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Doc. 61.-operations of a rebel gunboat.

The following is the report of Captain Fry to Major-General Hindman, detailing his operations on the White River from May twenty-second to June sixth.

C. S. Gunboat Maurepas, Des Arc, Ark., June 6.
General: I arrived at this place on the twenty-second [184] ultimo, with a crew of less than ten men, exclusive of my firemen and coal-passers. It was absolutely necessary, if I proposed doing anything besides frightening the enemy, that I should have the cooperation of a land force, which, despite all my efforts, I was unable to obtain. One or two companies of cavalry would have sufficed if I could get no more; but the first colonel I could hear from concluded I was under his command, and ordered me to stay where I was until further orders. This order, of course, I disregarded; as, according to my judgment, no man under the rank of a Brigadier-General can possibly form a correct judgment of the contingencies governing the movements of a gunboat.

Having armed a few citizens, I proceeded with them to act as sharp-shooters up the river to Jacksonport. At Grand Glaze some two hundred of the enemy's cavalry preceded us ten minutes. The turns of the White River resemble a bow-knot, and cavalry, and even infantry, by cutting across points could keep ahead of us; and in ambuscade, could have killed every man on board of us. We, however, never saw the enemy till we got near Jacksonport, which place had been evacuated in part in anticipation of our arrival with a large land force. The enemy (Ninth Illinois cavalry) retreated in time across Black River. I fired about ten shots into the woods in the direction of their flight. . . .

The gentlemen who volunteered their services to me rendered efficient assistance in rolling out and burning the cotton. My crew destroyed the sugar. The river had fallen so that we rubbed hard in getting up, and was falling so rapidly that I had not a moment to spare. I barely saved the boat as it was, and had to leave unburned about nine hundred bales. These were housed, and our party had determined to burn the house containing them, but on the representation of a person who came to me and said that it would burn the town, I prevented it. I learned subsequently that it might have been destroyed without risk to the city.

The citizens, in their enthusiasm, got some of my men drunk, and my citizens in some instances left off work to plunder. One got the Provost-Marshal's trunk, containing his commission, uniform, and some papers. I have the original book containing the oath of allegiance exacted from the citizens as the price of their being at liberty and exempt from plunder.

A man named Peoples rides a fine horse, goes heavily armed, and pilots Federal scouts on foraging expeditions. At his nod one is spared and another sacrificed. His house was close to the Federal camp. I stopped at his place, burnt the house, corn-crib, etc., considering it important as a retaliatory measure. I have taken prisoners several persons who have voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance, arrested suspicious persons, and caused the arrest of a traitor spy named Lewis Smith, who has served in our army, and was greatly trusted. I have the Federal vouchers for his pay in my possession. The visit of my boat will not be without its fruit. . . .

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

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