War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0862 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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discovered planting batteries opposite, also above and below the warehouses and levee. The gun-boats and land batteries opened upon them, and a reply was soon received from all the rebel batteries. It is said the gun-boats continued firing until they were disabled, when Lieutenant-Commander King ordered them to be abandoned and burned. Fearing the rebels would cross the river and capture the steam-boats, Colonel Thompson, upon the recommendation of Lieutenant-Commander King and other officers of the gun-boas and Captain Howland, directed Captain Howland to destroy by fire all the transports, which direction was immediately complied with, the fire soon extending to the large pile of stores on the levee, and from that to a warehouse, which, with its contents, was burned. After the boats were fired the rebels concentrated their fire upon the levee and warehouses to prevent the flames from being extinguished. When the stores on the levee caught fire Captain Howland gave orders to have the flames extinguished, but owing to the intense heat and the difficult in getting men to go where they would be shot at, very little was done toward complying with the order. The large new warehouse, with what little property it contained, was not burned. Six barges in the river also escaped. After shelling the depot for a short time on the morning of the 5th of November, the rebels left the river. It is claimed by Colonel Thompson and others that there was danger of the steam-boats falling into the hands of the rebels, as they had the two small boats of the Undine in their possession with which to cross the river and seize them. The armed force at Johnsonville was sufficient to have prevented any of the rebel temporarily disabled by scuttling and removing parts of their engines. The boats were fired at 3 p. m., at the time the wind was blowing on the levee, whereas if they had waited until the wind changed, the stores on the levee and in the warehouse, where the loss was the greatest, would have been saved. The property on the steam-boats and barges should have been landed between October 30 and November 4. After the fire a general system of theft was inaugurated, stealing clothing, hospital stores, and anything they could lay their hands upon. I was informed that some of the officers of the gun-boats helped themselves to clothing, and directed their men to take what they wanted. The soldiers and quartermaster's employes came in for their share of the plunder.

On the evening of the fire the railroad agent at Johnsonville, C. H. Nabb, ran off with a train of cars loaded with clothing and some 400 men from gun-boats. On arriving at Waverly, twelve miles from Johnsonville, he detached the engine and tender and went to Nashville, leaving the train at Waverly. The boxes on this train were broken open and a considerable amount of clothing stolen. This man, Nabb, was still in the employ of the Government when I was at Johnsonville.

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The total money value of the property destroyed and captured during the operations of the rebels on the Tennessee River, including steam-boats and barges, in about $2,200,000.

Colonel Thompson estimated the rebel force operating on the left bank of the Tennessee at 13,000 men, under Generals Forrest, Chalmers, Buford, Bell, and Lyon, with thirty-six guns, twenty of them 20-pounder Parrotts. This estimate was formed upon the observation of scouts and men who were captured from the transports below Johnsonville. I think this estimate of the rebel force is too large.