War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0705 Chapter XXIX. ARKANSAS POST.

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guns, Lieutenant Webster commanding, was posted by General Osterhaus near the river bank, within 800 yards of the fort, concealed by fallen trees from the view of the enemy, while two sections of the Illinois Mercantile Battery were masked and held by the same officer in reserve. The Seventh Michigan Battery, Captain Lanphere commanding, remained with Colonel De Courcy. Two 20-pounder Parrotts, of the First Wisconsin Battery, Captain Foster commanding, and a section of the Illinois Mercantile Battery, under Lieutenant Wilson, were with colonel Lindsey. The cavalry were disposed in the rear, under orders to force stragglers to return to their ranks.

Such was the disposition of the forces under my command on the eve of the battle of the Arkansas. On the other hand, the position of the enemy, naturally strong, was one of his own choosing.

Post Arkansas, a small village, the capital of Arkansas County, is situated on elevated ground, above the reach of floods, and defining for some miles the left bank of the river. It was settled by the French in 1685; is 50 miles above the mouth of the river, 117 miles below Little Rock, and is surrounded by a fruitful country, abounding in cattle, corn, and cotton.

Fort Hindman, a square, full-bastioned fort, was erected within this village, upon the bank of the river, at the head of a bend resembling a horseshoe. The exterior sides of the fort, between the salient angles, were each 300 feet in length; the faces of the bastions two-sevenths of an exterior side and the perpendiculars one-eighth. The parapet was 18 feet wide on the top, the ditch 20 feet wide on the ground level, and 8 feet deep, with a slope of 4 feet base. A banquette for infantry was constructed around the interior slope of the parapet; also three platforms for artillery in each bastion and one in the curtain facing north. on the southern face of the northeastern bastion was a casemate 18 by 15 feet wide and 7 1/2 feet high in the clear, the walls of which were constructed of three thicknesses of oak timber 16 inches square, and so the roof with an additional revetment of iron bars. One of the shorter sides of the casemate was inserted in the parapet and was pierced by an embrasure 3 feet 8 inches on the inside and 4 feet 6 inches on the outside, the entrance being in the opposite wall. This casemate contained a 9-inch columbiad. A similar casemate was constructed in the curtain facing the river, containing an 8-inch columbiad, and still another 9-inch columbiad was mounted in the salient angle of the southeastern bastion on a center-pintle barbette carriage. All of these guns commanded the river below the fort. Beside these there were four 3-inch Parrott guns and four 6-pounder iron smooth-bore guns mounted on field carriages on the platforms in the fort which also contained a well-stored magazine, several frame buildings, and a well. The entrance to the fort, secured by a traverse, was on its northwestern side, and from the salient angle of the northwestern bastion extended a broken line of rifle-pits westerly for 720 yards toward the bayou, intersected by wooden traverses. Along the line of rifle-pits six field pieces were mounted, of which three were rifled.

Although the neighboring bridge across the bayou had been partially destroyed, yet the latter was passable at several points. Below the fort occur the rifle-pits and levee before mentioned. The levee exposed a convex line to our advance; was pierced for ten guns and lined on the inside by rifle-pits. The second line of rifle-pits, with intervals left for six guns, extended across the night land from the river to the swamp, its near approach being obstructed by an abatis of fallen timber; and still nearer the fort was a deep ravine entering the river at right angles