War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0945 Chapter XXIII. ATTACK ON UNION SHIPPING.

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fully as possible, special examinations of their respective localities and to adjust guide posts for pointing their guns.

By 6 p. m. the column was in motion, utmost silence being enjoined upon all. Dark came early and was very intense by reason of general cloud and rain, yet thought this and along the difficult route the whole moved successfully under the skillful guidance of patriotic citizens familiar with the region.

At midnight the signal gun was to fire. It was, however, 12.30 before all was ready at Coggins Point, where my own position had been chosen. Then, just after the cry from the enemy's sentinels "All's well," the fire was ordered, and the whole line instantly pealed forth in all the terribleness of midnight surprise. Lights were glimmering on shipboard along the entire shore opposite, yet on the river and in the camp beyond the stillness of sleep prevailed.

To be compelled, resisting outrage, to meet our fellow-men in deadly shock cannot but be, under any circumstances, painful to a Christian mind. Especially is the trial grevious when we must be slain by or slay those who so lately were our countrymen, but who, having trampled upon our rights, now seek to desolate our homes, appropriate our soil, kill off our young men, degrade our women, and subdue us into abject submission to their will, because we claim, under our own Government, exemption from their insults and their control. And still more distressing to find requisite toward contributing to avert the ruin threatened by malignant millions thus to send the sleeping, however unprepared, to their great account. But painful as it is, just as to snatch life from an assassin whose arm is uplifted against our best beloved, most sacred is the duty. As such was this attack made, the issue being committed to unerring wisdom. Such considerations imparted a mournful solemnity to the scene, share so many sudden flashes through thick and multiplied reverberations startling profound stillness constituted elements of grandeur rarely combined. Not to give the enemy time to bring to bear against us in so exposed a position many of his powerful guns from his boats of his land batteries I had limited the nearest pieces to 20 rounds each and those more remote on the right and left to 30 rounds. These were generally fired, making probably 1,000 shots in all, and the pieces limbered and quietly taken to the rear.

When we had been firing about fifteen minutes large shells began to be returned from the other side, some apparently from gunboats and some from the land, but with scarcely any damage to us. The two guns of Captain Dance, most of all exposed, having been taken down a ravine to the river's edge, within 600 or 800 yards of a number of vessels, were, under admirable management withdrawn without a scratch, after firing their allotted rounds; nor was injury received from the enemy at a single one of our field guns. A good many shells flew over us, and seemed well aimed along the general course we had to take; but they passed beyond of fell short, or when the ground turned us to the right or left they deviated the other way. These occurrences, and the remarkable had to pass a rocky hill likely to occasion great noise the heaviest rain fell and drowned the rattling of wheels, &c., made upon many the salutary impression that a kind Providence favored our enterprise.

Forty-One out of the 43 guns enumerated were brought into action, it being deemed imprudent to crowd more in the space, and the two heav-

60 R R-VOL XI, PT II