War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0524 OPERATIONS IN W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,AND LA. Chapter XVI.

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the principal part of the day in firing grape and canister and in shelling the woods to drive them out. This was repeated the following day, the enemy not coming within range or sight of the forts, but confining himself to shelling the woods below. The sharpshooters were all driven out by this second day's firing. Our telegraphic communication below was also broken up, as the wires were removed and many of the posts cut and torn down by the enemy.

There being no other point above or below where the sharpshooters could profitably act in that capacity, and as many of them were unfit for duty from exposure, I deemed it advisable to dispense with their services and send them to the city, which was accordingly done.

It being of the highest importance, however, to keep up the telegraphic connection below, Lieutenant T. J. Royster, company of sappers and miners Twenty-second Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, volunteered his services, with 15 men of his company, to asct as sharpshooters in pirogues, and cover the operator in repairing the line and re-establishing the connection with the forts above as well as to annoy the enemy.

This also failed from the great difficulty of managing the pirogues effectively in the dense undergrowth of the swampy woods below, and the telegraph and the sharpshooters had to be abandoned in consequence.

April 15.-The enemy brought up his whole fleet, extending the same from the Head of the Passes to the point of woods below the forts.

Orders were repeatedly given to Captain Stephenson, of the river fleet, to cause the fire barges to be sent down nightly upon the enemy; but every attempt seemed to prove a perfect abortion, the barges being cut adrift too soon, so that they drifted against the banks directly under the forts, firing our wharves and lighting us up, but obscuring the position of the enemy. In consequence, I turned the control of them, as well as the boats employed to tow them into the stream, over to Captain Renshaw, the senior naval officer present. I also directed Captains Kennon and Grant to report to him for orders, as I found great difficulty in communicating with or controlling the vessels afloat, and directed Captain Stephenson, with his four boats, to co-operate with Captain Renshaw in every possible way. These boats of the river fleet, it seemed, could not be turned over directly to the immediate command of naval officers, owing to certain conditions imposed by the Navy Department.

April 16.-From 7.30 a. m. the enemy's gunboats came around the point repeatedly for observation, but were invariably forced to retire by our fire. In the mean time he was locating the position of the mortar flotilla, composed of twenty-one schooners, each mounting one 13-inch mortar and other guns, close against the bank on the Fort Jackson side and behind the point of woods.

At 4.15 p. m. the enemy ran out a gunboat and fired upon the fort, under the cover of which two of the mortar-boats were brought out into the stream.

These boats opened fire upon Fort Jackson at 5 p. m., which was continued for an hour and a half, the enemy under our fire retiring behind the point of woods.

April 17.-One fire barge sent down successfully against the enemy at 4 a. m., which drifted in among his vessels and was fired upon by them, creating considerable movement and perturbation.

During the day Captains Renshaw, Beverly Kennon, Grant, Stephenson, and Hooper passed in turns with their boats below the raft,