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1863 November 28: Battle of Pine Bluff and News from Fort Sumter, the Battle of Bayou Bourbeux, and the Red River Expedition

December 1, 2013

The Polk County Press’ weekly summary of the war news from its November 28, 1863, issue.  There are two articles titled “The News,” each with information on the Chattanooga Campaign and on other things.  We have pulled all of the items about the Chattanooga Campaign from both articles into one post—titled “Chattanooga Campaign—and the rest of the items are pulled together into this post.  The divider separates items from one article from items found in the other article.  Items not dealing with the War have been left out.

The Battle of Bayou Bourbeux, also known as the Battle of Grand Coteau or the Battle of Carrion Crow Bayou, was fought in southwestern Louisiana on November 3, 1863.

On October 25, 1863, Union Colonel Powell Clayton successfully repulsed a three-pronged confederate attack by the forces of Confederate General John S. Marmaduke at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. With his forces badly outnumbered, Clayton effectively used freedmen to build barricades of piled cotton bales around the Pine Bluff courthouse to block the assault.  Clayton’s men were officially praised for their bravery by General Steele, the Federal commander at Little Rock, while Marmaduke had carried out a reasonably successful raid, having captured 250 horses and mules and destroyed at least 600 bales of cotton

The News.

The following is a Summary of the news up to Wednesday last, gleamed from the St. Paul Press.

The bombardment of Sumpter [sic] is still progressing.  it would seem as if it must be pretty well pulverized by this time.  The Monitors have had a brush with the Sulivan’s [sic] Island batteries.

From Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks], in Texas, we learn that he is rapidly moving forward, and will soon have the back door of the rebellion plugged up.

Brownsville and Fort Brown, on Rio Grande, has been occupied by U.S. troops.

Gen. Burnside’s [Ambrose E. Burnside] resignation, tendered long since, has at last been accepted, and Gen. Foster [John G. Foster] ordered to take his place.

Memphis is fearful of a raid and her citizens are organizing for the purpose of defending the city.

In Louisiana, on the 3d inst. [November], a serious engagement took place, near the Teche, at a place called Carrion Crow, between Gen. Washburne [sic: Cadwallader C. Washburn], commanding the rear guard of the 3d army corps, and the rebels.  Our troops it is said, were caught napping, and were greatly outnumbered, but fought bravely.  Two twelve pound Parrots were captured by the rebels, and nearly one thousand prisoners.  Our loss in killed will reach 500.  The 6th Indiana was captured almost entire.  The 60th Indiana and 96th O. [Ohio] lost heavily.  A large wagon train which was with the command was saved.  This we suppose is the result of C. C. Washburne’s [sic] brilliant (?) military genius.

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The news from Richmond increases in horror.  Our prisoners have become so reduced that they are killing and eating dogs.  The supplies that the rebels have deigned to receive from us have not yet been distributed and probably never will be.  It is more than probably that the food which humane association are attempting to send our starving prisoners is used to stop the mouths of the rebels who are also crying aloud for bread.  The movement of prisoners to Danville has commenced, but whether it will be an improvement remains to be seen.  Danville is a village of three thousand inhabitants, 168 miles, nearly west, from Richmond.  It is but five miles from the North Carolina line and is said to be in a very fertile farming region.

A correspondent of the Chicago “Tribune” gives particulars of the battle of Pine Bluff and a rebel defeat.  Marmaduke with 4,000 men and 12 pieces of artillery attacked Col. Clayton Sunday, the 25th day of October.  Col. Clayton’s force consisted of between five and six hundred men and nine pieces of artillery.  Col. Clayton barricaded Court Square with cotton bales and was thus enabled to resist the enemy’s attack.  Marmaduke attempted to burn him out but only succeeded in burning several of his own wounded.  After five honrs [sic] fighting he retired with a loss of 53 killed and 164 wounded.  Our loss was 17 killed and 39 wounded.

Massachusetts has passed the bill for the payment of $300 State bounty to each volunteer.  The payment is to be made immediately upon the enlistment, and together with the Government bounty makes the handsome sum of six hundred dollars for a new recruit, and seven hundred for a veteran.  They also passed a bill to pay colored soldiers three dollars a month from the State Treasury, which makes their compensation equal to that of white troops.

The telegraph brings the intelligence that Joshua R. Giddings, Consul General for Canada, had been arrested at Montreal, on the charge of kidnapping, and held in $30,000 bonds.  An account says that the man alleged to have been kidnapped was a rebel thief who stole $8,000 at a hotel in Cincinnati and fled to Montreal.  A detective followed him, but being unable to obtain a warrant in the city, secured one in Toronto and made the arrest.  The officers were immediately set upon by the secessionists and compelled to surrender his prize.  He was afterwards arrested on a charge of kidnapping.  The arrest of Mr. Giddings is intended as a secession insult to our Government.

The difficulty in the way of feeding our prisoners at Richmond has been obviated, and supplies go forward regularly.

The news from Charleston is important.  Our monitors are said to be sailing up the channel towards the city.  The fall of that hell-born hole is slow in coming but sure.  The sea wall of Fort Sumpter [sic] has been demolished and more shells have been dropped into the city doing considerable damage.

As near as can be ascertained, all the officers of colored regiments have been hung, and the privates either hung or sold into slavery.  The Government is determined to protect the colored troops from such outrages, and will take immediate steps to retaliate.

Later advices from Bank’s [sic] Expedition are important.  He finds a healthy Union sentiment in Texas and also a large amount of cotton.

From the Army of the Potomac we have conflicting accounts.  One is that the entire army has crossed the Rapidan to give Lee [Robert E. Lee] battle, while another report says nothing of the kind has been done.

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