War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0383 Chapter XXXVI. THE YAZOO PASS EXPEDITION, ETC.

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with great violence several times, and in FIFTEEN minutes, during which her two guns were fired only seven times, she was struck six times with solid 8-inch shot and the rifled 6. 4-inch gun, resulting in closing "her metically" both ports, so that neither could be opened till they were lifted off and hammered out. The De Kalb, for the reason that the Chillicothe was compelled to retire, was also drawn out. The fire from our land battery was kept up till night, and with so much effect that I am convinced the two boats assisting it would have had a better chance than at any previous time. I urged that the De Kalb alone should try it at close quarters, but it was not done. Our sharpshooters were pushed out through the overflow, to a point only 450 yards distant from the rebel batteries, and succeeded in annoying their gunners very greatly.

The rebel 8-inch gun was mounted and placed in position last night, and a few more days of such policy as we have been compelled to adopt by the tardy unreadiness of the naval commander will enable them to make Fort Greenwood entirely efficient against any force that can operate against it from this quarter. It has already shown considerable power in resisting gunboats and battering them. The Chillicothe has been under its fire five times, varying from FIFTEEN minutes to an hour and a quarter, during which she has ben hit FIFTY-two times, and I don't hesitate to say is now almost incapable of further active service. In the first place, she is a great cheat and swindle upon the Government. Her plating is laid against a backing of only 9 inches of pine wood, and fastened on by 6-inch spikes shaped thus:


instead of bolts with taps and screws. The framing which supports the plating is broken short near the middle of the two ports, and has settled down so that the grating over the top has to be propped up in order that the steering-wheel may be turned. Another 8-inch solid shot between the ports will bring the whole turret down.

If we had the guns and materials, and a good supply of ammunition, with another DIVISION of troops, we might be able to erect counter batteries on this and the left bank of the Tallahatchee River sufficiently strong to silence the rebel guns everywhere else but at the positions of the two pointing up the river, and, by means of raft and boat bridges, throw our troops upon the point in rear, or beyond the present line of rebel works. but with the troops now here, without siege materials of any kind, it is impossible to do anything without the gunboats first silencing the large guns. Remember, the enemy is in an isolated position, unapproachable by land, and no way for transports to reach him except by the river, directly in front of his heavy guns. We can get within about 450 yards of their works, or different parts of them, on both banks of the Tallahatchee, and at one place on the left bank can approach nearly opposite their camps; but it seems to me, without a direct approach to the front, no serious damage can be done them, for they can traverse their guns from oblique fire easily, and sill command the river. However, I am perfectly certain the place can be taken in time, by a proper and prompt array of strength, and all the necessary materials for such an operation. I have no confidence in the snap or activity of the present naval commander in this quarter, and don't hesitate to say I regard him entirely responsible for the failure to take this place without a fight. His juniors, Captains Foster and Walker, I believe will bear me out in this. They both agreed with me in the policy to be pursued, and both attribute our failure to its neglect. There is no doubt but that, with all the difficulties we encountered, the iron-clads could have been here by the 1st instant. There is just as little doubt