previous next

The War in the West.

Affairs at Fort Pillow--news from Nashville — the mutiny at Clarksville — operations of the enemy in North Alabama--Island no.10, &c., &c.

[Special correspondence of the Dispatch.]

Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, A. M. April 27, 1862.
Our latest news from Fort Pillow is by an arrival last night. The enemy have in the vicinity seven gun and three mortar boats, and did have on Saturday twenty-six transports field with troops, but these were disappearing in the distance up the river, it is supposed for the purpose of throwing a body down the Tennessee and into Nashville, sundry disturbances having taken place there which make their presence necessary. The distance of the gunboats from the fort is from three and a half to four miles, estimating the time between the flash of their guns and the bursting of their shells-say, about fifteen seconds. On Friday night they threw nine bombs after ten o'clock, but on Saturday their was no firing. Not the slightest effect from these missiles has yet been experienced. Of the position of our own gunboats, it is unwise to say anything, but you may rest assured they are in their proper places.

The opinion is gaining ground daily that the enemy will not attempt to run by Fort Pillow, as they did past our batteries on Island No.10, until an attack has proved successful in the rear. This is likely to be prevented.--The experience with our heavy guns during the long bombardment of twenty-eight days, demonstrates beyond a doubt that our land batteries, ably and boldly managed, are more than a match for their heaviest plated gunboats. Hall after ball was thrown into the latter at long range, and it is not likely that they will venture closer than they are actually compelled to do, for the purpose of breaching or silencing our guns. We have on Fort Pillow several weapons that have not as yet opened their mouths, and when they do, it will doubtless be tore-enact the story of Fort Donelson, and the confusion of the swarm of hell bees, which made their futile experiment to the end of its reduction. Even should the darkness of night favor a secret and sudden passage of one or two, it would be a foolhardy and unmilitary movement, which would leave an unconquered fortress in the rear.--Transports could never get by, and one or a half a dozen gunboats would be sure to fall a prey to their temerity.

We have also late, if not fresh, news from Nashville. Three gentlemen who have just arrived from there bring concurrent reports to the effect that the city is comparatively in a state of insubordination. The Mayor and many of the prominent citizens have been imprisoned, and Andy Johnson rules with an iron hand. Much excitement exists in anticipation of a threatened Confederate advance supposed to be on the tapis, led by Generals Kirby Smith and Humphrey Marshall. A thousand Federal troops only are said to be in Nashville, besides those who are sick; and in view of the apprehended danger, and inadequate means of defence, all the cotton was being removed, sutlers were selling out their stock at any price, and commissaries were giving away Government stores.

At Clarksville, a mutiny or rebellion had taken place in a Kentucky regiment, owing to their dissatisfaction with the emancipating policy of the Federal Government; and an Indiana regiment being-ordered out to suppress it, the former fired upon the latter, killing twenty and wounding a great number.--My informant conversed with the gentleman who saw the bodies of the dead.

Affairs at Huntsville remain quiet, though the enemy were extending their line along the railroad at various points. It is variously estimated that they have captured from fifteen to twenty-two engines, which it is supposed they will run up to Nashville, by way of Decatur. The passengers on the captured train attired in civil garb were allowed to go free. Those in uniforms were detained Among these were two express messengers, Messrs. Bell and Symes, who wore the uniforms of their Georgia companies. The mail agent escaped by leaping from the opposite side of the car and mingling with the passengers.

The report of Gen. Pope concerning the capture of Island No.10 has been published in Northern papers with the usual brazen blast of trumpets. He clams to have taken over one hundred guns, a large amount of ammunition of a superior quality, three hundred bags of coffee, and an immense amount of commissary stores, from which the Federal army are now drawing their rations. He says, further, that he cut a canal six miles long around the island from above, four miles of which was through a heavy forest, and sawed off the trees four feet under water. He reports his capture of troops to be fragmentary portions of seven regiments, namely:

The 1st Alabama, Colonel Stedman.

Col. Alex Brown's regiment, Tennessee.

Colonel Baker's, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Col. Clark's Tennessee.

Col. Marsh Walker's Arkansas, 40th Confederate regiment.

Col. Smith's Arkansas.

Col. Terry's battalion, Arkansas.

The total number taken is not far from eighteen hundred.

He describes our guns as being but indifferently spiked; but we may say the same of Yankee work in this respect. Modern appliances for the removal of spikes are so ingenious that a single night or day will suffice to withdraw any number, and this fact is therefore no reasonable indication of carelessness or ignorance.

The floating battery, which we supposed fully scuttled, proved to be only partially so, and has been recovered by the Yankees with its eight noble guns. The same may be said of two of the transports.

