eighteenth Illinois Infantry in double column in second line, formed in connection with General Smith's division, supporting my artillery. My immediate front was secured by a strong line of skirmishers from the One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Infantry. Some fallen timber and a quantity of brush-work, collected by my directions, completely concealed the battery of 20-pounder Parrott guns from the enemy. I ordered Lieutenant Webster, in charge of the Parrott guns, to open fire against the two faces of the bastion and against the casemate, which appeared to be very strong, being covered with railroad iron.
The signal for attack (one shot from the advancing gunboat fleet) was given a little after noon, and Lieutenant Webster, immediately opened fire. The effect of the 20-pounder Parrott guns (I saw them in action for the first time) was splendid. They enfiladed the two faces of the bastion completely, and a great many shot struck the embrasure of the casemate as well as the iron-covered roof, every round being exceedingly destructive. The 64-pounder gun in the casemate was soon silenced, as well as a lighter gun on the curtain. Another piece, a 64-pounder, mounted en barbette on the river front of the fort, appeared to be very troublesome to the gunboat fleet, and beyond their range, or, rather elevation. I therefore ordered Lieutenant Webster to direct the fire of one of his pieces against the barbette gun. After six shots the piece was silenced and the enemy's artillerists, who were exposed to the severe fire of the entire gunboat fleet, deserted the rampart.
This cannonade lasted fully two hours, during the whole of which time I was near Lieutenant Webster's section of artillery, my presence not being necessary at any other place, and I consider it my duty to state that I never saw a better officer or better men serving artillery. Cool, deliberate, and intrepid, they sent their deadly shot against the enemy's stronghold, their commander controlling every round and its effect, the men quietly obeying his orders without the very superfluous hazing and yelling, which is incompatible with the dignity of the arm of artillery. I heartily congratulate Lieutenant Webster and his men on their great success. The reduction of the lower casemate and the silencing of three or four formidable guns are their exclusive merit.
By 2 o'clock I considered it practicable to move my infantry forward and also bring the battery of Captain Cooley, who was impatiently waiting for his share of the strife, into action. The necessary orders were promptly executed; the battery of Captain Cooley was placed in position behind the crest of an eminence, within 200 yards of the enemy's rifle-pits, connected with the bastion in my front; the One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Infantry deployed in line of battle on the right and the One hundred and twentieth Ohio Infantry in double column on the left of the battery, both with skirmishers thrown out; the Sixty-ninth Indiana was kept as a reserve. Both artillery and infantry were under a galling fire of the enemy's musketry. Captain Cooley opened on them with great effect, cleaning the rifle-pits in his front out entirely; so much so that after a very short period, and after shilting one section of the battery a little to the left, in order to enfilade the enemy's works more completely, I could order the One hundred and twentieth Ohio Infantry to charge. They went on gallantly to the very ditch of the fort, but unfortunately the ditch opens here into a very deep gully, making a crossing impossible. To march by the right flank would have been too hazardous as yet, and I had to leave these gallant men for the present on the threshold of the fort. The artillery kept playing on the works; one gun after another of the enemy ceased firing; even their musketry became more feeble, while our fire-line was closing on them nearer and nearer.