PADUCAH, February 4, 1862
The transports which left Cairo yesterday with troops on board, came straggling in here one at a time during all of last night, and immediately proceeded up the Tennessee.
We reached a point ten miles this side of Fort Henry about daylight, where we found the gun boats St. Louis, Essex, Carondelet and St. Louis [sic] lying at anchor. The troops on board the new Uncle Sam, Illinois and Aleck Scott, were disembarked and again re-embarked, and landed four miles above, where the balance of the troops were also landed as fast as they arrived.
The gunboats weighed anchor upon our arrival, and steamed up to within gunshot range of the Fort, where an interchange of shot and shell was had between our boats and the Fort, about twenty shots being fired on each side. The shooting was very accurate on both sides. One shot from the Fort struck the upper wooden cabin of the Essex, and tore a hole in her. The damage was, however, but trifling, as the cabin was but a temporary affair. Several of our shells burst in the fort, and immense damage is supposed to have been done.
At intervals between shots a rebel steamer was seen maneuvering about.
A powerful Union force is now encamped on the heights of the east bank of the Tennessee River, just beyond the range of the enemy’s guns.
The transports, after landing their human cargoes, returned to Paducah, where they will take on reinforcements, and proceed as speedily as possible to the point of debarkation, near Fort Henry.
The New Uncle Sam met with an accident in returning here this afternoon. About twenty miles up the river, while running close to the shore, she ran into a large tree, tearing away her railings and escape pipe, and damaging her wheel house and barber shop, the latter to the great consternation of the proprietor of the last named establishment.
Heavy re-enforcements will be landed near Fort Henry to-morrow, to co-operate with the force now there, and ere many days shall elapse, the clash of arms will be heard in this quarter that will shake secessionism to its foundation.
I have not been able to learn what, if anything, has been done on the Cumberland from Smithland.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 8, 1862, p. 2