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Doc. 101.-battle of Arkansas Post.

Report of Major-General McClernand.

headquarters army of the Mississippi, steamer Tigress, Miss. River, January 20, 1863.
Lieut.-Colonel John A. Rawlins, A. A. General, Department of the Tennessee:
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the forces of which, in pursuance of the order of Major-General Grant, commanding the department of the Tennessee, I assumed command on the fourth inst., at Milliken's Bend, La., resulting in the reduction of Fort Hindman, more generally known as Post Arkansas.

These forces, styled by me for convenience and propriety of description, the “Army of the Mississippi,” consisted of parts of two corps d'armee; namely, the Thirteenth, my own, and the Fifteenth, Major-Gen. Sherman's. Desiring to give my undivided attention to matters affecting the [361] general command, I immediately assigned Brig.-General Geo. W. Morgan, a tried and meritorious officer, to the command of the Thirteenth corps d'armee, in which he was the senior division commander.

The Fifteenth corps, temporarily constituted by me the right wing, was composed of the following troops :

First division.

Brigadier-General F. Steele, commanding.

First brigade, Brig.-Gen. Frank P. Blair, commanding--Thirteenth Illinois, Twenty-ninth Missouri, Thirty-first Missouri, Thirty-second Missouri, Fifty-eighth Ohio, Thirtieth Missouri.

Second brigade, Brig.-Gen. C. E. Hovey, commanding--Seventeenth Missouri, Twenty-fifth iowa, Third Missouri, Seventy-sixth Ohio, Thirty-first Iowa, Twelfth Missouri.

Third brigade, Brig.-General John M. Thayer, commanding--Fourth Iowa, Thirty-fourth Iowa, Thirtieth Iowa, Twenty-sixth Iowa, Ninth Iowa, infantry.

Artillery--First Iowa, Capt. Griffiths; Fourth Ohio, Captain Hoffman, and First Missouri horse artillery.

Cavalry--Third Illinois, and company--, Fifteenth Illinois.

Second division.

Brigadier--General D. Stuart, commanding

First brigade--Colonel G. A. Smith, commanding--Eighth Missouri, Sixth Missouri, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois, One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois, Thirteenth United States.

Second brigade, Colonel T. Kilby Smith, commanding--Fifty-fifth Illinois, One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois, Fifty-fourth Ohio, Eighty-third Indiana, Fifty-seventh Ohio, infantry.

Artillery--Companies A and B, First Illinois light artillery, and Eighth Ohio battery.

Cavalry--Two companies of Thielman's Illinois battalion, and company C, Tenth Missouri.

The Thirteenth corps, forming the left wing, was composed of the following forces:

First division.

Brigadier-General A. J. Smith, commanding.

First brigade, Brig.-Gen. S. G. Burbridge, commanding--Sixtieth Indiana, Sixteenth Indiana, Twenty-third Wisconsin, Eighty-third Ohio, Sixty-seventh Indiana, Ninety-sixth Ohio.

Second brigade, Colonel W. J. Landrum, commanding--Nineteenth Kentucky, Seventy-seventh Illinois, Forty-eighth Ohio, Ninety-seventh Illinois, One Hundred and Eighth Illinois, One Hundred and Thirty-first Illinois, Eighty-ninth Indiana, infantry.

Artillery--Seventeenth Ohio battery, Captain Blount, and Illinois Mercantile battery, Captain Cooley.

Cavalry--One company Fourth Indiana.

Second division.

Brigadier-General P. I. Osterhaus, commanding.

First brigade, Col. L. A. Shelden, commanding--Sixtieth Indiana, One Hundred and Eighteenth Illinois, One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio.

Second brigade, Col. D. W. Lindsay, commanding--Third Kentucky, Forty-ninth Indiana, One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio.

Third brigade, Colonel J. I)e Courcy, commanding--Sixteenth Ohio, Twenty-second Kentucky, Forty-second Ohio, Fifty-fourth Indiana, infantry.

Artillery--First Wisconsin, Capt. Foster, Seventh Michigan, Captain Lamphere.

Having, as already mentioned, assumed command of these forces on the fourth instant, after they had retired from the neighborhood of Vicksburgh, I sailed with them, the same day, in execution of a purpose, the importance of which I had suggested to Gen. Gorman, at Helena, on the thirtieth December ultimo, on my way down the river. That purpose was the reduction of Fort Hindman, which had been laboriously and skilfully enlarged and strengthened, since the commencement of the rebellion; which formed the key to Little Rock, the capital of the State of Arkansas, and the extensive and valuable country drained by the Arkansas River, and from which hostile detachments were constantly sent forth to obstruct the navigation of the Mississippi River and thereby our communications.

A Government transport, the Blue Wing, laden with valuable military stores, only a few days before, fell prey to one of these detachments ; and ammunition taken from her was used against us in the engagement of which [ am giving an account. Without turning my arms in this direction, my forces must have continued comparatively idle, at Milliken's Bend, until you should have altered your plan for the reduction of Vicksburgh, or recalled them.

Landing at intervals to supply my transports with fuel cut from the forest, or already cut and found upon the bank, the army safely arrived at the mouth of the White River on the eighth inst. Henceforth its operations were controlled by, and but fulfilled the following instructions, previously communicated by me to army corps commanders:

First. Having arrived at the mouth of the White River, the commanders of army corps of the army of the Mississippi will lose no time in moving their commands upon their transports, up that river to the cut-off, and through it into and up the Arkansas River to a suitable point on the left bank of the same, near and below Post Arkansas for disembarkation.

Second. The army will move from the mouth of the White River in the following order: The Fifteenth corps, Major-Gen. Sherman commanding, forming the right wing, right in front, first; the Thirteenth corps, Brig.--Gen. Morgan commanding forming the left wing, in the same order, next.

Third. Arrived at the proposed point for debarkation, the two corps will immediately disembark, being careful to preserve their distinctness and to protect their landing by skirmishers and advanced detachments, . . . . and rapidly march as follows:

The Fifteenth corps, Major-Gen. Sherman, commanding, by the rear of the post, until the right of the corps has reached the river above the post [362] . . . . being careful to guard against the surprise of rear attack, and to keep his command clear of the range of our gunboats' fire. The Thirteenth corps, Brig.-Gen. Morgan commanding, will follow the Fifteenth and form in line on its left. . . .

Fourth. Each corps should extend its lines so as to complete the investment of the enemy's works; and if in order to do so, the left wing has to move so far to the right as to leave too great a space between its left and the river, the same will be secured by a detachment of infantry and artillery from the Thirteenth corps, posted in a commanding position for that purpose.

Fifth. Notwithstanding what precedes, the commander of the Thirteenth corps will debark two (2) regiments of infantry, one (1) company of cavalry, and three (3) pieces of artillery, at a suitable point on the right bank of the river, and near and below the post, under instructions to ascend the right bank, (beyond the reach of the enemy's guns on the opposite shore,) to a point on the river above the post, giving control of the river.

Sixth. Skirmishers should, in all instances, precede the movements herein ordered. Cavalry detachments should be sent out in different directions to reconnoitre the country. Reserves should be kept to the rear of the investing lines, ready to be moved to any point, in case the enemy should venture to make a sortie; and to every battery of light artillery, a company of infantry should be detailed, for the purpose of protecting it, and assisting its advance.

Seventh. Having completed the investment, according to the plan indicated, the enemy will be equally cut off from reenforcements and escape, and must, together with his works, and all his munitions of war, become a capture to our arms.

Ascending to Notrib's farm, three miles below the Fort, by the way of the White River, the cut-off and the Arkansas, my object was to deceive the enemy, to the latest moment, as to my destination, and the point upon which the suspended blow would fall; and I have reason to believe that I succeeded in doing so, until I had approached within thirty miles of the Fort.

Landing on the left bank of the river, at Notrib's farm, at five o'clock P. M., on the ninth, the work of disembarking was busily continued until noon the next day, when it was completed.

In the mean time, accompanied by Lieut.-Col. Schwartz, of my staff, by eight o'clock A. M., on the tenth instant, I had reconnoitred the river-road, and a portion of the levee, extending at right angles from it, within a mile and a half of the Fort, and discovered that the enemy was abandoning a line of rifle-pits about half a mile above the levee, under stress of the fire of one of the gunboats.

