War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0882 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

land the steamer under any circumstances, knowing that under way these rebels on board could be easily disposed of by superior numbers. Majors Smith and Beeler, paymasters, with their pistols, advanced to the forward part of the boat just as the men before mentioned were ascending to seize the pilot. Shots were at once exchanged and Major Smith severely wounded, from the effects of which he died on the evening of the succeeding day. Major Beeler received a severe wound in the breast, but continued to fight until he had killed one and mortally wounded another. He then was able to return to the cabin and lingered until about noon of the succeeding day. The rebels then observing their failure to capture the boat and being aware of their own danger, escaped by jumping overboard. I do not know whether they succeeded in reaching the shore or not. Mr. L. F. McGowan, paymaster's clerk, one of the engineers sick in his berth, and a negro were severely, though not fatally, wounded. Majors Smith and Beeler deserve great praise for their bravery and presence of mind. Both had previously served in the line of the army with commendable distinction.

The pilots, S. A. McPheeters, Lewis Moan, and assistant Charles Zeigler stood by the wheel and never flinched, though shots were repeatedly discharged at them. John McBride, engineer, and John Dorris and George Beebe, assistants, never left their posts, even while their lives were threatened. To all the officers of the boat, and these in particular, especial credit is due for a display of coolness and bravery which saved the boat and passengers from capture. permit me to say that no suspicion of collusion with the rebels, who were a portion of Forrest's command, rests upon Captain Zeigler or any officers of the steamer. The permit for the boat to land was seen by the Government aide on board, Mr. Peterson, who also gave his consent to have the cotton taken on board. With the excft with the rebels, all are exonerated from blame.

The steamer arrived at Cairo on last evening without further molestation.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

OCTOBER 29, 1864. - Attack on Vanceburg, Ky.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis M. Clark, Forty-fifth Kentucky Infantry.

VANCEBURG, KY., October 31, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 29th instant Colonel John P. Williams, of the rebel army, with forty men, attacked Vanceburg about 4 a. m. I collected what citizens about be found, and met them one mile and a half from the town. We had a considerable skirmish with them and completely routed them and drove them twenty miles. They made better time than we, taking all the best horses on the route. The last heard from them they were on Fox Creek, in Fleming County, Captain Underwood, of the Carter County home guards, in close pursuit. These men say that they intend that this (Lewis) country shall vote for McClellan. The citizens are much