Saturday, January 23, 2010

From the 2d Iowa Cavalry

Mississippi River, April 13th.

EDITOR GAZETTE:– Yesterday at noon the 2d cavalry received orders to be ready to march to the river to take transports for Memphis. The Infantry and artillery had been striking tents, moving post and going aboard all day during a drenching rain. The 1st battalion moved to the river at 7 o’clock, but owing to the rush it was 2 o’clock this morning before all were aboard. This is a large, fine boat. Had Jeff. Thompson captured her last February, he would have had quite a prize. Besides the 1st Battalion, with 300 horses, the 10th Iowa and the 26 Missouri regiments, infantry, are aboard. – We are very much crowded.

At 7 o’clock we cast loose, and with banners streaming and the band playing, we headed for “Dixie.” The Emilie and Choteau are close in our wake; the day is clear, bright and beautiful. We soon passed Tiptonville, the appearance of which was familiar to some of us. Old “Mississipp” is on a “big high,” and like some individuals when in a similar condition, has a general spreading tendency, and without any regard to natural limits or moral propriety, exhibits a great overflowing tendency, and encroaches largely on surrounding territory.

As we pass swiftly along, feeling perfectly secure, the gun boats and a fleet ahead, about 4 P. M. we see our steamers rounded to and lining for a mile the Tennessee shore. As there is no “sight” for sandbars, it must be something ashore that gives us a hint to lay to. Twenty-seven large steamers line the shore, all boats of the largest class – J. D. Perry, Memphis, G. W. Graham, Hannibal City, Emma, &c. Seven gun and several mortar boats and two of the frisky little tugs are also in sight. The boats are crowded to their utmost. It is truly a magnificent fleet, with a respectable army afloat – a scene never before witnessed on the Father of Waters. The tug and gun boats are reconnoitering, and we will know more to-morrow.

MONDAY EVE, 14TH. – All was quiet during the night. As the shore was overflowed where the boats landed, they cast off this afternoon and crossed over and down two miles, landing at a large plantation on the Arkansas side. The owner ran off, leaving only an old negro man and woman, but some 300 head of stock. Though it would, under such circumstances, not be secure in time of peace, it will be protected and remain safe from harm. Strange it is that Secesh are so ignorant and slow to learn.

We are fifty miles above Memphis, and less than five miles below Fort Wright. From where we lay the river runs east then west. The fort is in Tennessee. Our mortar boats have taken position two miles below us on this shore. About noon they opened fire, throwing their shell over the point of land (about a mile) and across the river into their works. The point is heavily timbered, and we can see nothing of the river below nor the fort from this shore. Our gunboat a the end of the bend can see the effect or range of the shot. The mortars lay into shore and as the ponderous shells mount the air we can see the treetops that interpose shattered into fragments, and scattered to the winds. The rebels responded but once, – faintly – as they can do nothing at the range.

A reconnoitering party this afternoon brought in a secesh officer captured in the woods. He was the best dressed officer I have yet seen, and looked like a gentleman. He had an extensive pink musquito bar around his hat and covering his shoulders, giving him a gay appearance. Weather is very warm, and musquitoes, as I write, are buzzing about in a manner not agreeable. All is quiet, and I await the morrow. I received here to-night the GAZETTE of the 12th. Tuesday morning – I have the opportunity and mail.


– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, April 22, 1862, p. 2

No comments: