retired without destroying the town. It was no doubt a ruse to cover their retreat, and enable them to get off with their plunder and stock as far as possible before being pursued by our forces. Yesterday (Monday) evening a flag of truce came from Mayfield, where Forrest is said to have his headquarters, accompanied by thirty men, demanding a surrender of the town and Fort, and stating that he had twelve thousand men, and in case of refusal, they would come and take them. Colonel Hicks told them that if Forrest had one hundred thousand men it made no difference with him — he intended to hold them. There is no surrender in him! The word does not belong to his vocabulary. Whether Forrest will come or not, remains to be seen. We are now largely reinforced, and can bid him defiance. Our flag has waved all the time over the Fort,


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