Saturday, December 10, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: March 28, 1864

After tying up to the bank all night for fear of sharp shooters along the shore in the woods; we passed Fort De Russey at Snaggy Point. This fort had the honor of being taken twice by our gun boats: the first time by Commander Farragut before the seige of Port Hudson, about May 1, 1863 and a few days before this, Snaggy Point is at a sharp bend in the river which is very shallow in low water on account of sunken logs in the stream. It has special advantages as a location for a fort mainly from the fact that it commands a view of the river for a long distance above and below. It was here we had such an interesting time going up the river in July of 1860 when I was on my way to Texas. We were on a small stern wheel boat named the “News Boy” with a cargo of grain. We were two days getting round this point. They unloaded the grain into lighters and snaked the boat over the logs by hitching to trees and winding the rope round the capstan. I never dreamed of seeing a fort here at that time but strange things happen in this world sometimes. Arrived at Alexandria at four p. m. and encamped on the same ground we did the year before, on the Rapides Bayou. The falls in the Red River at this place will not admit of navigation more than six months in the year and the river had begun falling at this early date in March so that the gun boats had difficulty in getting up over the falls and a noble large transport loaded with army stores and general merchandise was already hopelessly stranded on the rocks: so we had to witness the painful sight of her going up in smoke and flame with all her valuable cargo. When I went up that river in July of sixty alluded to before, there was hardly water enough going over these same falls to drive a saw mill, let alone floating all the United States Navy in the Western waters: and General Banks had it there at that time, all above the tails and as the sequel will show it cost us no little trouble to get the boats down again. We were here brigaded with the one hundred and fifty-ninth and ninetieth New Ycrk and the thirteenth Connecticut Volunteers, General Grover's Division.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 92-4

No comments: