battery (Rice's) unmolested, but as soon as she came opposite to the middle battery (Hudson's) the guns of both opened upon her, and her steam pipe was cut and other parts of her machinery disabled. As she was passing Hudson's battery Colonel Bell's battery also opened upon her, and a heavy fire of small-arms being poured into her by troops stationed along the bank of the river, she was soon compelled to surrender. Soon after this Colonel Bell moved his brigade to Fort Heiman, in obedience to orders from General Buford, who I had directed to consolidate his DIVISION at that point.
Colonel Rucker having reported that he had found a practicable route and a good position for attacking the boats below the landing, I directed him to move down to it with the section of Hudson's battery (two 10-pounder Parrott guns), the Fifteenth Regiment, and Twenty-sixth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, of his brigade, and attack them, which he did with such vigor and success that after a severe artillery duel between his battery and the gun- boat, the latter was disabled and driven to the opposite bank, where all of her officers and crew, who were able to do so, abandoned her and escaped, leaving only the dead and wounded behind.
At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Kelley, commanding Twenty-sixth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, attacked the transport Venus, which was defended by a small detachment of U. S. infantry, so sharply that she surrendered to him, and the gallant colonel, going on board of her with two companies of his battalion, crossed the river, took possession of the gun-boat, and brought both safely to the landing.
While this fight was going on another gun-boat (the Numbers 29) appeared above us, and coming to anchor about a mile and a half above our batteries, began to shell them. The upper battery (Rice's) returned a few shots, but finding that the distance was too great for effective firing, I directed it to move up nearer to the boat and ordered a portion of my escort battalion and the cadet company of the Seventh Alabama Cavalry to support the battery and act as sharpshooters. After a brief and spirited engagement the gun-boat weighed anchor and withdrew up the river. The Cheeseman was so badly injured that it was impossible to repair her with the means at our command, and she was afterward burned by order of the major-general commanding, as were also the three barges captured on the same day. The transport Venus and the gun-boat Undine being only slightly injured, were soon put in repair, by his order. These boats being bound down stream, after having delivered their cargoes of freight for the U. S. Government at Johnsonville, contained no stores beyond the usual supplies for their own use and a small quantity of private freight of but little value for army use. The Undine belonged to the class of gun-boats known as "tin-clads," and was one of the largest boats of her class on the river. she carried eight 24-pounder brass howitzers, and when captured had all of her armament and equipment on board of her. An attempt had been made to spike two of the guns and to disable one by placing a shell in its muzzle, but these were soon removed.
I have been more minute than may seem to be necessary in giving all the particulars of the capture of these boats, because I am aware that some dispute has arisen as to what troops are entitled to the honor of their capture. I do not regard this as a matter of much importance, since all that was done was but the execution of the plans of the major-general commanding, and whatever of honor may arise therefrom is due first to him who conceived and then to those who executed them.