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Thomas W. Knox
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field.

On reaching the bank opposite one of our gun-boats, he found a yawl near the shore, by which he was promptly taken on board.  The officers of this gun-boat suspected him of being a spy, and placed him under guard.  It was not until the arrival of Admiral Farragut that his true character became known.

After a long interview with that officer he prepared to return.  He concealed dispatches for the Navy Department and for Flag-Officer Davis in the lining of his boots and in the wristbands of his shirt.  A file of marines escorted him as far as they could safely venture, and then bade him farewell.  Near the place where he had left his own boat, Colonel Ellet found a small party of Rebels, carefully watching from a spot where they could not be easily discovered.  It was a matter of some difficulty to elude these men, but he did it successfully, and reached his boat in safety.  He proceeded at once to Memphis with his dispatches.  Flag-Officer Davis immediately decided to co-operate with Admiral Farragut, in the attempt to capture Vicksburg.

Shortly after the capture of New Orleans, Admiral Farragut ascended the Mississippi as far as Vicksburg.  At that time the defensive force was very small, and there were but few batteries erected.  The Admiral felt confident of his ability to silence the Rebel guns, but he was unaccompanied by a land force to occupy the city after its capture.  He was reluctantly compelled to return to New Orleans, and wait until troops could be spared from General Butler’s command.  The Rebels improved their opportunities, and concentrated a large force to put Vicksburg in condition for defense.  Heavy guns were brought from various points, earth-works were thrown up on all sides, and the town became a vast fortification.  When the fleet returned at the end of June, the Rebels were ready to receive it.  Their strongest works were on the banks of the Mississippi.  They had no dread of an attack from the direction of Jackson, until long afterward.

Vicksburg was the key to the possession of the Mississippi.  The Rebel authorities at Richmond ordered it defended as long as defense was possible.

CHAPTER XIX.

THE FIRST SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.

From Memphis to Vicksburg.—­Running the Batteries.—­Our Inability to take Vicksburg by Assault.—­Digging a Canal.—­A Conversation with Resident Secessionists.—­Their Arguments pro and con, and the Answers they Received.—­A Curiosity of Legislation.—­An Expedition up the Yazoo.—­Destruction of the Rebel Fleet.—­The Arkansas Running the Gauntlet.—­A Spirited Encounter.—­A Gallant Attempt.—­Raising the Siege.—­Fate of the Arkansas.

On the 1st of July, I left Memphis with the Mississippi flotilla, and arrived above Vicksburg late on the following day.  Admiral Farragut’s fleet attempted the passage of the batteries on the 28th of June.  A portion of the fleet succeeded in the attempt, under a heavy fire, and gained a position above the peninsula.  Among the first to effect a passage was the flag-ship Hartford, with the “gallant old salamander” on board.  The Richmond, Iroquois, and Oneida were the sloops-of-war that accompanied the Hartford.  The Brooklyn and other heavy vessels remained below.

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