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[531] except the unshipping of one or two rudders. This was witnessed by all the troops, and the vessels were heartily cheered when they passed over. Next morning, at ten o'clock, the Louisville, Chillicothe, Ozark, and two tugs passed over without any accident, except the loss of a man, who was swept off the deck of one of the tugs. By three o'clock that afternoon the vessels were all coaled, ammunition replaced, and all steamed down the river, with the convoy of transports in company. A good deal of difficulty was anticipated in getting over the bars in lower Red River; depth of water reported only five feet; gunboats were drawing six. Providentially, we had a rise from the back-water of the Mississippi, that river being very high at that time; the back-water extending to Alexandria, one hundred and fifty miles distant, enabling us to pass all the bars and obstructions with safety.

Words are inadequate to express the admiration I feel for the abilities of Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey. This is, without doubt, the best engineering feat ever performed. Under the best circumstances, a private company would not have completed this work under one year, and to an ordinary mind the whole thing would have appeared an utter impossibility. Leaving out his abilities as an engineer, the credit he has conferred upon the country, he has saved to the Union a valuable fleet, worth nearly two million dollars. More, he has deprived the enemy of a triumph which would have emboldened them to carry on this war a year or two longer; for the intended departure of the army was a fixed fact, and there was nothing left for me to do, in case that event occurred, but to destroy every part of the vessels, so that the rebels could make nothing of them. The highest honors the Government can bestow on Colonel Bailey can never repay him for the service he has rendered the country.

To General Banks, personally, I am much indebted for the happy manner in which he has forwarded this enterprise, giving it his whole attention, night and day, scarcely sleeping while the work was going on; tending personally to see that all the requirements of Colonel Bailey were complied with on the instant.

I do not believe there ever was a case where such difficulties were overcome in such a short space of time, and without any preparation.

I beg leave to mention the names of some of the persons engaged on this work, as I think that credit should be given to every man employed on it. I am unable to give the names of all, but sincerely trust that General Banks will do full justice to every officer engaged in this undertaking, when he makes his report. I only regret that time did not enable me to get the names of all concerned. The following are the names of the most prominent persons:

Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, Acting Military Engineer, Nineteenth army corps, in charge of the work.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pearcall, Assistant.

Colonel Dwight, Acting Assistant Inspector-General.

Lieutenant-Colonel W. B. Kinsey, One Hundred and Sixty-first New-York volunteers.

Lieutenant-Colonel Hubbard, Thirtieth Maine volunteers.

Major Sawtelle, Provost-Marshal, and Lieutenant Williamson, Ordnance Officer.

The following were a portion of the regiments employed: Twenty-ninth Maine, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Emmerson; One Hundred and Sixteenth New-York, commanded by Colonel George M. Love; One Hundred and Sixty-first New-York, commanded by Captain Prentiss; One Hundred and Thirty-third New-York, commanded by Colonel Currie.

The engineer regiment and officers of the Thirteenth army corps were also employed.

I feel that I have done but feeble justice to the work or the persons engaged in it. Being severely indisposed, I feel myself unable to go into further details. I trust some future historian will treat this matter as it deserves to be treated, because it is a subject in which the whole country should feel an interest, and the noble men who succeeded so admirably in this arduous task, should not lose one atom of credit so justly due them.

The Mississippi squadron will never forget the obligations it is under to Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, acting Military Engineer of the Nineteenth army corps.

Previous to passing the vessels over the falls, I had nearly all the guns, ammunition, provisions, chain-cables, anchors, and every thing that could affect their draught, taken out of them.

The commanders were indefatigable in their exertion to accomplish the object before them, and a happier set of men were never seen than when their vessels were once more in fighting trim.

If this expedition has not been so successful as the country hoped for, it has exhibited the indomitable spirit of Eastern and Western men to overcome obstacles deemed by most people insurmountable. It has presented a new feature in the war, nothing like which has ever been accomplished before.

I regret to inform you, among the misfortunes of this expedition, of the loss of two small lightdraught gunboats — the Signal and Covington. I sent them down from Alexandria to convoy a quartermaster's boat, the Warner, loaded with cotton and some four hundred troops on board, not knowing that the enemy had any artillery on the river below us, or any thing more than wandering gangs of guerrillas, armed with muskets, which these vessels were competent to drive off. It appears, however, that the rebels were enabled to pass our advance force at night with six thousand men and some twenty-five pieces of artillery. With these they established a series of batteries at a place called Dunn's Bayou, thirty miles below Alexandria — a very commanding position. These batteries were so masked that they could not be seen in passing, even by the closest observation.

The first notice the vessels received of the battery


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