From the 6th to the morning of the 9th operations had been steadily carried on against Blakely, meeting with a stubborn resistance from all points of the rebel lines, and particularly on our extreme right, which suffered severely from an enfilading fire from the rebel gun-boats stationed in the mouth of Raft River. With some difficulty in getting up the guns a battery of four 30-pounder rifles was established in a commanding position by the afternoon of the 8th, and in a few minutes after opening its fire drove off the gun-boats severely damaged.
Early on the morning of the 9th, and soon after the fall of Spanish Fort was assured, Smith was ordered to move the First and Third Divisions of his corps to the left of the line at Blakely, Garrard's front, and take measures for the assault of that place. Granger was at the same time instructed to leave Bertram's brigade in charge of the captured works and the prisoners and send Benton's division to Steele's front to take part in any operations that might be undertaken. The battery on Bay Minette, Numbers --, was re-enforced by four 30-pounder Parrotts, and opened fire on Blakely Landing and the Tensas River (the water communication between Mobile and Blakely). The fire of the battery, Numbers --, on our extreme right, was also turned on Blakely Landing, and Mack's battery, six 20-pounder rifles, was put in position on the Pensacola road and opened an effective fire on the rebel batteries. Orders had also been given to transfer to the Blakely lines as rapidly as possible the siege guns (twenty-eight) and mortars (sixteen) that would be required if the place resisted an assault. In anticipation an additional bridge had been laid down on Bayou Minette, but the impracticable character of the swamp on both sides of the bayou made the approaches to it so difficult that it proved to be of but little service. In consequence, the divisions of the Thirteenth and Sixteenth Corps did not reach their positions as early as I had anticipated. While waiting their arrival I passed to the right of the line and found that the prospects of a successful assault were promising. The colored division had already gained and held some important advantages on its front; Andrews' and Veatch's divisions were well up with their work, and the resistance of the enemy was less spirited than on previous days. Soon after 4 o'clock Smith had completed his arrangements and telegraphed to me that his two divisions were up and in position. Garrard had notified Steele that he would be ready to advance at 5.30 p. m., and Benton's division was reported to be crossing the bridge near the left of Steele's front. Steele was then instructed to time his movements with those on the left, to advance his line strongly supported, and if possible carry the enemy's works. A little later Benton, who had not yet reached his position, was instructed to turn at once to the left and follow up and support these movements. The line at this time was nearly four miles in length, and the disposition of the troops was as follows: Hawkins' division of colored troops on the right' Andrews' division Thirteenth Corps (two brigades), on the right center; Veatch's division, Thirteenth Corps, on the left center, and Garrard's division, Sixteenth Corps, on the left; one division of the Thirteenth and two of the Sixteenth Corps in support on the right and left. The enemy's line had a development of two miles and a half. It consisted of nine strong redoubts connected by rifle-pits and palisades, and was covered in front by slashing and abatis, and in some places by outworks of telegraph wire and by torpedoes or subterra shells. The advance was made at the appointed time, and was as nearly simultaneous as it could possibly
7 R R - VOL XLIX, PT I