“I shot two guillemots,” I said helplessly. I saw at


After reporting to General Sherman, and while explaining the position of the fleet, the smoke-stacks and flags appeared above the fort. What firing was going on in our immediate front ceased. A good many rebels were in plain sight, running away from the fort and scattering. While we were still surprised, the cry was raised that a white flag was hung out. I did not see it, but in a few minutes saw others along the line, and just as the general started for the fort I saw the flag not far from the white house, near the parapet. Orders were given to cease firing. Captain Dayton was sent to the fort where the first flag was raised. Some shots were fired and some men hurt after this. The first rebel officer we encountered was Colonel or General Garland, commanding brigade, who was ordered to put his men in line and stack arms, which was done. I was directed to pass along the line to the right, and cause the prisoners to stack arms and form our men in line, just outside the work. This I did till I reached Deshler's brigade, on our extreme right, or nearly so, and who was opposed to the right of Steele's force. Steele's men had rushed up to the very foot of the parapet, and some were on it, though they did not fire. The commander of the enemy (Deshler) refused to obey my orders to stack arms, and asked a good many questions as to "how it happened;" said he was not whipped, but held us in check, etc. I told him there were eight or nine thousand men right there, that a shot from me, or a call, would bring down on him, and that we had entire possession of the place. After sending two officers from the nearest troops to explain the condition to Steele, and to warn every officer they met to pass the word for everybody to be on the sharp lookout, I arranged with Deshler to keep quiet until I could bring his own commander, or orders from him. Returning to General Sherman, I found a party of young rebel officers, including Robert Johnston's son (rebel Senate) and Captain Wolf, quartermaster, of New Orleans, who declined to surrender except to gentlemen. Some German Missouri soldiers didn't relish the distinction, and were about clubbing them over the head, when I interfered and received their surrender. Hurrying back to the general, I reported the dangerous condition of things. He and General Churchill, commanding officer of the enemy, started for Deshler's brigade; meeting Garland, a quarrel and some recrimination followed between him and Churchill, as to where the fault of the surrender belonged, which was rather promptly silenced by General Sherman, who hurried to the scene of trouble. There, after some ill-natured talk, Deshler ordered his men to lay down their arms. I rode into the fort, and found the parapet badly torn up by the fire from the fleet. On going to the embrasure where I had seen the gun while on the river-bank talking to Captain Shirk, the piece was found split back about eighteen inches, and the lower half of the muzzle dropped out. A battered but unexploded shell lying with the piece explained that it must have struck the gun in the muzz1e, almost squarely. On passing along the inside I saw from the torn condition of the earthworks how tremendous our fire was, and how the fire of the enemy was kept down. The fire of the navy had partly torn down the side of the fort next the river. A good many sailors were in the fort. General A. J. Smith, Admiral Porter, and General Burbridge were there--all in high spirits, but in some contention as to who got in first. Toward dark, or nearly so, an Arkansas regiment came in as reenforcements, but surrendered without any trouble. About the same time General Sherman received orders to put General A. J. Smith in charge of the fort, and stay outside with his men. As his troops were nearly all inside, and had four-fifths of the prisoners in charge, these orders were not very clear, and the general left for headquarters to find out what was meant. I went on collecting arms, and as our men were scattering a good deal and were greatly excited, I took the precaution to pass along the line and march the prisoners far enough from the stacked arms to be out of temptation. I was especially urged to this by hearing several rebel officers speak of their guns being still loaded. It was dark before all the prisoners were collected and under guard, including the regiment that arrived after the fight. I am confident that all the prisoners were under guard by General Sherman's troops.

“I shot two guillemots,” I said helplessly. I saw at

Everything being secure, the staff-officers, all of whom had been busily engaged, scattered to compare notes and enjoy the victory. I found my way onboard the Tigress, where every one was greatly excited, and in high feather regarding our victory, the biggest thing since Donelson. I also obtained some food and small comforts for a few rebel officers, including young Johnston, Wolfe, and the Colonel Deshler already mentioned. Then hunted up General Sherman, whom I found sitting on a cracker-boa in the white house already mentioned, near where the white flag first appeared. Garland was with him, and slept with him that night, while the rest of us laid around wherever we could. It was a gloomy, bloody house, and suggestive of war. Garland was blamed by the other Confederate officers for the white flag, and remained with us for safety. Next day was very cold. We worked hard at the lists of prisoners-- nearly five thousand in number--all of whom were sent to St. Louis, in charge of our inspector-general, Major Sanger. Our loss was less than one hundred. The enemy, although behind intrenchments, lost more than double what we did. Their wounded were much worse hurt than ours, who were mostly hit around the head and arms.

