War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0277 Chapter XXVII. PORT HUDSON, LA.

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Regiment, the remaining companies of this regiment being posted on the bluff as sharpshooters, but unfortunately the enemy did not come in near this bank until after passing them.

The five steamboats which had brought provisions from Red River were unloading until the morning of the battle and got under way in time to escape. The enemy's fleet advanced boldly, but were handsomely received by our batteries. The Harford, with the gunboat lashed to her, only succeeded in passing a little before 12; all the rest of the fleet were driven back and evidently much damaged. The Mississippi was burned immediately opposite, and the Richmond driven back after she had reached the Point.

The gallant conduct and skill of the men at the batteries are deserving of the highest praise. The cheerfulness of the whole command during this terrific bombardment and cannonading for three hours gives evidence of the stubborn resistance the enemy will meet in any attack on this Point.

The damage done to the enemy cannot be ascertained, but all could see vessel after vessel withdraw from the fight and one drifting down, and the enemy even discontinued the bombardment when his broadsides were out of range at about 2 a.m.

The enemy's land forces made an advance immediately after the naval fight, but again fell back a short distance and retreated on the afternoon and during the night of the 15th instant, with some appearance of disorder. His main body is over 15 miles from here. Yesterday he landed troops from four transports on the opposite side of the river, with the intention of making a line of communication above, as I am informed by deserters; but I have cut the levee, which will materially interrupt him.

My signal corps, under Captain Youngblood, has rendered the most important service, and, driven back from station to station, they will continued to send up messages and sent up rockets when the fleet advanced.

I regret to state that Captain Youngblood and perhaps four others have been captured on the other side of the river.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANK. GARDNER,

Major-General.

Lieutenant Col. J. R. WADDY, Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Port Hudson, March 21, 1863.

SIR: I deem it my duty to state that I have inadvertently omitted in my official report of the engagement at this place to mention the just praise that is due to Lieutenant Col. M. J. Smith, as chief of heavy artillery. I therefore request that the following may be added:

The conduct of Lieutenant Col. M. J. Smith, as chief of heavy artillery, during the engagement, is deserving of the highest commendation. He was present in the batteries during the whole time, and directed the firing with conspicuous coolness, skill, and energy, having previously arranged the ammunition and given full instructions in reference to the firing at each gun.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANK. GARDNER,

Major-General.

Lieutenant Col. J. R. WADDY, A. A. G., Jackson, Miss.