War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0416 Chapter XXXVI. Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

guns. She then opened fire, and cannonading was kept up for and hour, when the gunboat withdrew, having been struck several times by three of our guns.

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon the fight was resumed by another gunboat, which we supposed to be the iron-clad De Kalb. After two hours hard fighting, the boat withdrew. During the day, Colonel

[T. N.] Waul, commanding post, sent out a detachment of his Legion as skirmishers, who engaged a large body of the enemy's infantry and cavalry and drove them back to their transports.

Thursday (the 12th), the enemy was engaged in erecting a battery upon a point in front, thickly wooded, which we could not prevent in consequence of the scarcity of ammunition.

On Friday morning at 10 o'clock, the enemy again opened upon our works from two gunboats abreast, their land batteries, and a 13-inch mortar. We promptly responded with every gun we had in position, and the fight raged furiously the entire day, night putting an end to it.

It was in this day's engagement that an 11-inch shell from the Chillicothe passed through the parapet, displaced a cotton bale, and ignited a tub of cartridges in the magazine of the Whitworth gun. The fire was communicated by the fuse. Fortunately the shell itself did not explode. By this casualty Lieutenant [J. Q.] Wall, of the Pointe Coupee Artillery, in command of the gun, was slightly [wounded], and 15 of his detachment were burned, some badly.

In this day's engagement we experienced our only loss. A shell exploded over one of our guns, wounding 3 of the gunners, one of whom died in a few hours.

Our troops labored the entire night in repairing damages to the parapet and strengthening the works.

Saturday was quiet until 4 p. m., when we were engaged by their land batteries and a gunboat spiritedly for about half an hour.

Sunday was occupied by the enemy and ourselves in adding strength to our respective works.

Monday, as we afterward discovered, was fixed by the enemy for a grand assault with their entire force upon our works. Accordingly, the gunboat Chilicothe (the other iron-clad having been disabled in Friday's engagement) got into position, bow on, at 1,200 yards range, and with their land batteries and sharpshooters the day's work began. In about twenty minutes after the engagement commenced, a shot from one of our heavy guns penetrated the Chillicothe and so badly injured her that the proposed assault was abandoned and she withdrew, leaving the land batteries and sharpshooters to keep up the fight until sunset.

Our loss during the engagement was 1 killed and 4 wounded, and 16 severely burned or injured by the explosion of our magazine. Total of casualties, 21.

A significant silence characterized their movements the three following days, although we could see them plainly at their batteries.

On Friday, before day, they abandoned their breastworks and commenced a rapid retreat up the river.

Thus was conducted the battle of the Tallahatchee.

While I am thankful for the perfectly successful result of our labors here, I wish to express mu obligations to Colonel T. N. Waul, Texas Legion, for his energy, promptness, and good judgment in the discharge of his duty with his Legion in the fortifications during the engagements. I was greatly indebted to him for the assistance he rendered on so many occasions, and which contributed to our frequent successes.

Colonel Ashbel Smith, commanding SECOND Texas, in charge of the right