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[71] she failed? It was a new and perplexing variant of the old theme. Not until 4 p. m. did he learn, by express, the grim truth. Before daylight, and within four miles of Baton Rouge, ‘the machinery of the Arkansas had become disabled and she lay helpless on the right bank of the river.’ Machinery too easily disabled, as in the Arkansas; motive power insufficient, as in the Louisiana! War vessels built in the ship-yards of the Confederacy were strong as iron could make them; yet structural defects—the fruit of inexperience and want of facilities in naval construction—often proved them, on trial, weak like cockle-shells. Some of these vessels, whose glory will not be forgotten, made history singly against fleets—the Virginia, on Hampton Roads; the Manassas, at Fort Jackson; the Arkansas, at Vicksburg; the Tennessee, in Mobile bay.

Breckinridge regretted only the failure of the Arkansas as an ally. He said: ‘It was now ten o'clock; we had listened in vain for the guns of the Arkansas. I saw around me not more than 1,000 exhausted men, who had been unable to procure water since we left the Comite river. The enemy had several batteries commanding the approaches to the arsenal and barracks and the gunboats had already reopened upon us with a direct fire. Under these circumstances, although the troops showed the utmost indifference to danger and death, were even reluctant to return, I did not deem it prudent to pursue the victory further. Having scarcely any transportation I ordered all the camps and stores of the enemy to be destroyed, and directing Captain Buckner to place one section of Semmes' battery, supported by the Seventh Kentucky, in a certain position on the field, withdrew the rest of the troops about one mile, to Ward's creek, with the hope of obtaining water. Finding none there fit for man or beast, I moved the command back to the field of battle, and procured a very imperfect supply from some cisterns in the suburbs of the town. This position we occupied for the rest of the day.’

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