The question was put to one of the officers on the island and in the batteries, why he did not destroy the guns by knocking off their trunnions or axles? The reply was, that the Federal gunboats lay only a mile below, watching every movement, and before the work could have been accomplished they would have been upon them and captured the army and everything else en masse

Among the articles brought from Fort Pillow by the messenger to whom I above alluded, are the sills of a miniature ‘"dug-out,"’ which some of the Federal sailors sportively started down the river. Upon one of the sticks composing the masts was fastened a note with the following words upon it:

"Commodore Montgomery !

Stand from under ! We're Coming !"

The paper sails are infinitesimal fragments of a ‘"Philadelphia Press,"’ and after a deal of deciphering I made out the following, the exultant heading in large caps of the news of the recent battle:

Victory ! Victory !--Greatest Battle of the War !!--Contest at Pittsburg Landing--Two Days Desperate Fighting !--Able Generalship on Both Sides — The Battle Commenced by Prentiss's Division — The Odds Against us Fearful !--Grant Incites his Troops to Firmness !!--Our Gunboats Shell the Rebel Trains — Terrible Resistance of the Enemy--General Buell arrives with Reinforcements--Gen. Grant Leads a Charge !--The Rebels Routed and in Full Retreat on Corinth — Their Loss about 35,000 !!!-- Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston Killed !!--Beauregard's Arm Shot Off !!!-- Federal Loss between 16 and 20,000 !

Among the items which ensue, it is stated with great gusto that Gen. Grant several times got within range of the enemy's guns, and was fired upon. Capt. Carson, a staff officer, had his head shot off.

‘" Gen. Sherman had two horses killed under him. General Buell remained with his troops day and night, and he and Gen. Crittenden and Bull Nelson rede along the lines, encouraging our men."’

On another portion of this morceaux of intelligence is the following editorial tribunes:

‘"As the red wave of rebellion retires from the Border States, it will settle at last upon the plantations of the Slidells and the Yanceys. As they began this conflict, let them see and feel its last bitter, bloody consequences. As they sowed the storm, they should reap the whirlwind. But there is a more eloquent teaching than this in the forward march of our brave men into the Cotton States. They advance to pursue and punish the desperate and remorseless assassins of the peace of the land; but they advance also to give food and safety to the people they have starved, plundered, and oppressed. Wherever the old flag has been replanted in the South, it has produced an almost instantaneous harvest of benefits to the community. The forerunner of vengeance upon the satanic tyrants of the rebellion, it is the emblem of peace and protection to their victims. Marvellous, most marvellous, to the temper of our soldiers, as they appear among these people. The armies of the Republic find the Southern people plunged in the deepest misery, and they lift them into a new world of light and hops."’

Such is a specimen of the rhetorical finishes, the Bombastes Ferritic mingling of canto and falsehood with which the Northern people are deluded, and driven to the ulterior measures which really constitute the backbone of the Federal Administration. Their words are sweet as honey in the rocks, but their acts are bitter as gall and cruel as a tyrant's.

Upon the same ‘"sail"’ is a part of a letter from Fortress Monroe, in which I find the following ‘"good one"’ concerning General Wool:

"There is a story going the rounds here concerning a certain — General,--who is — pious enough in character, but on certain occasions when his ‘'dander is up, '’ can do full justice to his feelings by ‘'giving them mouth.'’ --When the Merrimac came down, the General was all emotion, and so highly excited that now and then he eased his feelings by certain forcible ejaculations. A contraband, who

heard him, gives a very good description of how ‘'de ole man'’ moved around in the midst of the storm of shells. ‘'By golly, boys,'’ said he; ‘'but de way de ole Mass'’ General move about day-to-day, were a caution. He went dis way and dat way; he went heah, au he went dar; and den to hear de ole Mass' Gineral swar ! Boss, its de solum troof, but de way de old man swar sounded to dis chife plum like mighty good preachin' in camp meeting ‘'time.' "’

Weather in Memphis horrible. Four days of cold, misty, drizling rain have already swept by, a fifth is at hand; fires are at a discount, and the people look as grim and disconsolate as if they were wrapped in a wet blanket. For a week there hasn't been sunshine enough to dry a shirt. Mud four inches deep and rising. Quel Qu'un.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Kirby Smith (2)
Buell (2)
Wool (1)
Marsh Walker (1)
Terry (1)
Symes (1)
Stedman (1)
Sherman (1)
Prentiss (1)
Pope (1)
Bull Nelson (1)
Montgomery (1)
Humphrey Marshall (1)
Grant Leads (1)
Albert Sidney Johnston Killed (1)
Andy Johnson (1)
Hall (1)
Grant (1)
Crittenden (1)
Clark (1)
Carson (1)
Alex Brown (1)
Bell (1)
Beauregard (1)
Baker (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 27th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: