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[173] of the former, he opened, on the seventeenth of August, his fire on the latter, and, on the twenty-third, after seven days bombardment, Fort Sumter was reported a shapeless and harmless mass of ruins. Being under the fire of other forts of the enemy, and inaccessible by land, our troops could not occupy it, and a few guns have since been temporarily remounted, but they have been as often silenced. General Gillmore now vigorously pushed forward his sappers against Fort Wagner, and on the morning of the seventh of September, took possession of that place, and also of Battery Gregg, most of the garrison having made their escape in boats during the night.

He captured in all thirty-six pieces of artillery and a large amount of ammunition. General Gillmore's operations have been characterized by great professional skill and boldness. He has overcome difficulties almost unknown in modern sieges. Indeed, his operations on Morris Island constitute almost a new era in the science of engineering and gunnery. Since the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg, he has enlarged the works, and established powerful batteries, which effectually command Fort Sumter, and can render efficient aid to any naval attack upon Charleston. They also control the entrance to the harbor.

Department of the Gulf.

Major-General Banks took command of the Department of the Gulf on the seventeenth of December. Almost immediately on assuming command, he ordered a detachment of troops to Galveston, Texas, to occupy that place under the protection of our gunboats. Colonel Burrill, with three companies of the Forty-second Massachusetts volunteers, the advance of the expedition, arrived at that place on the evening of the twenty-fourth December. On consultation with the commander of the blockading force, he landed his men upon the wharf, and took possession of the city on the first of January.

Before the arrival of the remainder of our forces, the rebels made an attack by land, with artillery and infantry, and by water with three powerful rams. Colonel Burrill's command of two hundred and sixty men were nearly all killed and taken prisoners. The Harriet Lane was captured, and the flag-ship Westfield was blown up by her commander to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy. The rebels also captured the coal-transports and a schooner. The commanders of the Harriet Lane and Westfield, and a number of other naval officers and men, were killed.

The remainder of the expedition did not leave New-Orleans till December thirty-first, and arrived off Galveston on the second of January, the day after our forces there had been captured or destroyed by the enemy. Fortunately they did not attempt to land, and returned to New-Orleans in safety. It is proper to remark that this expedition was not contemplated or provided for in General Banks's instructions.

On the eleventh of January, General Weitzel, with a force of infantry and artillery, aided by the gunboats under Lieutenant Commanding Buchanan, crossed Berwick Bay, and attacked the rebel gunboat Cotton, in the Bayou Teche. This gunboat, being disabled by the fire of our naval and land forces, was burned by the rebels.

The loss of General Weitzel's command in this expedition was six killed and twenty-seven wounded. A number were killed and wounded on our gunboats, and among the former, Lieutenant Commanding Buchanan.

On learning of the capture of the Queen of the West by the rebels, above Port Hudson, and their movements in Red River and the Teche, Admiral Farragut determined to run past the enemy's batteries, while the land forces at Baton Rouge made a demonstration on the land side of Port Hudson. The demonstration was made, and, on March fourteenth, Admiral Farragut succeeded in passing the batteries with the Hartford and Albatross. The Monongahela and Richmond fell back, and the Mississippi grounded, and was blown up by her commander.

Had our land forces invested Port Hudson at this time, it could have been easily reduced, for its garrison was weak. This would have opened communication, by the Mississippi River, with General Grant at Vicksburgh. But the strength of the place was not then known, and General Banks resumed his operations by the Teche and Atchafalaya. In the latter part of March, Colonel Clarke was sent with a small force up the Pontchatoula, and destroyed the railroad bridge at that place. He captured a rebel officer and four privates, and three schooners loaded with cotton. His loss was six wounded.

At the same time General Dickerson was sent to the Amite River to destroy the Jackson Railroad. He proceeded as far as Camp Moore, captured forty-three prisoners, a considerable amount of cotton, and destroyed valuable rebel manufactories. In his operations up the Teche and Atchafalaya, General Banks encountered the enemy, under Sibley, Taylor, and Mouton, at several points, and defeated them in every engagement. Buttea La Rose was captured, with a garrison and two heavy guns. By the gunboats, under Lieutenant Commanding T. Cooke, of the navy, General Banks reached Alexandria on the eighth of May, the enemy retreating toward Shreveport and into Texas.

In this expedition General Banks reports the capture of two thousand prisoners, twenty-two pieces of artillery, two transports, and a large amount of public property. We destroyed three gunboats and eight transports. Our own loss, in the different engagements with the enemy, was very slight — numbers not given.

General Banks now returned to the Mississippi River, and crossed his ármy to Bayou Sara, where he formed a junction, on the twenty-third of May, with General Augur's forces from Baton Rouge. The latter had an engagement with the enemy at Port Hudson Plains on the twenty-third,

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