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[507] it had a population of about ten thousand, and was considered the most flourishing little city below Louisville, it being the principal depot for that portion of Kentucky known as “Jackson's purchase.” Upon the breaking out of the rebellion, the secession mania took deep root in the minds of its citizens, and when, in September, 1861, General Grant occupied it for the first time, the streets and houses were found decorated with rebel flags in anticipation of the arrival of Polk's army. Of its original population, not more than one third is now remaining, those who make up the four or five thousand inhabitants which it possessed up to the time of Forrest's attack being recent arrivals from other States.

Positive information was received by Colonel Hicks on [he twenty-fourth, of the arrival of Forrest at Mayfield, twenty-two miles south from Paducah, and an attack was not unlooked for. Your correspondent was on that day at Columbus, having come up to that point from Memphis in anticipation of an attack upon the former place, and it was there considered certain that Forrest would attempt to capture either Columbus or Paducah, but most probably Paducah. In fact, his occupation of Mayfield indicated this place as his objective point. The forces under Colonel Hicks's command were five companies of the Sixteenth Kentucky, three hundred and eleven strong; three companies of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, numbering one hundred and twenty-four men, and a detachment of the First Kentucky artillery, (colored,) two hundred and fifty men — in all six hundred and eighty-five. Any information of the strength and position of the fortifications, and number of guns, beyond what the enemy has already learned to his sorrow, cannot be given with propriety. It will be sufficient to say that the works occupied by Colonel Hicks are toward the lower end of the city, and cover the roads from the interior.

Next morning, (twenty-fifth,) scouts reported that Forrest was only eight or ten miles distant, and was moving in this direction with a heavy column, which rumor broadly stated to be from five thousand to fifteen thousand strong. Immediately upon learning that we were to be attacked, Colonel Hicks notified the inhabitants of that fact by special order, and commenced moving them to the other side of the river. The anxiety of the citizens for the two preceding days, consequent upon the rumored approach of the enemy, now found expression in the wildest excitement, and men, women, and children rushed through the streets and down to the wharf in dread of the approaching conflict. Fortunately, means were at hand to transfer them to the opposite shore with despatch, and when the first attack was made, but few were remaining in the city. Knowing the great numerical superiority of the enemy, Colonel Hicks ordered his whole command to the Fort, and awaited his appearance.

The gunboats, Paw-Paw and Peosta, which were anchored out in the river, weighed and moored toward the upper end of the wharf — the one to the mouth of the Tennessee, the other a little below. These boats have a light armament, and are known on the river as “tin-clads,” their plating being only sufficiently thick to resist the missiles of small arms, and perhaps grape-shot.

Nearly all of the woods back of the city have been cleared away, either by the hand of improvement or from military necessity, and there is an almost unobstructed view for half a mile, and in some places much further. The ground intervening between the city and the timber is some-what undulating, but not sufficiently so to afford any considerable advantage to an advancing line of battle. A little before one o'clock, the enemy's advance came in sight, and in a moment afterward the main body appeared in the act of forming line — his right extending toward the Tennessee and being nearest to town, while the left was partially concealed by timber at long cannon range. The men on either flank were mounted, while the bodies of dismounted men, who at that distance seemed to be a little in advance of the others, appeared in occasional intervals in the line which was little less than two miles long.

The enemy seems to have entered on his campaign with an accurate knowledge of what was to be done, and was evidently posted, as to the strength of our garrison here as well as at Union City. There was no delay in the advance. He pushed his line forward rapidly and steadily, while at the same time a detachment from the right flank several hundred strong, dashed into the now deserted city, and down Market street, and the other streets back of it, until, coming within rifle-range of the Fort, they opened a galling fire from the houses upon. the garrison. But before this detachment had succeeded in getting in town, several shots had been exchanged between the enemy's artillery and ours. The gunboats had also begun to play upon them, when, upon finding the city being rapidly occupied by a continually increasing force, the fire of the gunboats, as previously concerted, was turned upon the houses occupied by the rebels, the vessels dropping down the river until proper range could be had.

It seems that Colonel Hicks, prudently, did not strain his men at the commencement of the action, and although his fire was accurate, it was delivered slowly — the range being different at almost every discharge. The necessity he was under of turning some of his guns upon the town so slackened our fire that the enemy was enabled to make a charge upon the Fort. But the movement was perceived and prepared for, and the first signs of an advance were greeted with a heavy and well-directed fire, which created some confusion. The rebels continued to advance, however, and a part of them, by veering to the right, threw themselves partially under cover of the uneven ground and the suburban buildings. On they came, with loud cheers that sounded distinctly through the now increasing roar of battle, and which were defiantly answered by our men, who now, reeking with perspiration,

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