Communicating with Gen. Sherman, I suggested to him the elegibility of the river-road, from which he might diverge at or near the levee, in making a detour for the purpose of investing the upper side of the Fort. His column was put in motion at eleven o'clock A. M., but diverging below that point, the head of it, consisting of Gen. Hovey's brigade, of Gen. Steele's division, after meeting and dispersing a strong picket of the enemy, soon encountered a swamp, about one fourth of a mile wide. Passing this swamp with much difficulty, the brigade rested upon an open space called “Little Prairie.”

Riding up to the point where the brigade had entered the swamp, and witnessing its embarassment, I sent Col. Stewart, of my staff, and chief of cavalry, with my escort, to the left and front, to ascertain whether the embrasures now discovered, in that portion of the levee farthest from the river, were occupied by cannon, and to verify the practicability of the river-road. He soon reported that there were no cannon in the embrasures; that the levee had been held the night before, as a line of defence, by infantry, who had retired upon the Fort; that he had discovered one brass piece beyond the next line of defence, limbered up for removal, and that the river-road was not only practicable but good. Accordingly, I directed General Sherman to move the second division of his corps, commanded by Gen. Stuart, by that road, which was rapidly and successfully done.

After the rear of Gen. Steele's division, consisting of General Blair's brigade, had crossed the swamp, Major Hammond, Assistant Adjutant-General of General Sherman's corps, brought information from him, that he had learned from a farmer, that the upper side of the Fort could not be gained by any practicable route on that side of the swamp short of seven miles in length, and without crossing a bayou on a narrow bridge.

I immediately crossed the swamp, and informed myself of the situation by personal interrogation of the farmer, and by personal observation. Seeing at once, that for Gen. Steele's division to go forward on a line so extended and remote from the enemy's works, would be virtually to retire it from the pending fight; to separate it by a wide and miry swamp from the rest of my forces; to expose it to rear attack by any hostile reenforcements that might be approaching; to weaken my assaulting columns on the left and centre, and the cover afforded by them to my transports; and to leave it no other way to rejoin the advanced forces, except by crossing the bayou on a narrow bridge, in the power of the enemy to destroy or obstruct by force, I instantly decided that the division ought to return, and so ordered.

Recrossing the swamp with me, Gen. Sherman, in pursuance of my instructions, hastened up the river to General Stuart's division of his corps, the head of which he found resting within half a mile of the Fort. I also hastened forward to the same spot, and finding General Morgan already there, learned that his corps, guided by a member of my staff, was advancing in the same direction, and within a few moments of the head of General A. J. Smith's division, appeared to the right and rear of General Stuart's.

Indicating to Gen. Morgan the ground I wished him to occupy, I ordered Gen. Sherman to move Gen. Stuart's division to the right, and General Steele's, when it should come up, still further to the right, across a bayou on the upper side of the [363] enemy's works, to the river, in order to let in Gen. Smith's and Gen. Osterhaus's divisions of Gen. Morgan's corps, on the left, and next to the river, so as to complete the investment of the enemy according to my original plan.

Despatching Col. Stewart, of my staff, and chief of cavalry, with my escort, to explore the ground to the bayou on the right, it hastened back, and requested Rear-Admiral Porter, commanding the Mississippi squadron, to advance the gunboats, and open fire on the enemy's works, for the purpose of diverting his attention, while the land forces should gain the positions assigned to them. Promptly complying, the Admiral advanced his boats, and opened a terrific cannonade upon the Fort, which was continued an hour or more, and until after nightfall.

At ten o'clock P. M., Col. Stewart, Chief of Cavalry, rejoined me, and reported that he had pushed his reconnoissance yesterday quite to the enemy's cantonment of log huts, and even beyond, to the bayou, and that there was nothing in the way of an advance to that point, or so far as he could judge, beyond. He also brought with him about one hundred prisoners, whom, still lingering about the cantonments, he had captured. As Gen. Sherman had not yet advanced to the bayou, I hastened Col. Stewart back to communicate the information he had brought, and with an order to Gen. Sherman to lose no time in gaining the bayou.

Meanwhile, Gen. Steele's division had recrossed the swamp, except a detachment of it, left under Gen. Sherman's order, to make a feint in the direction of the bridge mentioned.

During the night, Gen. Osterhaus bivouacked his division near the landing, in a position commanding the neighboring approaches across the swamp, and covering our transports against possible attack from the opposite side of the river.

On the night of the ninth, Col. Lindsay's brigade had disembarked nine miles below Notrib's farm, at Fletcher's Landing, on the right bank of the river, in pursuance of General Morgan's order, and marching across a bight of the river, had taken position, and planted a battery on the bank above the Fort — equally cutting off the escape or reenforcement of the enemy by water. This was accomplished early on the tenth inst., and formed an important part of my original plan; for the prompt and skilful execution of which, I accord to Colonel Lindsay great credit.

Passing a cold night without fires and tents, our chilled but faithful men were greeted by a bright and genial sun on the morning of the eleventh.

By half-past 10 o'clock A. M., the two corps were in position, and were ready to commence the attack. General Steele's division formed the extreme right of the line of battle, reaching near the bayou. General Stuart's, and General A. J. Smith's divisions were formed on its left. One brigade of Gen. Osterhaus's division, Col. Sheldon commanding, formed the extreme left of the line, resting upon the river, in full view of the Fort. Another brigade of the same division, Col. De Courcy commanding, was held in reserve, while the remaining brigade of the same division, Colonel Lindsay commanding, was disposed on the opposite side of the river, as already explained.

Company A, First regiment Illinois light artillery, Captain Wood commanding, was posted to the left of General Stuart's division, on the road leading into the Post. Company B, of the same regiment, Captain Barrett commanding, was posted in the centre of the same division; the Fourth Ohio battery, Captain Hoffman commanding, in the interval between General Stuart's and General Steele's divisions, and the First Iowa battery, Capt. Griffiths commanding, between Thayer's and Hovey's brigades of General Steele's division.

The First Missouri horse artillery was in reserve, with Gen. Blair's brigade; and the Eighth Ohio battery was posted in the rear of the centre of the general line.

Three pieces of the Seventeenth Ohio battery were advanced to an intrenched position in front of Landram's brigade of General Smith's division, and was supported by the Ninety-sixth Ohio.

A section of twenty-pounder Parrott guns, Lieutenant Webster commanding, was posted by General Osterhaus near the river-bank, within eight hundred yards of the Fort, concealed by fallen trees from the view of the enemy; while two sections of the Illinois Mercantile battery were masked and held by the same officer in reserve.

The Seventh Michigan battery, Captain Lamphere commanding, remained with Colonel De Courcy; two twenty-pounder Parrotts, of the First Wisconsin battery, Capt. Foster commanding, and a section of the Illinois Mercantile battery, under Lieutenant Wilson, were with Col Lindsey.

The cavalry were disposed in the rear, under orders to force stragglers to return to their ranks.

Such was the disposition of the forces under my command on the eve of the battle of the Arkansas. On the other hand, the position of the enemy, naturally strong, was one of his own choosing.

Post Arkansas, a small village, the capital of Arkansas county, is situated on elevated ground above the reach of floods, and defining for some miles, the left bank of the river. It was settled by the French in 1685, is fifty miles above the mouth of the river; one hundred and seventeen miles below Little Rock, and is surrounded by a fruitful country, abounding in cattle, corn, and cotton.

Fort Hindman, a square full-bastioned fort, is erected within this village upon the bank of the river, at the head of a bend resembling a horseshoe. The “exterior sides” of the Fort between the salient angles were each three hundred feet in length; the faces of the bastions two sevenths of an exterior side, and the perpendiculars one eighth. The parapet was eighteen feet wide on [364] top; the ditch twenty feet wide on the ground level, and eight feet deep, with a slope of four feet base.

A “banquette” for infantry was constructed around the interior slope of the parapet; also three platforms for artillery in each bastion, and one in the curtain facing north.

