Doc. 31. the occupation of Paducah, Ky., by Gen. N. S. Grant, September 6.
Cairo, Ill., September 11.A correspondent of the St. Louis Democrat, gives the subjoined account of the occupation: The last few days have been distinguished by important movements. Your correspondent has been absent at Paducah, which must be my apology for not writing sooner. It is evident now, from the immense preparation and the vigorous action of Gen. Fremont, that the great fall campaign has commenced, and that before many days elapse we shall be in the midst of the stirring and stern realities of an active war. On Thursday evening (September 5) of last week, the gunboats Tyler and Conestoga received orders to convoy a large body of troops to Paducah. The Ninth Illinois regiment, formerly commanded by General Paine, and now under command of the gallant Major Phillips, and the Twelfth Illinois regiment, under command of Colonel John McArthur, with four pieces of Smith's Chicago Artillery, under command of Lieutenant Charley Willard, embarked  on the steamers G. W. Graham and W. H. B., and left this port at about eleven P. M., the Tyler, Commodore Rogers, leading the advance, and the Conestoga, Captain Phelps, bringing up the rear. The noble fleet pushed out into the stream amid the cheers of assembled thousands, and steamed majestically up La Belle Riviere. We reached Paducah about eight o'clock Friday morning. The disembarkation of the troops was quickly and beautifully performed. Colonel McArthur's regiment landed at the Marine Hospital, in the lower part of the city — the Ninth at the foot of Main street. The former quartered at the Hospital — the latter took up their line of march up Main street to the depot of the Ohio and New Orleans Railroad. A sullen, gloomy aspect pervaded the city, indicative of the most rebellious and obstinate feeling. Every place of business was closed. Knots of men stood at every corner, with knit, compressed brows and quivering lips, and occasionally a suppressed cheer would arise for Jeff. Davis, and curses on what they termed Lincoln's abolition troops. The troops, with heavy, measured tread, marched on. As we got further up town women and children ran out and cheered for Jeff. Davis. The women seemed crazed with excitement. A musket went off by accident in the rear ranks. The first impression was that the troops had been fired into; but not a head was turned, and the column moved steadily on. On arriving at the depot it was found that all the rolling stock had been sent off. A large quantity of contraband supplies, marked for the rebel States, was found in the depot, and immediately seized. They were marked for Fort Gibson, Memphis, Union City, and New Orleans. The whole value of the seizure is over twenty thousand dollars. Amongst these goods seized were about six hundred barrels of flour, one hundred barrels of lard, one hundred and sixty bags of coffee, a large quantity of leather, several hundred boxes of starch, soap and candles, several hogsheads of bacon, boxes of boots and shoes, and a large quantity of rations. Drays were busily employed on Friday and Saturday in hauling them to the wharf boats, to be shipped to Cairo. On arrival, Commodore Rogers immediately took possession of the telegraph office. He was refused admittance, but the prompt application of the butts of muskets in the hands of his marines, gave quick entrance. It was found that the battery of the office had been carried off. The wires were immediately cut. The Post-office was next searched, and a large number of the most violent secession letters to rebels in the South were found. A large detachment of five companies of infantry and a battery of Smith's Light Artillery--the gallant Lieut. Charles Willard commanding, all under Major Phillips, were detached and marched rapidly down the railroad about seven miles. No enemy was discovered; but, as Pillow was reported in large force advancing, a large bridge and trestle work were burned in order to prevent his taking us by surprise. A large log dwelling-house was discovered to be burning down when our troops arrived. It had been set on fire by the rebels, lest our troops might take quarters in it. The report became current in Paducah that a large force of rebels from Tennessee were momentarily expected down the Tennessee River per steamboat. The gunboat Conestoga was sent up that river some thirteen miles to watch movements, and also to capture any boats running into rebel territory. She gave an excellent account of herself, although she met with no enemy in force. Early on Friday a steamer was seen approaching, which, as soon as she got in sight of the Conestoga, took to her heels. The Conestoga gave her chase, and she was soon run ashore, her officers and crew scampering over the bluffs. She turned out to be the Jefferson, a small stern wheel boat, with a heavy load of tobacco, valued at eight thousand dollars. On the next day she captured a stern wheeler, a fine boat, the John Gault; also a small dinkey, called the Pocahontas, belonging to John Bell, of Tennessee. These prizes are all safely moored at Cairo. The battery of the telegraph was not found. The wires had been cut by the rebels a few miles beyond the burned railroad bridge. Several large coils of telegraph wire were seized at Paducah by our troops. The stampede of the inhabitants from Paducah was astonishing and immense, and ere this scarcely a hundred families are left here, out of a population of from fifteen to twenty thousand people. On Friday and Saturday Main street was perfectly choked with carriages and vehicles, containing families and household furniture, leaving the city for points back in the country. Many went over to Illinois. A perfect panic seemed to possess them, which no assurance of our officers or troops could allay. They had got the idea into their heads that Pillow was advancing on us, that in case of an attack the town would be shelled and burned by our gunboats. General Grant, on his arrival with his command, immediately issued a proclamation, assuring the people of safety and protection, and General Paine, left in command, issued the most strict orders to his troops, prohibiting them under the most severe penalties, from entering the houses of any of the citizens. Yet, still, they seemed determined not to be convinced, and the men who had wives and children went to them and poisoned their ears with the stories that we were abolitionists and murderers. To show their rebellious disposition, I will cite a case: Gen. Grant gave permission to several river officers to hoist a National flag on the top of the St. Francis Hotel. The landlord objected, saying that it would bring trouble on him, that he did not want its protection. He  was told to keep quiet, that that flag must wave from there in place of the secession flag he had allowed to float over him before our troops came, and that if he or any other rebels interfered with that flag, or pulled it down, they would be led out and shot down. This assurance from General Paine quieted his nerves, and that flag floated, defying the rebels, despite many remarks by them that “the damned rag must come down.” On Saturday an unfortunate accident, but providential in its result, happened. The gunboat, Tyler, while the crew were practising at the guns, by some carelessness of the gunners, let fly a sixty-four-pound shell, which struck a house on the levee, and knocked a huge hole in it. Fortunately the shell struck it on the line of the pavement, and went into the lower story, not occupied, and exploded. This event was immediately magnified by the rebels as the first attempt at shelling the town, and the terror of the women and children were duly increased. Shortly afterward Lieutenant Charley Willard's battery went out on the public square to practise, and on the discharges women and children would leap from carriages and run out from houses, and throw themselves flat in the street, while their rebel husbands would stand and gloat over their terror. Our officers and men had to go to them and assure them of their safety, and that they would be protected, and the poor creatures, relieved of their fright, would thank them. Still the exodus kept on, and it is now thought that out of a population of some fifteen thousand, not three thousand people are left. The most perfect terror of a battle and of the burning of the city seemed to prevail. In the mean time our troops were reinforced rapidly. On Saturday part of Colonel Oglesby's Eighth regiment, the Forty-first Illinois, and the American Zouave regiment, from Cape Girardeau, were poured in, increasing our force to about five thousand effective men. From the most reliable reports recently received at that point there is no rebel force short of Union City and Columbus, and no immediate attack on Paducah is apprehended. Gen. C. F. Smith is now commanding at Paducah. At Cairo the greatest military activity prevails. A very large force is being rapidly formed in and quartered either here, at Bird's Point, or at the new camp on the Kentucky side, called Camp Holt. This last-named camp was established yesterday, and a heavy battery erected so as to command the Ohio and Mississippi opposite Bird's Point. Fortifications are also being rapidly thrown up here.