“I shot two guillemots,” I said helplessly. I saw at

The losses were nearly all in General Sherman's wing of the army. The loss in the fleet amounted to little, but their service was very valuable, and deserved great credit, though they received little. There was a good deal of sympathy between our part of the forces and the fleet people, and I then thought, and still think, if we had been on the left next the river, that in connection with the tremendous fire from the navy, we could have carried the work in an hour after we opened on it. Their missiles traversed the whole fortification, clear through to the hospitals at the upper end, and I stood five minutes in rifle-range of the fort next the river--not hit, and but seldom shot at, and no one hit near me.

“I shot two guillemots,” I said helplessly. I saw at

On the 18th we embarked, in a snow-storm; collected at Napoleon, which seemed to be washing away; and steamed to Milliken's Bend, were we arrived on January 21st, and soon after went to Young's plantation, near Vicksburg.

The above statement from General Hammond was received by General Sherman, inclosed in a letter dated "Chicago, February 5, 1876" and signed "John H. Hammond, who was adjutant-general to General Sherman during the winter of 1862-'83.

MY DEAR GENERAL: At Arkansas Post the troops debarked from steamer January 9th, from one o'clock to dark, in the vicinity of Notrib's farm, and on the 10th moved out to get position; Steele to the right, crossing the low ground to the north, to got a higher ground, avoid crowding the moving columns, and gain the left (our right) and rear of the "post," and the river-bank above the post. Stuart took the river-road the movement commencing at 11 o'clock a.m.. After crossing the low ground covered with water, you were called back with Steele, as Stuart had driven out the enemy's rifle-trench pickets, this giving more and feasible room for moving. Stuart was pushed forward, and by dark he and Steele were well up to their expected positions. Before daylight on the 11th you directed me to accompany you for a personal inspection of the ground to your front, which we made on foot, going so far forward that we could easily hear the enemy at work and moving about. Discovering the open fields, you at once directed Steele to move to the right and front, and pushed Stuart out so as to fully command them and the field-work of the enemy extending from the fort, to prevent farther strengthening, as it was evident these works were the product of a recent thought. Stuart and Steele were prompt in taking position, but Morgan's command (not under your control) did not seem to work up, or keep in junction with yon. At ten o'clock you sent me to McClernand to ascertain why the delay of attack. He attributed it to Admiral Porter, which was really unjust. The attack began at 1 p.m., by Admiral Porter, and the sound of his first gun had not died till your men were engaged--Wood's, Barrett's, and the Parrott batteries and infantry. It was lively for a time, and Stuart pushed clear up to the enemy's rifle- trenches, and forced them to keep sheltered. Hammond was mostly with Steele; Sanger sent to McClernand, and McCoy, myself, and John Taylor were with you and Stuart. At about half-past three I got your permission to go to Giles Smith's skirmish-line, and, thinking I saw evidence of the enemy weakening, I hurried back to you and reported my observations. I was so confident that a demand for it would bring a surrender, that I asked permission to make it, and, as you granted me, but refused to let another member of your staff, at his request, go with me, I rode directly down the road with only an orderly. Colonel Garland, commanding a brigade, was the first officer I saw, to whom, for you, I made the demand. All firing ceased at once, or in a few moments. I sent the orderly back to you, and you rode forward. It was then four o'clock.

During the attack, nobody seemed to think McClernand had any clear idea of what or how it was to be done. During the day he gave you no directions, nor came where you were; he was well to the rear, with his "man up a tree," who in the capacity of a lookout gave McClernand information, from which he based such instructions as he made to his subordinates. He was free to express himself as being a man of "destiny," and his "star" was in the ascendance. I am, etc.,

L. M. DAYTON, late Colonel of the Staff, now of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Category of the article:lawchannel, click to enter>>