A correspondent of the Memphis Appeal
, writing from Camp Londell, Miss., Sept. 17th, furnishes the following:
Last Sunday, the 14th inst., will be a day long to be remembered by the citizens of this vicinity.--About 3½ o'clock P. M. the pickets in the courthouse at Prentiss, Bolivar county, Miss.
, discovered the smoke of boats up the river, which was evidently coming down.
A courier was immediately dispatched to Capt. C. R. Moyson
, commanding a detached squadron, consisting of company E, Capt. Moyson
's own company, with detachments from companies A and B, Starnes
's cavalry, informing him of the near approach of the enemy's fleet.--Immediately upon the captain's receiving the information, ‘"boots and saddles"’ were sounding, when the command marched to the river, just below General Charles Clark
's plantation, and concealed themselves in a grove of timber, and quietly awaited the arrival of the foe. They were not long kept in suspense, for about five o'clock P. M., one gunboat passed them without interruption, then came a transport, on which no troops were to be seen.
She, too, passed unmolested.
Then here came a transport literally covered and filled with Hessians.
As she got precisely opposite our force, Captain Moyson
, in a loud and distinct voice, gave the command ‘"fire,"’ which was responded to by a volley from the entire squadron, some of them loading and firing the second time.--The enemy returned some fires from the boat, but with no effect.
A retreat by our forces was then ordered, as nothing more could be accomplished by remaining in our present position.
fell back to a convenient and safe place to watch the movements of the enemy It was expected they would drop down to Prentiss
about one mile, and land there forces.
A strong picket guard was therefore kept as near them as was deemed expedient, in order that every movement might be discovered, and timely preparations accordingly made to give them an appropriate reception in case they should see fit to pay us a passing visit But to, and behold, our surprise when their true object was discovered, which was fully developed about dusk, in the burning of the town of Prentiss
without leaving a house.--After Capt. Moyson
fired, the gunboat ‘"Q,"’ which had nearly reached Prentiss
, turned and went back to the assistance of the transports, when she commenced a furious shelling of the whole country around town, which was kept up until about dark, when they landed opposite Prentiss
, sent out a flag of truce, telling the people (who consisted principally of helpless women and children) that they had thirty minutes to leave the town.
The ladies met the officer bearing the flag, and begged for more time, but he positively refused any longer time, and told them they would not be permitted to re-enter their houses to get a single article.
Thus they had to leave their much loved homes, without taking a single article except what they had on their persons.
At the expiration of the thirty minutes they commenced plundering the houses, and after taking away everything they wanted, they set fire to the whole town.
They also fired the Court-House
The only prisoner in jail was a negro of Captain Lee
's, of the steamer Kentucky
, who had been caught in attempting to get to the Yankees
They burnt him alive in the jail.
Thus, Monday morning last the sun rose to find the little town of Prentiss
The enemy's fleet lay at the landing all night, and the town was set on fire.
No more disturbance was made during the remainder of the night.
had the place besieged all night, ready to attack them in case they should leave their boats far enough to give him a chance at them.
This, I am sorry to say, they did not do.
Our forces remained near town all day Monday until they left, which was about 12 o'clock. About 8 o'clock Monday morning their boats moved up the river, nearly opposite the residence of Mrs. Coffee
, and landed a small force, and sent them to burn her residence, which they did in the most infamous manner possible.
Her residence is only a quarter of a mile above Prentiss
When they came to Mrs. Coffee
's they found no one there but two negroes — an old negro man and a boy. They put their bayonets against the negroes and demanded them to tell where their mistress's money was burled.
Upon being informed that she had none buried about there to their knowledge, they ordered the negroes on board their boats, which order they both positively refused to obey, and after some little parleying the negroes were permitted to remain.
They told the negroes the reason they did the burning was because they had been fired into by the damned ‘"secesh,"’ and three of their men killed, among them a fine officer, and seven wounded.--During the morning they buried two opposite Mrs. Coffee
's, on the bank of the river, one a corporal, the other a private, both members of the 33d regiment Illinois volunteers.
During the night (Sunday) a gunboat that had gone down to Vicksburg
some time since, under a flag of truce, came up and acted next morning in harmony with the others; hauling down during the night her flag of truce which she came up with.
I do not know the name of this boat, but she was marked ‘"L."’
When they left Prentiss
they crossed over to Napoleon
They told the people there that they had three men killed; and among them one of their best officers, and seven wounded. It is believed they sent their dead officer and wounded up on the gunboat L, which went up when the others went down.
This regiment (33d Illinois) have rendered themselves in Coahoma county
notorious for plundering.
They seem to be nothing but a band of robbers and thieves, whose only object is to steal and burn where they go. They showed no inclination whatever to fight while at Prentiss
, and seemed only bent upon burning and robbing.