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1863 January 21: The Battle of Arkansas Post and Other War News

January 23, 2013

The following reports of war news come from The Prescott Journal of January 21, 1863.  The Battle of Arkansas Post, also known as the Battle of Fort Hindman, took place on January 9-11, 1863.  It was part of the Vicksburg Campaign and was led by Admiral David D. Porter and General John A. McClernand.  The Union victory was the largest surrender of Confederate troops west of the Mississippi River prior to the end of the Civil War.

WAR  NEWS

F R O M   N A S H V I L L E ! !

Transports and Gunboats Captured by the Rebels

Longstreet Supercdes [sic] Bragg.

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17.

The Press publishes a Nashville dispatch, dated yesterday, stating that the rebels captured five steamers and the gunboat Slidell on the Cumberland, and burned them all.

Gen. Longstreet [James Longstreet], with thirteen brigades from Lee’s army [Robert E. Lee], arrived at Chattanooga, and was preparing to attack Rosecrans [William S. Rosecrans] next week.

The Chattanooga Rebel of Thursday announces a large Federal fleet of gunboats and transports coming up the Mississippi.

Three hundred deserters from rebel regiments have arrived at Murfreesboro.

NEW YORK, Jan. 17

A special dispatch from Nashville, dated last evening contains the following: Gen. Forest [sic: Nathan B. Forrest], of the rebel army, with a force of about 4,000 men and 13 pieces of light artillery, attacked our relief and store ships coming up the Cumberland, had suceeded [sic] in capturing five steamboats laden with valuable commissary stores, and the gunboat Slidell.

Several of the boats contained wounded soldiers, who in jumping from them, while burning, were shot in the water.

The negro crew were stripped of their clothing, tied to trees, and cowhided and left to starve on the shore.  The boats were all anchored in the middle of the channel and burned, after being robbed of the valuables.

The officers and soldiers were stripped of everything, placed on shore, and paroled.

A BRILLIANT VICTORY.

Special dispatch to the St. Paul Press.

CARIO, Ill. Jan 16.

The combined land and naval expedition, under Gen. McClernand and Commander Porter, which left Napoleon during last week, made an attack on Saturday on the rebel fortifications at Arkansas Post.

On Sunday, the whole garrison surrendered unconditionally.

The number of prisoners captured, will reach nearly 7,000 men.  A large amount of munitions of war, and quartermaster’s and commissary stores, fell into our posession [sic].

Our loss, in killed and wounded, will not exceed 200 men.

The retreat of the rebels was cut off on both sides of the river.

Steamers Burned.

CARIO, Ill., Jan. 15.

Four steamers were burned by the rebels last night, on the Cumberland river, near Fort Donelson.  They were loaded with stores for Gen. Rosecrans’ army.

The rebels are supposed to have been under the command of Gen. Forrest.

Capture of Arkansas Post Confirmed.

CARIO, Jan. 17.

The ram Storm, which left Arkansas Post, Monday, and arrived here to-day confirms the capture of that post.  The attack was made Friday evening by the gun boats, the land forces debarking two miles below and marching to the rear of the fortifications.  The rebels had earthworks two miles below the main fort from which they were shelled, not however before they had done some damage to the gunboats.  Three balls entered the port-hole of the Lexington, killing four men.  The main fort, which is represented as having been very strong, surrendered on Sunday.

The officers of the Storm say that we captured six regiments in the works, and that at daylight on Monday two Texan regiments, not knowing that the place had surrendered, came in to reinforce it, and were also captured.

Nearly all the ammunition taken by the rebels from the steamer Blue Wing, some days since, was recaptured.

A reconnoissance [sic] sent up the river had not returned at the time the Storm left.  Our loss was not so heavy as at first reported.

FROM MEPHIS [sic]

Special dispatch to the St. Paul Pioneer

MEMPHIS, Jan. 14

To Maj. General HALLECK [Henry W. Halleck], General-in Cheif [sic]:
The following dispatch is just received:

“HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISS. }
POST ARKANSAS, Jan. 11.” }

To Maj. General Grant [Ulysses S. Grant], commanding Department of Tennesse [sic]:

I have the honor to report that the forces under my command attacked the Post of Arkansas to-day, having stormed the enemy’s works.  We took a large number of prisoners, variously estimated at from 7,000 to 10,000, together with all his stores, animals and munitions of war.  Rear Admiral David D. Porter, commanding the Mississippi squadron, effectively and brilliantly co-operated, accomplishing this complete success.

(Signed.)
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Major General Commanding.

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