War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0791 Chapter XXIX. ARKANSAS POST

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About 8 o'clock a.m. on the 10th, the enemy commenced a desultory artillery fire from their gunboats at a distance of probably a mile, firing at such pieces of Hart's battery as were exposed to view, and also at such persons as they could see about the trench, the right of which resting on the river bank was exposed to their view. This occasional cannonading was kept up until about 12 to 1 p.m., fortunately without causing any casualties in my brigade. At this time I received an order from you to fall back with my brigade to the fort, following Garland's brigade, as it was understood that the enemy were flanking us by a route through the swamp to our left. By direction of the general I left a battalion of five companies of the Tenth Texas, under command of Lieutenant Colonel R. B. Young, to strengthen the line of skirmishers covering our retreat. This battalion brought up the rear of the column under a heavy skirmishing fire, and rejoined the brigade soon after we reached the fort.

On reaching the fort, by direction of the general, I took position as follows: My right touching the left of Garland's brigade and my left prolonged toward a bayou which ran into the Arkansas River in my rear, and just above the village of Arkansas Post. There was a space of about 200 yards from my extreme left to the bayou, thus leaving that flank completely open; the general direction of this line was nearly east and west, facing to the north.

My brigade was posted as follows, from right to left: 1st, Eighteenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry [Darnell's], commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John T. Coit; 2d, Seventeenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry, Colonel James R. Taylor; 3d, Tenth Texas Infantry, Colonel Roger Q. Mills; 4th, Fifteenth Texas Dismounted Cavalry [Sweet's], commanded by Major V. P. Sanders; and numbered altogether about 1,500 to 1,600 rank and file. These numbers I can only give approximately, as all of my papers, returns, &c., as well as those appertaining to the regiments, were pilfered after the surrender; but I give these numbers from my general recollection of the strength for duty in my brigade. A large portion of my men were armed with double-barreled shot-guns, rifles of miscellaneous caliber, &c., there being only 315 Enfield rifles in the four regiments.

This new position was entirely exposed, not being protected by any intrenchments whatever; and besides the open space between my left and the bayou, the latter was fordable along almost its entire length, thus leaving my roar also exposed.

As the enemy did not immediately follow us up we commenced at once to throw up such slight fortifications as circumstances would permit. The log huts of the Nineteenth Arkansas Regiment stood immediately in front of the right of my line, and I had them torn down in order to destroy the cover that they would otherwise afford to the enemy; the logs were used in making breastworks. The general line of defense being indicated by the general, I pushed on the work as fast as possible during the entire night, as on the previous night we were very much delayed by the scarcity of intrenching tools; we were compelled to lose pieces of board for shovels, &c. About dusk the enemy opened a very heavy fire at Close range upon the fort from their gunboats, which was kept up for about two hours. There were no casualties in my brigade from this fire, though a great many shell and shot passed near us. Fortunately the range of fire was such that most of the shot passed behind our line, and many of the shell did not explode until they had passed us some distance.

By daybreak on Sunday morning, the 11th, we had finished our breastworks, so that it would resist anything short of an artillery fire