War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0184 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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upper deck eating breakfast, when, at a sharp turn in the bayou, where the stream is quite narrow, we were greeted with a murderous volley from the dense woods on the left bank. Captain Alexander, in command of the steamer, who was on the hurricane deck, fell, mortally wounded by this fire; one of the pilots, two of the deck-hands, and ten of my men were also wounded. The shots of the enemy, who were fully concealed, seem to have been directed principally at the pilot-house, which was completely riddled by ball and buck-shot, and which diversion of fire alone prevented a much greater sacrifice among those on board. The principal pilot, who was unharmed, escaped to the engine-room below. The boat, now manageless, ran forcibly upon, and the bows became entangled in, a fallen tree on the left bank, while the stern, forced round by the strong current, caught upon the opposite bank, the wheel becoming wedged into the branches of an overhanging tree. Upon these apparent evidence of the success of their attack, the guerrillas sent up loud shouts of triumph, and called upon us to surrender. The position of the boat was such that it was impossible to land our force and clear the woods, even had that course been advisable, under the severe fire we must have sustained from the ambushed band.

Immediately ordering my men behind such shelter as the boat afforded, we briskly returned the fire of our foes, who were fully concealed by the foliage, and succeeded in so far driving them back and silencing their volleys as to enable us to force the bow of the boat into the stream, and extricate ourselves from the position. Meanwhile the pilot had arranged a temporary steering apparatus below, by which we succeeded in moving very slowly down the bayou. The guerrilla band followed, or rather kept in advance of us, each turn of the bayou or stoppage of the steamer (which, owing to the insufficient facilities for pilotage and steerage, caught occasionally again either bank) being made the occasion for afresh volley from their pieces. We kept up a smart fire into the woods in advance and besides us, and had the satisfaction of seeing the fire of our foes lessen and grow weaker with each successive volley, while a number who ventured into sight were made to bite the dust before the rifle-shots of my men.

Just after extricating the steamer from its first position of danger, we were fired upon from the doorway of a house on the opposite (right) bank, where a white flag was flying, and which house, I am informed, had been guarded by a detail from the Forty-first Massachusetts while that regiment was stationed at the Landing.

From the time of the first attack 8.15 a. m., during an hour and a half, we were pursued and continually fired upon by this cowardly band, until, at the distance of some 5 miles from the point of their first ambush, the over flow wage of water impeding their progress, the pilot was able to resume in safety his customary position, and the miscreants gave us no further annoyance.

The master of the steamer lived nearly four hours from the time of receiving his wounds; one in the head and the other, most severe, in his side. Of the men under my command, 10 were wounded, 2 dangerously in the back; 1 dangerously in the neck, back, arm, leg, and foot; 1 seriously in both legs; the others in less degree.

Much credit is due to the pilot for his successful efforts in managing the boat after the pilot-house became untenable. Of my own men, I may say they behaved with all the coolness and courage I could have desired, freely braving danger, and risking personal exposure whenever it would lend to the discomfiture of our opponents. The attacking