On the southern face of the north-eastern bastion was a casemate eighteen by fifteen feet wide, and seven and a half feet high in the clear; the walls of which were constructed of three thicknesses of oak timbers, sixteen inches square, and so the roof with an additional revetment of iron bars. One of the shorter sides of the casemate was inserted in the parapet, and was pierced by an embrasure three feet eight inches on the inside, and four feet six inches on the outside; the entrance being in the opposite wall. This casemate contained a nine-inch columbiad.

A similar casemate was constructed in the curtain facing the river, containing an eight-inch columbiad, and still another nine-inch columbiad was mounted in the salient angle of the southeastern bastion on a “centre pintle Barbette” carriage. All of these guns commanded the river below the Fort.

Besides these, there were four three-inch Parrott guns and four six-pounder iron smooth-bore guns, mounted on field-carriages on the platform in the Fort; which also contained a well-stored magazine, several frame buildings and a well.

The entrance to the Fort, secured by a traverse, was on its north-western side, and from the salient angle of the north-western bastion extended a broken line of rifle-pits westerly for seven hundred and twenty yards, toward the bayou, intersected by wooden traverses. Along the line of rifle-pits six field-pieces were mounted, of which three were rifled.

Although the neighboring bridge across the bayou had been partially destroyed, yet the latter was passable at several points.

Below the Fort occur the rifle-pits and levee before mentioned. The levee exposed a convex line to our advance, was pierced for ten guns and lined on the inside by rifle-pits. The second line of rifle-pits, with intervals left for six guns, extended across the high land from the river to the swamp, its rear approach being obstructed by an abattis of fallen timber. And still nearer the Fort was a deep ravine, entering the river at right angles and extending inland in different arms, in front of the left of our line. In front of the centre of the line was an open field.

This strip of high land afforded the only available approach from our landing to the enemy's defences, and above the second line of rifle-pits, expanded into a dry plateau, extending to the swamp on the east and north-east, and to the bayou and river on the west and south.

This plateau, crossed by the Brownsville and Little Rock road, embraced the enemy's cantonment, his principal defences and the field of action of this day, which covered a space of about one thousand yards square.

Having placed in battery, at the request of Admiral Porter, two twenty-pounder Parrotts, as already explained, for the purpose of dismounting the gun in the lower casemate, which had seriously annoyed the gunboats on the previous evening, and all my forces being ready for action, I sent word to the Admiral, accordingly, and notified him that as soon as he had opened fire, I would advance to the attack of the enemy's works; and at twelve M. repeated the same communication.

At one o'clock P. M., the gunboats opened fire, immediately followed by the fire of artillery along the right wing of my line, and soon after by the fire of artillery along the left wing. At the expiration of thirty minutes, the infantry were to advance to the charge, and when our men were heard shouting to the gunboats, in order to avoid inflicting injury upon them, were to cease firing.

By half-past 1 o'clock Hovey's and Thayer's brigades and Giles A. Smith and T. K. Smith's brigades of General Sherman's corps, had crossed in double-quick time, a narrow space of cleared ground, in their front, and gained position in a belt of woods extending, irregularly, some three hundred yards quite to the enemy's rifle-pits; checked here, for a time, by a sudden and severe fire of musketry and artillery from cover of the enemy's works, they boldly resumed and continued their advance, supported by Blair's brigade, as a reserve, until they had approached within short musket-range of the enemy's line, and found shelter in some ravines lined by underbrush and fallen timber.

In executing this movement, General Hovey was wounded by a fragment of a shell, but continued upon the field in the gallant discharge of duty; General Thayer lost his horse, which was shot under him, and Colonel G. A. Smith and T. K. Smith led their commands in a manner challenging the commendation of their superior officers. Wood's and Barrett's batteries also performed valuable service; Hoffman's battery was advanced within two hundred yards of the enemy's intrenchments, and poured in a rapid and effective fire from three successive positions. It was now three o'clock P. M.

The artillery of General Morgan's corps having opened fire about one o'clock, as already mentioned, kept it up with telling effect for some time. Lieut. Webster's twenty-pounder Parrotts, on the river bank, completely enfiladed the two faces of the north-eastern bastion — some of their shots penetrating the embrasure of the casemate, and contributing, with others from the gunboats, to silence the gun inside of it; also the lighter gun in the northern curtain and the gun en barbette in the south-eastern bastion, which appeared to be above the elevation of the gunboats' fire. These results are not only recounted by General Osterhaus as important in themselves, but as bearing honorable testimony to the skill and efficiency of Lieutenant Webster.

Blount's three ten-pounder Parrotts continued to pour a well-directed fire into the enemy's lines until General A. J. Smith's division had passed to the front and neared the enemy's works. It [365] was probably the fire of these guns that exploded a caisson within the enemy's intrenchments, killing several men and all its horses.

When the enemy and his works had been visibly damaged by the fire of artillery, General A. J. Smith deployed nine regiments of Burbridge's and Landrum's brigades, supported by three regiments in reserve, and steadily moving forward, drove the enemy's advance toward the open ground in front of the right of his defences — seeking shelter behind a cluster of cabins. Col. Guppy, with the Twenty-third Wisconsin, was ordered to charge and dislodge him, which he promptly did, forcing him to flee to his intrenchments. After which, the same regiments, led by their tried and gallant brigade commanders, under the personal direction of Gen. Smith, continued their advance until they had approached within two hundred yards of the Fort, when Gen. Smith sent back word that he could almost shake hands with the enemy.

Meanwhile Col. Sheldon, under Gen. Osterhaus's opportune direction, had ordered up Cooley's battery within two hundred yards of the enemy's defences, and deployed the One Hundred and Eighteenth Illinois on its right, and massed the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio on its left, holding the Sixty-ninth Indiana in reserve. Both infantry and artillery replied to the galling fire of the enemy until the rifle-pits of the latter, in front, were nearly cleared. Seizing the opportunity, the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio dashed forward to carry the east face of the Fort, and only failed because, superadded to the fosse, there was an impassable ravine in the way.

Col. De Courcy's brigade, which with General Blair's had borne the brunt of the repulse near Vicksburgh, was left near the transports to protect them, and to guard the approach across the swamp by which General Steele had counter marched, and remained there until about three o'clock, when it was ordered up.

Having reenforced General Sherman, at his request, at a quarter-past three o'clock, by sending the Twenty-third Wisconsin, Nineteenth Kentucky, and Ninety-seventh Illinois, from General Smith's division, to take position further to the right; and the engagement, notwithstanding the guns of the Fort had been silenced by the combined fire of my artillery and the gunboats, being sharp and general on both sides, I ordered an assault.

Burbridge's brigade with the two regiments of Landrum's which had been sent to its right, and the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio of Colonel Sheldon's brigade bearing the brunt, dashed forward under a deadly fire quite to the enemy's intrenchments, the Sixteenth Indiana, Lieut.-Col. John M. Orr, with the Eighty-third Ohio, Lieut.-Colonel Baldwin, of Burbridge's brigade, and the One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio, Colonel D. French, of Colonel Sheldon's brigade, being the first to enter the Fort. Presenting himself at the entrance of the Fort, Gen. Burbridge was halted by the guard, who denied that they had surrendered until he called their attention to the white flag, and ordered them to ground their arms. Immediately after, meeting General Churchill, commandant of the post, he referred him to me, from whom I received the formal surrender of the post, its armament, garrison, and all its stores.

Further to the enemy's left his intrenchments were stormed by General Sherman's command, who immediately ordered General Steele, whose zeal and daring added to his previous renown, to push forward one of his brigades along the bayou, and cut off the enemy's escape in that direction.

Colonel Lindsay, as soon as a gunboat had passed above the Fort, hastened with his brigade down the opposite shore, and opened an oblique fire from Foster's two twenty, and Lieutenant Wilson's two ten-pounder Parrott's, into the enemy's line of rifle-pits, carrying away his battle-flag and killing a number of his men. Eager to do still more, he embarked the Third Kentucky on board of one of the gunboats to cross the river to the Fort, but before it got over the enemy had surrendered.

Thus at half-past 4 o'clock, after three and a half hours hard fighting, our forces entered and took possession of all the enemy's defences.

To General Morgan I assigned the command of the Fort, who as a token of the conspicuous merit of General Smith throughout the action, assigned it to that officer. To General Sherman I gave charge of all the other defences and the prisoners outside of the Fort, who in like manner honored General Stuart by giving them into his charge.

