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[518] ground, the latter retreating toward Fort De Russy. That night, General Smith concluded to follow them by land, while I proceeded up Red River with all the gunboats and transports. In the mean time the Eastport had reached the obstructions, and, with the vessels that kept pace with her, had commenced the work of demolition on the formidable barricade, on which the rebels had been employed five months. They supposed it impassable, but our energetic sailors, with hard work, opened a passage in a few hours. The obstructions consisted of heavy piles driven into the mud, and braced in every direction; they were also clamped together with heavy iron plates and chains.

The Eastport and Neosho got through about four o'clock in the afternoon, and proceeded up to the Fort, which at that moment was being surrounded by the troops under General Smith, who had marched from Simmsport since daylight. A brisk musketry-fire was going on between the rebels and our troops, and they were so close together it was difficult to distinguish the combatants. The Eastport opened her batteries, but, fearing to injure our own men, ceased firing, when our troops proceeded to the assault, and carried the place. In a few moments, and with small loss, two hundred and fifty prisoners, eight heavy guns, and two field-pieces fell into our hands, and all the munitions of war.

The main body of the enemy, five thousand strong, under the rebel General Walker, made their escape. They left the Fort, it was said, to give battle to our troops, and left a garrison of three hundred men to defend it. Our army came in by a different road from what they expected, and made short work of them. Among the guns captured was one of the Indianola's nine-inch, and one belonging to the Harriet Lane. The rest of the guns were twenty-four and thirty-two pounders, and one one hundred and sixty pounder rifle.

As soon as the Fort was in possession of the troops, I sent off up the river the fleetest gunboats I had, to cut the enemy off, if possible, or harass them until our troops could be placed on the transports. By sunset the transports will be in Alexandria and ahead of the rebels, and I hope the latter will be cut off.

These works have been made much more formidable than they were last year, and the loss of guns must be severely felt by the rebels, as they have only fifteen more heavy guns in this section of the country. The whole affair has been well managed; the troops made a splendid march and attack, and the officers in command of the gunboats and transports have shown great zeal and industry in getting up the river and through the obstructions which the rebels deemed impassable.

I forgot to mention in my last report that in the recent attack on Trinity by the gunboats, a number of negroes were recaptured, who were captured by the enemy in a recent attack upon Goodrich's Landing.

I inclose herewith a list of the guns captured at Fort De Russy, with their numbers, as some of them appear to be heavy guns. The Ordnance Bureau may be able to account for them.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Rear-Admiral. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

List of Guns captured at Fort De Russy water-battery.--One thirty-two pounder, thirty-three hundred weight, F. P. F., No. 227, navy, in barbette, J. S. C. Proven 1847.

One thirty-one pounder, thirty-three hundred weight, F. P. F., No. 226, navy, in barbette, J. S. C. Proven 1847.

Two nine-inch Dahlgren guns. No marks could be discovered on these guns, but they bore all the evidence of having been in service in the navy, the remains of gun-blacking being on them. Both lugs were cut for locks with the usual composition; piece fitted in to spare lug.

One thirty-two pounder, sixty hundred weight, 1827, navy gun.

One thirty-two pounder United States rifled, marked W. J. W., No. 289. This gun is an old army thirty-two pounder, rifled, with band shrunk on the breech.

Two twenty-four pounder siege-guns, two sixpounder field-pieces, in hill battery.

flag-ship Black Hawk, off Alexandria, La., March 16, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inform you that I arrived at this place this afternoon. As soon as the Forts were surrendered, I pushed on the fastest vessels, Ouachita and Lexington, followed by the Eastport, to Alexandria. The Ouachita arrived here as the last of a fleet of transports passed over the falls. The rebels set fire to a large ferry-boat, and one of the boats grounding on the falls, was also burnt, to prevent her falling into our hands. As no reliable pilot could be procured to take our boats across the falls, the transports will have to escape for the present, but are sure to be captured or destroyed before the month is over. The surrender of the forts at Point De Russy is of much more importance than I at first supposed. The rebels had depended on that point to stop any advance of army or navy into this part of rebeldom. Large quantities of ammunition, best engineers, and best troops were sent there, and in two or three months more it would have been a most formidable place. As it was, it was not complete, (though the guns were in position,) and would have stood a very poor chance if attacked in force. The works have been laid out by a Colonel De Russy, and are of the most extensive and formidable kind. Colonel De Russy, from appearances, is a most excellent engineer to build forts, but don't seem to know what to do with them after they are constructed. The same remark may apply to his obstructions, which look well on paper, but don't stop our advance. The efforts of these people to keep up this war remind one very much of the antics of Chinamen, who build canvas forts, paint hideous dragons on


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