by a simultaneous attack from the river. All damages sustained by the Arkansas from the fleets of the enemy had been repaired, and
when she left the wharf at Vicksburg for Baton Rogue she was deemed to be as formidable in attack or defense as when she defied a fleet of forty vessels of war, many of them iron-clads. With such effective means I deemed the taking of Baton Rouge and the destruction or capture of the enemy on land and water the reasonable result of the expedition.
By epidemic disease the land force under Major-General Breckinridge was reduced to less than 3,000 effective men within the period of tend days after he reached Camp Moore. The Arkansas, after arriving within a short distance of Baton Rouge in ample time for joint action at the appointed hour of attack, suddenly became unmanageable from a failure in her machinery and engine, which all the efforts of her engineers could not repair. The gallant Breckinridge, advised by telegram every hour of her progress toward Baton Rouge and counting on her co-operation, attacked the enemy with his whole effective force (then reduced to about 2,500 men), drove him from all his positions, and forced him to seek protection under the cover of his gunboats.
I regret to state that the labors of General Breckinridge in a distant field of operations have thus far prevented him from making to me a report of his action, but enough has transpired to enable me to assure the Department that the battle of Baton Rouge illustrated the valor of our troops and the skill and intrepidity of their commander. His report will be forwarded so soon as it is received.
It will be thus manifest to the Department that an enterprise so hopeful in its promise met with partial only from causes which were not only beyond my control, but out of the reach of ordinary foresight. I could not anticipate the sudden illness of 3,000 picked men, and the failure of the Arkansas at the critical hour appointed to her for added honors was a joyful surprise to the startled fleet of the enemy and a wonder to all who had witnessed her glory at Vicksburg.
Advised of the result of the expedition, I immediately ordered the occupation of Port Hudson, a point selected for its eligibility for defense and for its capacity for offensive annoyance of the enemy-established batteries-manned them with experienced gunners and guarded them by an adequate supporting force, holding Baton Rouge in the mean while in menace. The effect of these operations was the evacuation of Baton Rouge by the enemy and his disappearance from the Mississippi between the capital of Louisiana and Vicksburg. The results sought by the movement against Baton Rouge have been to a great extent attained. We hold two points on the Mississippi, more than 200 miles, unmolested by the enemy and closed to him. The navigation of the Mississippi River from the mouth of Red River to Vicksburg was at once opened and still remains open to our commerce, giving us also the important advantage of water connection by Red River of the East with the West. Indispensable supplies have been and continue to be drawn from this source. The desired facilities for communication and co-operation between this district and the Trans-Mississippi Department have been established. The recapture of New Orleans has been made easier to our army.
I think it due to the truth of history to correct the error industriously spread by the official reports of the enemy touching the destruction of the Arkansas. She was no trophy won by the Essex no did she receive injury at Baton Rouge from the hands of any of her adver-
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