War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0016 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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the West, entered the Mississippi, and on the memorable morning of July 15 immortalized his single vessel, himself, and the heroes under his command by an achievement the most brilliant ever recorded in naval annals. I deeply regret that I am unable to enrich my report by an authentic account of the heroic action of the officers and men of the Arkansas. Commodore [Wm. F.] Lynch declines to furnish me with a report of the action, on the ground that he was an officer out of the scope of my command. The glory of this deed of the Arkansas stung the pride of the Federal Navy, and led to the most speedy but unsuccessful effort of the combined fleets to destroy her. I refer the Department to the accompanying report of General Smith for an accurate detail of those efforts, as also for a connected and faithful relation of the important events which make the history of the siege and defense of Vicksburg. With the failure to destroy or take the Arkansas the siege of Vicksburg practically ended. The attack on the batteries soon ceased, and the enemy, baffled and enraged by an unexpected, determined, and persistent defense, vented his wrath in impotent and barbarian efforts to destroy the city. On July 27 both fleets disappeared-foiled in a more than two months' struggle to reduce the place.

The casualties on our side during the entire siege were 22 killed and wounded. Not a gun was dismounted and but two were temporarily disabled.

The successful defense of Vicksburg is due to the unflinching valor of the cannoneers, who,unwearied by watchfulness, night and day stood by their guns, unawed by the terrors of a fierce and continuous bombardment to the sleepless vigilance and undaunted courage of the troops, who lay at all hours in close supporting distance of every battery, ready to beat back the invader so soon as his footsteps should touch the shore; to the skillful location of scattered batteries, and last, but not least, to that great moral power-a high and patriotic resolve, pervading and swelling the breasts of officers, soldiers and citizens- that at every cost the enemy should be repelled. I refer the Department to the specific enumeration of the names of officers and men who won distinction by meritorious service during the siege, as reported by General Smith and I heartily indorse his commendations.

Satisfied that the enemy disappeared from Vicksburg under the mortifying conviction that it was impregnable to his attack, I resolved to strike a blow before he had time to organize and mature a new scheme of assault.

The enemy held Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, 40 miles below the mouth of Red River with a land force of about 3,500 men, in conjunction with four or five gunboats and some transports. It was a matter of great necessity to us that the navigation of Red River should be opened as high as Vicksburg. Supplies much needed existed there, hard to be obtained from any other quarter, and strong military reasons demanded that we should hold the Mississippi at two points, to facilitate communications and co-operation between my district and the Trans-Mississippi Department. The capture of Baton Rouge and the forces of the enemy at that point would open the Mississippi secure the navigation of Red River, then in a state of blockade, and also render easier the recapture of New Orleans. To this end I gave orders to General Breckinridge to move upon Baton Rouge with a force of 5,000 men picked from the troops at Vicksburg, and added to his command the whole effective force of General Ruggles, then at Camp Moore, making as total force of 6,000 men. To insure the success of the plan I ordered the Arkansas to co-operate with the land forces