Seven stands of colors were captured, including the garrison flag, which was captured by Captain Ennis, one of General Smith's aids-de-camp.

General Burbridge planted the American flag upon the Fort which had been placed in his hands as a tribute to his gallantry, by General Smith, for that purpose. Besides these, five thousand prisoners; seventeen pieces of cannon, large and small; ten gun-carriages, and eleven limbers; three thousand stands of small arms, exclusive of many lost or destroyed; one hundred and thirty swords, fifty Colt's pistols; forty cans of powder; one thousand six hundred and fifty rounds of shot, shell, and canister for ten and twenty-pounder Parrott guns; three hundred and seventy-five shells, grape-stands and canister; forty-six thousand rounds of ammunition for small arms; five hundred and sixty-three animals, together with a considerable quantity of quartermaster and commissary stores, fell into our hands. Of these captures, seven pieces of cannon had been destroyed by the fire of our artillery and the gunboats; beside one hundred and seventy wagons, and a large portion of the stores which were destroyed for want of means to bring them away.

Our loss in killed was one hundred and twenty-nine; in wounded, eight hundred and thirty-one; and missing, seventeen--in all in killed, wounded, and missing, nine hundred and seventy-seven; [366] while that of the enemy, notwithstanding the protection afforded by his defences, proportionably to his numbers, was much larger.

The prisoners of war I forwarded to the Commissioner for the exchange of prisoners at St. Louis, and utterly destroying all of the enemy's defences, together with all buildings used by him for military purposes, I reembarked my command and sailed for Milliken's Bend on the seventeenth instant, in obedience to Major-Gen. Grant's orders.

Noticing the conduct of the officers and men who took part in the battle of the Arkansas, I must refer to the reports of corps, division, brigade and regimental commanders for particular mention of those who specially signalized their merit; but in doing so, I cannot forbear, in justice, to add my tribute to the general zeal and capability of the former, and valor and constancy of the latter.

Gen. Sherman exhibited his usual activity and enterprise; Gen. Morgan proved his tactical skill and strategic talent; while Generals Steele, Smith, Osterhaus, and Stuart, and the several brigade commanders, displayed the fitting qualities of brave and successful officers.

The members of my staff present--Col. Stewart, Chief of Cavalry; Lieut.-Col. Schwartz, Inspector General; Lieut.-Colonel Dunlap, A. Q.M.; Major McMillen, Medical Director; Major Ramsey; Captain Freeman, and Lieutenants Jones, Caldwell and Jayne, Aids-de-camp — all rendered valuable assistance. Lieut. Caldwell, who ascended into the top of a lofty tree in full view of the enemy and within range of his fire, and gave me momentary information of the operations both of our land and naval forces and of the enemy, particularly challenges my commendation and thanks.

To Col. Parsons, A. Q.M., and master of transports, I also offer my acknowledgments, not only for the successful discharge of arduous duties in his department, but for important services as volunteer aid, in bearing orders in the face of danger, on the field. And to Major Williams, Surgeon of the Second Illinois light artillery, I am also indebted for professional usefulness.

The maps and drawings herewith submitted will illustrate the disposition of the land forces, the position of the gunboats, the defences of the enemy, the field of operations, and the surrounding country.

While mourning the loss of the dead and sympathizing with the bereavement of their kindred and friends, and the sufferings of the wounded, we should offer our heartfelt gratitude to Almighty God for the complete success vouchsafed to our arms in so just a cause.

John A. Mcclernand,1 Major-General Commanding.

Report of General Hovey.

headquarters Second brigade, First division, Fifteenth army corps, steamer continental, January 13, 1863.
Captain: Pursuant to orders from General Steele, the Second brigade debarked on the morning of the tenth instant, at Notrib's plantation, about one mile below “Arkansas Post,” and marched in a north-westerly direction, with the view of passing in the rear of the Fort and gaining the river above. The brigade consists of the Seventeenth, Twelfth, and Third Missouri infantry, the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Iowa infantry, the Seventy-sixth Ohio infantry, and the First Missouri horse artillery. Having proceeded one half-mile to near the woods, the enemy's pickets were discovered in force, and Captain Landgrasber was ordered forward and dispersed them with a few shells from his howitzers. Bearing to the right and following the old wood-road, the brigade soon reached an apparently impassable bayou, but a crossing was at last effected, and the route pursued for several miles. Small squads of the enemy's cavalry hovered in our advance, and several were captured. About two o'clock the column was ordered to return to the landing, where it arrived just before dark, and bivouacked for the night.

Hardly had the camp fires been lighted, when orders were received to move immediately by another route and by a night-march to our original destination. Over marshy ground, thickly covered with wood, without a guide and with the only direction, “to take a north-westerly course,” we set out. Fortunately, the North Star was in full view, and by its aid we were enabled to reach the point indicated, after a fatiguing march of more than eight hours. It was after two o'clock in the morning when we reached the deserted camps of the enemy. At daybreak Gen. Steele and staff came up, and ordered the brigade to form parallel with the bayou on which its right then rested, move toward the river, and complete the investment of the enemy's works.

Having moved scarcely more than half a mile, we met the enemy in force, their works being in full view. The brigade halted, and skirmishers from the Seventeenth Missouri were sent forward to feel the enemy. They soon became hotly engaged, and the Third Missouri infantry were ordered forward to their support. Here a brave man, Captain Greene, of the Third Missouri, together with two color-bearers, were instantly killed by the bursting of a shell, and a large number wounded. The enemy having now been unmasked and their position partially at least ascertained, a halt was ordered and nothing further was done until the final dispositions for reducing the Fort were made. I had forgotten to state that the Twelfth Missouri was left behind at the landing as a guard for the transports, and that Captain Landgrasber's battery finding it impossible to follow the brigade in its night-march through the woods and swamps, was also left behind.

This brigade occupied the extreme right, and was disposed for the assault as follows: Seventeenth Missouri, under Colonel Hassendeubel, were deployed as skirmishers on the advance, and were also instructed to watch the right bank of the bayou to guard against, or at least to give [367] notice of a flank attack. Colonel Shepard, of the Third Missouri, followed him, supported by the Thirty-first Iowa, under Col. Smyth. Next to the left, and in continuation of the line of battle, was the Seventy-sixth Ohio, under Colonel Woods, supported by the Twenty-fifth Iowa, under Colonel Stone. At a given signal Colonel Hassendeubel advanced with his skirmishers through the woods along the bayou, and became hotly engaged. He was attacked on the flank much more violently than was anticipated, and was compelled to divert his whole regiment from its original course to repel this assault, leaving Colonel Shepard in the advance on the original line. The Seventy-sixth Ohio, under Colonel Woods, moved off on the double-quick in gallant style, closely followed by the Twenty-fifth Iowa. This column moving over open ground, and in advance of all others, drew the concentrated fire of the enemy's artillery and rifle-pits, but on they moved, nor stopped until within easy rifle-range of the enemy's works. Colonel Woods's sharp-shooters immediately silenced two of the enemy's Parrott guns, and not another shot was fired from them during the action.

I wish to call especial attention to the good conduct of this regiment. Though leading the advance, exposed to a concentrated and galling fire, and holding, as I believe, during the entire action, a position considerably in advance of any other regiment, not a man fell out of the ranks; there was no confusion, every man did his duty.

By silencing the Parrott guns in front, the advance of the brigade next on the left, Colonel Smyth's, was rendered comparatively safe. The complication on my extreme right, where the rebels had stationed their cavalry to fire from across the bayou on our rear, and two regiments of infantry to fire on our flank, early attracted my attention. Here I ordered a charge on the enemy's works by the Third Missouri, under Col. Shepard, supported by the Thirty-first Iowa, commanded by Colonel Smyth. They moved forward vigorously, and for a time I confidently expected they would enter the works, but the galling cross-fire of the infantry and artillery, bearing directly on their front and flanks, and coming from a quarter unexpected, and therefore not guarded by Colonel Hassendeubel's sharp-shooters, checked the charge, and at length compelled Colonels Shepard and Smyth to resume their original line of battle.

