War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0721 Chapter XXIX. ARKANSAS POST.

Search Civil War Official Records

At 6.30 p.m. I ordered a return, and at 10 p.m. arrived at this place.

I have the honor of submitting the above report, and cannot pass without expressing my admiration for the excellent discipline of the Fifty-seventh Ohio Volunteers, and particularly for the activity of Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, who is an excellent officer of great merit.

I have the honor to be, dear major, your obedient servant,

W. STEWART,

Colonel and Chief of Cavalry.

Major A. SCHWARTZ,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 4.

Report of Brigadier General George W. Morgan, U. S. Army, commanding Thirteenth Army Corps.

HDQRS. THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, U. S. FORCES,

Steamer Empress, January 17, 1863.

SIR: Post Arkansas is situated on a bluff 25 feet above the water, on the left bank of the Arkansas and 50 miles from its mouth. Upon this bluff was constructed a star fort, with four bastions, upon a square of 300 feet. The fort (since destroyed by order of Major-General McClernand) was a little above the bend and oblique to the river, facing southwest and northeast. On the southern face were two strongly-constructed casemated works, revetted with iron bars. Each casemate contained one 9-inch gun, and both commanded the approach from down the river. In the southwestern bastion was another 9-inch traverse gun en barbette. Within the fort were ten other guns en barbette, and during the action of the 11th instant seven of the thirteen guns were entirely destroyed by the combined fire of the gunboats and four 29-pounders of Foster's battery, of Osterhaus' division, which opened upon the fort at a range of 800 yards. Fragments of shell, both from the gunboats and 20-pounders, were found in the casemates, and one of the 9-inch guns bore upon its broken muzzle the impress of a 20-pounder shot.

The field upon which the action of the 11th instant was fought is a parallelogram, of about 1,000 yards square. The southern face rests upon the river; the east or northeast is formed of the east face of the fort and a broken line of rifle-pits, protected by hastily-constructed wooden traverses, and running for 720 yards in a northwesterly direction toward a small bayou, which, on the day of battle, was 12 feet wide and 18 inches deep, and across which were several easy fords. From the extreme left of the enemy's line the field is bounded by this bayou, which runs first westerly and then southerly to the river. Across the bayou, beyond the extreme left of the enemy's line, is a forest of undergrowth, amid which is a slight elevation, which flanks the line occupied by the enemy. Had General Sherman succeeded in turning the enemy's left, as contemplated by General McClernand's original plan, and a battery been planted upon the elevation, it would have enfiladed the enemy's line of rifle-pits and driven him from his cover in twenty minutes.

It is proper that I should speak of the first line of the enemy's defense. About 1 1/2 miles below the fort is a levee, running from the river to the bayou, and which presents a convex line to our advance. The levee

46 R R-VOL XVII