Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/94

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90 Southern Historical Society Papers.

when a murderous fire burst forth from the Confederate line. The artillery having been double-shotted with grape and canister did deadly execution, and the first line was hurled back in disorder upon the second line, which, in turn, advanced, and in turn was swept from the field. One more effort was made through the day to storm the intrenchments, a remnant of which only succeeded in escaping back to the woods. General Banks admitted that his losses in those three charges amounted to 1,842 killed and wounded.

Colonel Powers' cavalry had the evening- previous marched within a mile of Banks' line and during the engagement made a feint in his rear, expecting to draw off a portion of the infantry forces and thus create a diversion in favor of the besieged. This was but one of the many assaults made by Banks on Port Hudson. During that siege his total losses as per war record reports, amounted to 4,600, while General Gardner reported his losses during the entire siege at 610 men.

Colonel Powers having learned that Banks' military stores were established at a depot at Springfield Landing, on the banks of the Mississippi River, a few miles below Port Hudson, determined at all hazard, to destroy them, and to this end, about June the i2th, with his entire force, except a sufficient number left to perform scout duty and to guard the baggage trains, set out on this expe- dition. A forced march was made, the command following planta- tion roads, the better to avoid observation. On reaching the Baton Rouge plank road, scouts were sent above and below, who, return- ing, reported no signs of any Federal force, when the command un- der cover of night proceeded towards the landing. Every other man had been supplied with a bottle of turpentine, and all had matches to ignite the inflammable liquid. The order was given to charge, and the men dashed boldly in among the


which consisted of a regiment of infantry, whose duty it was to guard the stores. These men little dreamed of an enemy being near, and, consequently, were taken unawares. Advantage was taken of the confusion into which the enemy had been thrown, and soon the great piles of freight, barrels and boxes and bales of quar- termaster and commissary stores were in flames. The scene was wild, weird and picturesque; the light illuminated the darkness