Colonel Hassendeubel, with his regiment of sharp-shooters, continued to do excellent service until his ammunition was exhausted. They were then ordered to the rear to re-supply themselves. Finding the enemy had massed a strong force to protect this, the weakest part of his work, I brought forward two twelve-pound howitzers, with the view of shelling back the enemy beyond rifle-range. Two shots only had been fired when the Fort was surrendered.

I have already spoken of the gallant conduct of the Seventy-sixth Ohio and its Colonel; of the Third Missouri and its Colonel, who captured two stands of rebel colors, and of the good service done by the Seventeenth Missouri; and I will now add that Colonel Stone, of the Twenty-fifth Iowa, and the majority of his regiment, acted like veterans, but the cowardly conduct of his Major in leaving the field in the face of the enemy, thereby giving countenance to straggling and skulking, cannot be too severely censured. The Thirty-first Iowa lost much of its effectiveness through lack of discipline. This and the Twenty-fifth Iowa are now regiments.

I should not do full justice did I close this report without making honorable mention of my staff-officers, Capt. F. M. Crandal, Lieuts. J. E. Bryant, and F. H. Wilson, and Sergeant Sid. C. Morgan. Inclosed are lists of casualties in the several regiments.

I have the honor to be, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Charles E. Hovey, Brigadier-General. F. M. Crandal, A. A.G. To Captain J. W. Paddock, A. A. General First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps.

Report of rear-admiral Porter.

United States Mississippi Squadron, Arkansas Post, Jan. 11, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to inform you that on the fourth of January, General McClernand concluded to move up the river upon the Post of Arkansas, and requested my cooperation. I detailed three in iron-clads — the Louisville, Baron de Kalb, and Cincinnati — with all the light-draft gunboats, all of which had to be towed up the river.

On the ninth we ascended the Arkansas River as high as Arkansas Post, when the army landed within about four miles of the Fort. The enemy had thrown up heavy earthworks and extensive rifle-pits all along the levee. While the army were making a detour to surround the Fort, I sent up the iron-clads to try the range of their guns, and afterwards sent up the Rattler, Lieut. Commanding Watson Smith, to clear out the rifle-pits, and the men behind an extensive breastwork in front of our troops. The Black Hawk also opened on them with her rifled guns, and after a few shots the enemy left the works, and our troops marched in. At two o'clock Gen. McClernand told me the troops would be in position to assault the main fort — a very formidable work — and I held all the vessels in readiness to attack when the troops were in position. At half-past 5 in the afternoon, Gen. McClernand sent me a message, stating that every thing was ready, and the Louisville, Baron de Kalb, and Cincinnati advanced to within four hundred yards of the Fort, which then opened fire from their heavy guns, and eight rifled guns and musketry. The superiority of our fire was soon manifested. The batteries were silenced, and we ceased firing; but no assault took place, and it being too dark to do any thing, all the vessels dropped down and tied up to the bank for the night.

The Baron De Kalb, Lieutenant Commanding Walker; Louisville, Lieutenant Commanding Owen; and the Cincinnati, Lieutenant Commanding [368] Bache, led the attack, and when hotly engaged I brought up the light-draft vessels, the Lexington and Black Hawk, to throw in shrapnel and rifle-shell. The fire was very destructive, killing nearly all the artillery horses in and about the fort.

When the battery was pretty well silenced, I ordered Lieutenant Commanding Smith to pass the Fort in the light-draft iron-clad Rattler, and enfilade it, which he did in a very gallant and handsome manner, but suffered a good deal in his hull in doing so. All his cabin-works were knocked to pieces, and a heavy shell raked him from stem to stern in the hull. Strange to say, two heavy shells struck his iron-plating--three quarter inch — on the bow and never injured it. He got past the Fort, but became entangled among the snags placed in the river to impede our progress, and had to return.

In the evening attack the vessels of all the commanders were well handled, particularly the iron-clads.

It was close quarters all the time, and not a gun was fired from our side until the gunboats were within four hundred yards of the Fort. The condition of the Fort attests the accuracy of fire, and the persons inside give the Baron De Kalb, Lieutenant Commander Walker, the credit of doing the most execution.

I was informed again this morning by Gen. McClernand, that the army was waiting for the navy to attack, when they would assault the works. I ordered up the iron-clads, with directions for the Lexington to join in when the former became engaged, and for the frailer vessels to haul up in the smoke and do the best they could. The Rattler, Lieut. Commanding Smith, and the Guide, Lieutenant Commanding Woodworth, did good execution with their shrapnel, and when an opportunity occurred I made them push through by the Fort again, also, the ram Monarch, Colonel Charles Ellet; and they proceeded rapidly up the river to cut off the enemy's retreat by the only way he had to get off.

By this time all the guns in the Fort were completely silenced by the Louisville, Lieutenant Commanding E. R. Owen, Baron De Kalb, and Cincinnati, and I ordered the Black Hawk up for the purpose of boarding it in front. Being unmanageable, she had to be kept up the narrow stream, and I took in a regiment from the opposite side to try and take it by assault.

As I rounded to, to do so, and the gunboats commenced firing rapidly, knocking every thing to pieces, the enemy held out a white flag, and I ordered the firing to cease. The army then entered and took possession. Colonel Dunnington, the commander of the Fort, sent for me and surrendered to me in person. General Churchill, of the rebel army, surrendered to the military commander.

Our army had almost surrounded the Fort, and would no doubt have carried it with ease. They enfiladed it with rifled field-pieces, which did much damage to the houses and light work, leaving their mark in all directions.

I do not know yet what were the operations on the land side. I was too much interested in my own affair, and in placing the vessels as circumstances required. In all this affair there was the greatest zeal on the part of the officers commanding to carry out my orders, and not a mistake of any kind occurred. No fort ever received a worse battering, and the highest compliment I can pay those engaged is to repeat what the rebels said: “You can't expect men to stand up against the fire of those gunboats.”

A large number of persons were captured in the Fort, I don't know how many, and at sundown the army were hurrying in the cavalry and artillery.

I herewith inclose the report of the commanding officers and a list of killed and wounded, and take another occasion to mention to the department the names of those officers who have distinguished themselves particularly, though it is hard to discriminate when all did their duty so well.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Acting Rear-Admiral Commanding Mississippi Squadron. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

Report of Lieutenant Commanding Owen.

United States Mississippi Squadron, United States gunboat Louisville, off Arkansas Post, Arkansas River, January 14, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to transmit the report of killed and wounded on board this vessel, the damages sustained from the enemy's guns, and the amount of ammunition expended during the engagements of yesterday and to-day with the enemy's batteries at Arkansas Post. The damage sustained in the hull, as shown by the carpenter's report, though serious, has not in the least unfitted her for duty. I can only add that every officer and man did his duty.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

E. K. Owen. Lieutenant Commanding United States Navy. To Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, Commander Mississippi Squadron.

United States Mississippi Squadron. Arkansas River, Ark., January 11, 1863.
sir: The following is a list of the killed and wounded on board the United States gunboat Louisville:

Fred. H. Gilhardy, seaman, wounded in the head, mortally; Adam Bradshaw, seaman, wounded in the thorax, mortally; James Mulheinn, seaman, wounded in the thigh, severely; Jas. Sullivan, seaman, contusion of thorax and abdomen; Thos. Spencer, seaman, wounded in elbow, slightly; Thomas Jackson, seaman, wounded in leg, slightly; Albert Mowry, seaman, wounded in knee, slightly; Jas. Blaisdale, seaman, wounded in hand, slightly; Geo. Holmes, seaman, contusion of shoulder, slightly; J. T. Blatchford, ensign, wounded in leg, severely; Walter Williams, seaman, killed.


Report of Lieutenant Commanding Walker.

