War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0500 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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Fort Morgan, Mobile Point, Ala., September 13, 1864.

SIR: I would very respectfully report that on the night of the 10th instant I ordered the steamer Planter to make fast to the large barge, and at midnight Captain Vandagrift, Twentieth Wisconsin Volunteers, having reported on board with 200 men, I proceeded to Fish River, in obedience to Special orders, Numbers 27. On arriving at the mouth of the river I found three gun-boats, Captain Wiggin, U. S. Navy, commanding. Soon after sunrise we moved up the river, preceded by two gun-boats of light draught, one gun- boat being left at the mouth of the river, as it was drawing too much water to pass over the flats. Owing to the extremely tortuous course of this stream we were obliged to move very slowly. The gun- boats, being stern-wheel boats, experienced much trouble in passing the bends of the river. We proceeded up the river for a distance of six miles to a place known as Smith's Mills, and here made a landing. This place is on narrow ridge of high land running down to the river, being flanked on both sides by a swamp. I sent a strong picket guard out at a proper my party being surprised. I then ordered the men to load onto the barge the lumber found at the mill, of which there was a considerable quantity, and before night we had loaded on some 55,000 feet of new lumber and twenty head of cattle, both the lumber and the cattle being the property of Mr. J. B. Smith. He was absent from the mill, being in Mobile at this time. We saw nothing of the enemy during the day, and at sundown we moved out and proceeded down the river. After leaving the mill about half a mile we were suddenly fired into by a force from the left-hand bank of the river. I immediately ordered the men to fire at the enemy, and also ordered them to place themselves in such a way that they were protected by the lumber on board the barge. The boats soon moved below the high ground. It being a swamp on either side the enemy could not reach uss, but on again passing a high point of land we were met by a second shower of bullets. We replied to the enemy's fire, the gun-boats being engaged all the time in throwing grape and canister. The enemy's force consisted of mounted men entirely, and, as near as I could judge from the firing and what little could be seen in the darkness, numbered about forty men. After the second firing we saw nothing more of the enemy, and on arriving at the mouth of the river we anchored until morning, the water being too low to pass at that time. In the morning we passed out into the bay, touching at the Point, and taking on eight head of cattle. We then proceeded direct to this place.

During the time that we were under fire both officers and men behaved with great coolness, there being no confusion whatever among the troops. There was but 1 wounded on board the steamer Planter, he being an officer's servant, and received his wound while he was firing at the enemy. Captain Wiggin reported to me that the gun-boat 42 had 3 wounded, none of them being serious wounds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Sixth Michigan Vol. Arty., Actg. Asst. Quartermaster.


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

In addition to the above, I would respectfully state that the lumber taken was sawed for the Confederate forces at Mobile, but was pre-