War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0398 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter

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number, were under charge of Lieutenant Jacob Culbertson, Regular C. S. Army, who had already drilled three infantry companies (Captains Beaumont's, Bidwell's, and Graham's) to them, as I was informed. We were all placed under command of Captain Dixon.

We drilled diligently that evening and had commenced again the following morning, when Lieutenant Beford suddenly informed me that the gunboats were coming, and we set to work to prepare for them. I felt the necessity of taking charge of the rifle personally. Lieutenants Sparkman and Bedford, the latter of another company, superintended the 10-inch columbiad. The extreme view of the river was distant two miles and one-fourth. A single gunboat anchored at this point and opened upon us with 10-inch shells and 8-inch Parrott rifles, elongated. We replied only with the rifle, and by using great pains succeeded in striking much more frequently than we expected. We thought the object of this boat was to try our range and to find and dismount our guns. We exchanged some dozens of shots, when she drew off, with no damage done to us at all, though all her shot reached us easily. This was considered remarkable, as we had no covering overhead and moderately high epaulements. A respectable citizen, from in view of the boat below the bend, sent us up work that this boat was taken off in a sinking condition between two other boats, but that she could not be kept up and that he saw her sink finally. We could not know and hesitated to believe in such good news. The columbiad was fired a few times, and Lieutenant Sparkman thought with effect. Our balls could be heard to strike with tolerable distinctness. This was on Wednesday, 12th.

On the day following another boat came in view about 9 a. m., and fired terrifically with large Parrott projectiles, evidently with the object of dismounting our two heavy guns. One of these entered the embrasure of a 32-pounder, dismounted the gun by knocking off the cheek of the carriage, out of which flew a short screw-bolt that killed Captain Dixon. This caused universal regret, and was our only casualty, very strange to say, during the whole of the bombardment. We returned here fire with great vigor from the rifle, firing and as often as the heat of the gun would allow. During this hour and forty minutes' cannonade 14 of her balls were collected in the battery within the narrow radius of as many yards. The columbiads (10-inch) also aided with vigor.

Still another boat repeated this movement in the evening, but she soon appeared to be in distress and finally dropped down.

I visited Dover about dark and there heard the rumor from almost every one that these two boats were badly crippled or sunk; but as it came from citizens we did not rely upon it.

After Captain Dixon was killed General Floyd (now arrived) sent an aide to Colonel Bailey to place the next in rank in command. Being the only artillery captain, I was notified that it devolved on me, but found no necessity nor had any desire to take any authority over so accomplished an officer as Major Culbertson, as we called him, and continued virtually as before.

It was seldom that the rifle missed now, we supposed, as we could tell by the spray to the right or left when we did not strike. The land engagement generally went on with that of the gunboats. Rain and snow and a final freeze of the same rendered this a dangerous night for the gunboats passing in obscurity. We therefore masked for night firing and fired at intervals.

It is due Colonel J. E. Bailey and his lamented lieutenant-colonel (Robb) to say that they worked with their regiment (Forty-ninth Tennessee) night and day, remaining much of their time with us at night, thus encouraging us to persevere; also that they cooked our rations for us and sent