United States Mississippi Squadron, United States gunboat Baron De Kalb, Arkansas Post, January 12, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to report that in the attack on this place, on the evening of the tenth, this vessel was struck several times, but with no serious injury to vessel or crew. In the attack on the eleventh, one of the ten-inch guns was struck in the muzzle, and both gun and carriage destroyed; one thirty-two-pounder carriage struck and destroyed; one of the iron plates on forward casemate badly broken by shot; the wood-work about two of the port badly torn by shot, and one lower-deck beam cut off by a plunging shot through the deck. The other injuries, although considerable, can be repaired on board in a few days. I lost two men killed, and fifteen wounded--two probably mortal and several seriously. The loss was from shot and shell entering the ports. My officers and men behaved with the greatest gallantry and coolness, and the practice with the guns was excellent. I expended forty-five ten-inch shells, nine ten-inch shrapnel, seventy eight-inch shells, and thirty-seven thirty-two-pounder shells.

Inclosed I send the surgeon's report of killed and wounded.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John G. Walker, Lieutenant Commanding U. S.N. Acting Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Annexed is the surgeon's report of killed and wounded on board the United States gunboat Baron De Kalb, in the attack on Arkansas Post, January eleventh, 1863:

John Ryan, landsman, killed; Theo. Bender, third-class boy, severely wounded, probably mortal; Peter Olton, coxswain; Geo. Smith, seaman, severely; Jos. Bader, seaman; Jno. Farren, seaman; William Smith, seaman; M. C. Doreohs, slightly wounded; Wm. Swisler, seaman; Joseph H. Malon, seaman; Alfred H. Boyle, yeoman; Oscar Jordan, seaman; Antonio de Uroa, seaman; Geo. Fales, seaman; William Kelley, seaman; Pierre Leon, seaman; John Glenn, seaman.

John wise, Acting Assistant Surgeon. To Jno. G. Walker, Lieutenant Commanding.

Report of Lieutenant Commanding Bache.

United States Mississippi Squadron, United States gunboat Cincinnati, off Arkansas Post, January 12, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to report having sustained no serious damage in the attack on the tenth. One shell struck us at the water-line forward, and a second went through the upper works. We were equally fortunate during the attack of yesterday, although struck nine times on the bow-casement, pilot-house, and upper work.

This vessel fired the first gun, at half-past 1 o'clock P. M., and in half or three quarters of an hour the right casement gun of the Fort — the one assigned to us — was silenced, when our fire was directed on the left casement and barbette guns, and afterward in shelling the interior of the Fort. We engaged the Fort at three hundred yards.

I have the honor to mention Acting Ensign A. F. O'Neil, Acting Master's Mate Henry Boobey, and Acting Gunner John F. Ribblett, the officers commanding the bow-guns, for coolness and skill in directing their fire.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

George M. Bache, Lieutenant Commanding. Acting Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

Report of Lieutenant Commanding Shirk.

United States Mississippi Squadron, United States gunboat Lexington, off Post of Arkansas, Arkansas River, January 11, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to report that there were expended on board this ship, during the attack upon this Post, by the forces under your command, on the tenth instant, fourteen Parrott shells and two eight-inch shells, and during the final and victorious assault of to-day, forty-nine eight-inch shells and forty Parrott shells. I am happy to report no casualties. The woodwork of the ship and two of our boats are somewhat damaged.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

James W. Shirk, Lieutenant Commander. Assistant Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi River Squadron.

Missouri Republican account.

Arkansas Post, January 12.
The eighth found our fleet on its way back from the ill-planned attack at Vicksburgh, opposite the mouth of White River. There was one change for the better, however. The troops, although somewhat dispirited, were no longer under a leader whom they wholly distrusted. An alteration was needed, and General Sherman was not superseded a moment two soon. General McClernand had taken command in his place.

At the mouth there was a pause, and White River's silent banks, its narrow channel entering into and losing itself almost immediately in the dense forest, became endued with a new interest. That lonely ribbon of water, winding like a serpent out of sight among trees hoary and bearded with the long, gray Spanish moss, had been for two years silent to commerce. Far up it, instead of friendly towns were hostile strongholds, and torpedoes and traps in lieu of other welcome.

Preparations for advancing were made, and early on the eighth the noble fleet turned from the Mississippi into this stream that seemed hardly more than a bayou. It appeared as if we would choke it up, as if as many paddles beating at once might dash all the waters out and leave us imbedded in mud. There were no houses, no farms, nothing but swamps and wilderness, which gave back the echoes of our progress, the hoarse puffs of escaping steam and snatches of songs. A few miles from the mouth of White River we entered the “cut-off” and passed into the Arkansas. These two streams being near each [370] other, the channel of the latter, back several miles from its mouth, breaks through into the White, thus affording easy communication. We were now in a broader stream and progressed more easily. The weather was delightful, and had there been foliage instead of gray pendent moss upon the trees, it would have appeared midsummer. Overcoats were discarded by many, and shirt-sleeve costume adopted instead. Every thing looked favorable, and feeling saddened at Vicksburgh became cheerful again. Habitations were few, and generally wretched pests, with scanty clearing surrounding. At rare intervals some building more respectable than those of the “poor white trash” greeted us, always built in rambling and roomy style, great porches, and surrounded by negro huts. The latter on these estates were much better than the majority of those belonging to white people. Old, sallow, wrinkled dames, drawn out by curiosity from their nests, and invariably knitting, would occasionally stand gazing at us, silent as if wooden blocks! Surrounded, framed as it were, by the house-moss, they seemed as much witches as those that brewed in Macbeth's time. Arkansas has never had an enviable name, and were the balance of it poor as that bordering its river, it would not be worth opening to trade. Truly, here's the land of the “Arkansas traveller,” where a good share of the native talent is devoted to fiddling.

Impoverished and wretched, the people could apparently have no worse fate than being left to themselves. At places, corn-bins were built upon the river's bank, generally empty, their contents having been slid into boats beneath and transferred up-stream. One or two, however, were blazing, and thousands of bushels thus destroyed. Sunken barges and scows, for a couple of years left to themselves, lay broken on bars. Every thing looked as if the people were trying to exhibit as little civilization as they could, while endeavoring, with the least possible labor, to bring forth the least possible crops. Occasionally horsemen — the Texan Rangers, which infest this section — were seen riding at full speed over some field, out of rifle-shot. The skill they exhibited was surprising, making them appear like Centaurs — horse and man joined in one.

Thus passing along without incident, our gunboats in front finally slackened speed and went to reconnoitring. We were near the rebel position, Arkansas Post beyond, around a bend, and as it was a favorable spot for disembarking, the fleet drew near shore. Night had come on, and orders were given to wait until morning, meanwhile throwing out strong pickets. The fields of “Haunted farm,” a great plantation with a large half-ruined house and numerous negro huts, were chosen to debark upon. Among the slaves it was considered a spirit rendezvous. “Goblins damned” danced at midnight on the deserted cotton-fields, Luna gazing, occasionally flushed blood-red in anger, spirits of defunct negroes cried in the branches, and hens, those staunch friends of good wives, left off their agreeable lays and went to crowing whenever persons near were threatened by death. John, a negro servant, on board our vessel, the Ella, had a nightmare in consequence, and woke us at twelve o'clock by his loud cries. A better feeling already pervaded the army, and night settled down clear and beautiful.

Constant chopping resounded from the woods beyond, where the rebels were busy endeavoring to obstruct our expected advance by felling trees. With unfailing industry they devoted the hours of slumber to perfecting their means of defence.

One doubt was most pleasantly removed; that an evacuation would be attempted. They were there to defend the Post, fortified by so much labor, and would not desert it. Confident in the immense strength of their works, the abattis, rifle-pits, and batteries, they awaited us. Constant skirmishing ensued between the pickets.

At morning's dawn all was bustle in the fleet. Every vessel poured forth upon the shore its crowds of soldiers. Regiments collected, brigades formed, and at nine all moved forward, the intention being to surround the rebel Fort. Only half a mile away were their first line of works, where the levee, making a curve inland, had been raised in front and pitted behind. Among some sheds, grouped just before, preparations for masked batteries were visible, half finished. They had deserted these, and fled back to a second line, still more formidable, six hundred yards in the rear. The Eighth Missouri, Lieut.-Colonel Coleman, was pushed forward as skirmishers. This regiment, well known by its last exploits, decimated in half a dozen battles, and numbering only two hundred and ninety men, entered the woods. Almost instantly rapid musketry told them engaged. The balance of General G. A. Smith's brigade followed. On those earthworks the rebels had placed logs, between the spaces of which they fired. Steadily up the hill, sometimes crawling, again gliding behind trees and trees, went the Zouaves, and back from these pits also, first slowly, then running, retired the confederate sharp-shooters. Meanwhile, stretching out in a line to the right, our army had passed from the fields into the woods, the left wing remaining at the river rifle-pits won. After toiling forward for several hours, only to arrive at impassable swamps and bayous, the centre and right had to return. On the river's bank, in full view of the enemy, and commanded by their guns, was an excellent road, leading to a position nearer them, from which the army could then invest, by stretching at a right angle across the point. When friendly darkness came, our forces, thus doubled back upon themselves, passed through the left wing, still waiting there, and out upon this route. Gen. Thayer, with his brigade, led, followed by Gen. Hovey.

It was a toilsome, dangerous, but successful march through a country unknown; having no guide, the troops struggled forward, and at five o'clock next morning reached the opposite side of the bend and commanded the river above. [371]

All Saturday the rebels had fired at intervals, whenever troops appeared in range on the banks, generally using Parrott missiles.

Cooperating with the army was Rear-Admiral Porter, who had brought up three iron-clads and several mosquito vessels from his Mississippi fleet. The former were the Louisville, Lieutenant Commanding E. K. Owen; Cincinnati, Lieutenant Commanding Bache; and De Kalb, (old St. Louis,) Lieutenant Commanding Walker. The Admiral's flag-ship was the armed transport-steamer Uncle Sam.

Saturday evening, at dusk, to determine the enemy's strength, the iron-clads were pushed forward, and engaged the Fort for an hour or two, each being struck, but with trifling loss of life.

Sunday morning was occupied in getting the troops into position and preparing for our struggle.

The enemy, finding themselves outnumbered, had abandoned all their outer works, and retreated to the last and inner line. This, stronger than the others, run at a right angle from the front to the opposite side of the bend. For hundreds of yards in front, trees and bushes had been felled, giving a wide open space swept by cannon and commanded by musketry. Assailants must either charge over this, or make it an artillery duel. Their right was the river fort, a work of unusual strength. Walls twenty feet high, a deep fosse or moat surmounting, and mounting nine guns, two of which were protected by immense bomb-proof casemates shielded with iron, the others being en barbette.

Across the sand-bar, between it and the long reach or channel, were placed guide-frames, by means of which to train the guns accurately upon any approaching vessel. The Fort could also change its fire to the plain, over which assailants would have to advance. The strength of their position was such that, although outnumbered, they expected to hold it successfully, and men would occasionally ride along their front, planting rebel flags. Our army stretched across, distant but half a mile, part slightly sheltered by a ravine, the others among the enemy's barracks, which, numerous and strong, gave a measure of protection.

Gen. Sherman's corps held the right, disposed as follows: In Gen. Steele's division, Gen. Hovey's brigade holding the right, Gen. Thayer's the centre, and Gen. Blair's the left.

In Gen. Stuart's division, Acting Gen. G. A. Smith's brigade the right and G. K. Smith's the left. The General Morgan's corps holding the army's left. A. J. Smith's division, Burbridge's and Landrum's brigades, Sheldon's brigade, in Osterhaus's division, resting on the river-bank, the extreme left. Gens. Lindsay's and De Courcy's commands of the latter division, had been sent along the opposite shore when first landed, to cut off escape on that side.

A simultaneous attack was to take place by both fleet and army. Our batteries had all been placed in position, and the enemy, alarmed, commenced shelling every position of the army exposed to view. Their missiles fell thick, and ambulances commenced going to and fro.

These carts with the red flags soon became busy enough hunting their loads. Just at noon the gunboats moved up, and went into action. The firing was instantaneous and terrific on both water and land; no feeble bombardment and manoeuvring, but a joint outburst from both army and navy. The Fort directed its fire upon the fleet, the gunboats pouring their welcomes into the casemates. The rebels hurled at our navy its own nine-inch shell, captured two weeks previously on the Blue Wing. Above the Fort the air was filled with dirt, bars of iron, and splinters. Vessels were hit repeatedly, and occasionally some huge shell would enter a port-hole or penetrate the wood, and burst inside. With the army, all our batteries along its front were in action, and the musketry incessant.

The plain was swept by canister and ball in every direction, shell coming rapidly and accurately from each rebel battery. Behind their works, at short intervals, were placed field-pieces. The horses of these, and the rows of dodging heads, were all that could be seen. Protected by their earth-works, and possessing a great advantage over us, they fully appreciated it, and no portion of flesh belonging to the Confederacy was needlessly exposed. The merciless pelting of bullets into our ranks grew more rapid and deadly as we slowly advanced. As for the artillery, it could not be fired faster than it had been from the first.

Our own batteries did excellent execution, dismounting one or two guns, and slaughtering their horses rapidly. The musketry proved less successful, although half the line was in action. The assailed exposed one tenth of their body, the assailants the whole, and thus the dice which death was throwing gave them odds of ten to one.

Fortunately, the quarters were not close enough to avail them much. Had they been, the place would now be dearly bought.

General Thayer, as usual, foremost where duty called, had his favorite horse shot under him. His brigade was composed of the Fourth, Ninth, Twenty-sixth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-fourth Iowa regiments, and First Iowa battery, who suffered severely. Acting-General G. A. Smith's brigade was warmly engaged, and he, also, while leading at the extreme front, had his horse shot. The Eighth Missouri, which name seems ever present where gallant actions are concerned, had been pushed into the hottest fire. Well led by Lieutenant-Colonel Coleman, who was slightly wounded, it suffered severely. Five officers were killed and disabled. Brave Kirby, its Major, had his horse shot, and was considerably bruised by the animal falling. Lieutenant Lee Morgan received a ball through the face. Capt. Jameson, wounded in arm at an early moment, refused to retire, and fearlessly led his men through the action. Lieut. B. W. Musselman, although on the sick list, joined his company and did good service.

In General Morgan's corps matters went equally [372] favorable. That leader, fearless and skilful, handled his troops well. All the Brigadier-Generals did their duty.

Among the batteries most constantly engaged, was Taylor's, from Chicago. Twice charges were made by different commands, but so severe was the musketry directed upon them, that they fell back before getting to the works. The fire from the river fort for some time become feeble, suddenly ceased. The fleet was victorious at that point, and the principal dependence silenced, its bomb-proofs battered to pieces, and every heavy gun either dismounted or broken in two. Thirty artillerists lay dead within the walls, and the few stout buildings intended for protection from shell, were in ruins. Three vessels of the mosquito fleet had passed above, and were shelling the rebels in their rear. Our huge shot had pounded long at the great casemates before gaining admittance, and when they finally entered, the destruction of life was great. What had been intended for places of safety, proved death-haunts. Behind the torn walls, however, sharp-shooters still lingered. On land the cannonading and musketry grew more furious as our army pressed still closer. Night approached, the sun was hardly an hour high, and every nerve was strained to conquer before darkness set in. Rebel pieces were deserted, no gunner daring to approach them, so accurate had become our fire, Advancing steadily and surely, but commencing to pay dearly for it, preparations were made to charge in force. All prepared for the struggle they felt coming, when suddenly, while their fire was hottest, it stopped, and a white flag rose above the works; war ceased, as if by magie, and wildly cheering, the troops pressed forward and over the fortifications they battled so hard to gain. Far down along the river for miles, reaching to the transports, the crowds caught up the cry and echoed it back. Such a cheering had never been heard on the Arkansas before. Not that it could be called a great victory, but that it was an inspiring change from the blundering expedition of Vicksburgh. Within the walls were strewed dead and wounded, their number, however, not being large, only about a hundred and fifty. The mortality among horses was remarkable, eight or more of the mangled bodies lying around. Most of the dead men were much disfigured, evidently killed by shell — some ripped open, and their bowels upon the ground, others with heads cut open or limbs torn off. The rebel soldiers were gathered in crowds, evidently not much disheartened at being taken. They were composed of the following regiments: Twenty-fourth Texas, dismounted cavalry, Col. Wilkes; Twenty-fifth, same, Colonel Gillespie; Fifteenth, same, Colonel Sweet; Sixth Texas infantry, Colonel Garland, Colonel Taylor's regiment, and Colonel Darnel's.

Six of the nine guns in the Fort belonged to Captain Hart's Arkansas battery, three pieces being twenty-pound Parrotts.

The Commander-in-Chief of the confederate forces was Brigadier-General Churchill; Captain Ben. Johnson, Adjutant-General, Captain Wolf, Chief Quartermaster, Captain Little and Captain Brown, aids. Brigade commanders were Colonel Deshler, Colonel Garland, and Colonel Portlock. There was also a large number of captains and lieutenants. They will be sent to Cairo this morning.

Our loss in the engagement was about one hundred killed, and five hundred wounded, who go up on the steamer January.

To-day they are digging the graves and collecting the dead for burial. Fifty or more additional corpses have been found in the woods far back, evidently skulkers from the rebel army, killed by our shell. Prisoners are also constantly brought in, overtaken twelve or fifteen miles away. Of the entire force garrisoning the Fort, one thousand, mostly Texas cavalry, escaped, taking with then a great portion of the baggage-train. These effected an exit on the night our forces were surrounding the place, and before it could be fully accomplished.

The results of the victory are about four thousand live hundred prisoners, about the same number stand of arms, and twenty guns. The post was an important one, and Gen. Churchill affirms he had orders to hold it to the last. Little Rock and the whole State are now open to us whenever we wish to move. Duval's Bluff, on the White River, has probably fallen ere this, under the attack of Gen. Gorman, and thus two tributaries of supply are shut to the rebels.

These movements, although presenting no very brilliant victories, are yet the surest way at present of crippling the rebellion. When unable, for want of subsistence, to mass their armies in one or two strongholds, they will have to come out of Vicksburgh and Richmond, and offer battle. The policy of letting them choose their own places for defence, exhaust military ingenuity in fortifying positions by nature almost inaccessible, then hurl our men madly forward under a dozen disadvantages, should, if disastrous warnings can penetrate the mind of Gen. Halleck, be abandoned. I have good authority for stating that the attack upon Arkansas Post was made without authority of, or suggestion by, the authorities at Washington. Those worthies were apparently busily occupied seeing that the hospitals before Vicksburgh and Fredericksburgh were well filled. I mention but facts in saying that the feeling in this army against what they consider Halleck's blundering career, is universal and bitter.

The soldiers are now busy destroying the works here, and burning the barracks. Every ditch has been dragged by adventurous ones in search of hidden property, and several hundred pistols and swords brought forth. Under floors, in hollow trees, everywhere that opportunity offered, the rebels concealed what they could.

Their sharp-shooters boast gleefully of skill in killing officers.

One affirmed yesterday that he fired six times at Gen.Thayer, the fifth shot killing his horse. Our next movement will, it is hoped, be to again [373] operate against Vicksburgh, this time assisted by General Grant.

On board the gunboats, which did such good service in this last attack, the loss is inconsiderable, about a dozen killed, and thirty wounded. One shell passed through the forward part of the Louisville, and striking the gun-deck, bounded into the steam-condenser, where its fuse was extinguished.

The river fort, upon which the rebels placed so much confidence, and that fell before three vessels of our navy, is a complete ruin. Half its garrison were killed or wounded, a larger proportion than in any similar attack during the war. It is hardly possible now to recognize what were considered by the builders shot and shell-proof casemates. These resembled log-houses, with sides and roof of solid hewn oak timber, three feet thick, and covered by bars of inch iron. The sides faced the river, and out of the casemate in each had peered a nine-inch gun. These, hit by our heavy shot, were two of them broken off near the muzzle, another dismounted, while floors and frames around were clotted with blood as if a slaughter-house for cattle had existed there.

A peculiar feature of this battle was that Texas defended Arkansas. All but a thousand of the men were from the former State.

W. E. W.

A rebel narrative.

Yankee steamer Nebraska, Off the post of Arkansas, Wednesday, January 14, 1863.
Editors Richmond Enquirer:
The most remarkable battle of the war has just been fought at this place.

It is the first time in the history of this war that three thousand men have resolved to make a stand against fifty thousand infantry, with an immense quantity of artillery and cavalry, together with a cooperating fleet of gunboats, carrying one hundred guns; and it is the first time, too, in the history of the war, that a land-force has unflinchingly withstood a terrible-gunboat fire for two days, lying motionless in the trenches, and receiving, at a distance of only two or three hundred yards, every shell, without being able to return a shot.

This stand was made not because we expected to be enabled, unassisted, to hold our position, but because we were hourly expected reenforcements, and because Lieut.-Gen. Holmes had telegraphed Brig.-General Churchill, commanding, to hold the position until all should be dead.

We have fought the whole Vicksburgh expedition, and we are now all prisoners of war; but not willingly, nor of our consent. We have been betrayed into the hands of our enemy.

Our gallant Gen. Churchill had determined to fight, and to fight to the last, and each man had made a solemn pledge to the General, and to each other, never to surrender, but to hold the Fort until all, all! should die. Every man knew that to conquer was impossible, but to die fighting for his country's honor, was a glorious privilege.

Oh! it was a sublime spectacle to behold our commander as he rode along that little line of devoted heroes, the Spartan glory that was reflected from face to face. Each and every man seemed to feel that it was indeed sweet to die for his country. There they stood, cheerfully awaiting the hour they should be called upon to yield their lives a willing sacrifice upon the altar of their country.

Oh! shall I ever forget the day when I rode down the lines and looked upon those faces! The enemy stood in their front, in line of battle, fifty thousand strong; one hundred guns were approaching them by water on the right; a large body of cavalry already encircled them in the rear. But there they stood, like martyrs, glorying in the prospect of proving their devotion to their principles, by yielding up their lives in maintaining them.

Before that hour I never knew what patriotism was. How dearly! how devotedly! I loved my country. I felt that each man before me was dearer than a brother, and to embrace him would be a blessing.

The thunders of the right announced that the struggle had commenced. I stood and watched it with eager interest. Boat after boat approached our little fort of three guns, and hurled upon it their angry bolts of metallic fury. But thunders answered thunders, and slowly and solemnly the little fort, with its three guns, poured out its vials of wrath upon the cowardly foe, clad in steel.

But it was of no avail. I saw gun after gun melt away, until none were left. Their boats passed us, but the Fort was not surrendered; for the fifty thousand had now advanced upon our whole line in front, and the small artillery from the Fort, and all along our line, were giving them the strength of Southern principles. Eight time they advanced upon us; as often they were repulsed, running and yelling like cowardly curs.

The battle rages furiously. All our guns are shattered, and every horse is killed. But that devoted band heeds it not, for they were there to die.

Their heroic General had told them in the morning: “Boys, let us whip them, or let us all die in the trenches.” And they had answered it with three long, loud cheers, and, “General, in the trenches we will die.”

The struggle is renewed: the thunders of a dozen batteries open on us in front, on the right, on the left, and in the rear. Still that little band stands unmoved, alike by the thunders of artillery as well as by the crashing of musketry.

A shout is heard. Churchill, who holds a charmed life amid a shower of bullets and shattering shell, raises his hat and shouts, “Boys, we are driving them,” and dashing forward, exclaims, “Come on!” and on we dashed. But alas! my God, shall I ever forget it?

A hundred flags of the hated despot were seen unfurled and floating upon the ramparts of our sacred fort, amid the exultant shouts of a cowardly foe. Oh! can the terrible vision be ever banished from my mind? My heart sank within me. [374]

To surrender to that flag? No! never!! never!!! We could not do it; and we did not do it. Some base traitor had denied our gallant leader the realization of his fondly cherished hope; and when he had but begun to prove how faithful he was to his promise to yield his and our lives rather than give up the Fort, this craven wretch raised that symbol of cowardice, the white flag, exclaiming at the same time: “General Churchill says, raise the white flag.” The enemy saw it, and, being near the lines, (before it could be arrested,) rushed into our Fort.

“ Treachery has done its work; and the gallant Churchill, who was so lately robbed of his most coveted privileges, beheld it like a broken-hearted hero, yet sublime in his mien, and appearing like some superior being amidst the multitude around him.”

We are now on our way to Yankeedom, but we are not conquered.

R. H. F.

1 Further reports of this engagement will be found in the Supplement.

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