Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

June 16th, 1863.

At about four o’clock this afternoon we met two of our gunboats near Napoleon, Mississippi, who told us they had just dislodged a Rebel battery planted on the shore, and had burned two small villages. Thinking it not safe to proceed, our fleet was hauled inshore, a strong guard was posted and pickets stationed on shore to prevent surprise. Most of the men threw themselves down, their arms beside them, to rest as best they might. Some few had gone ashore and were enjoying a social chat around their blazing camp fires, while the more restless ones were working off the effects of the bad whisky they had imbibed during the day with boisterous, hilarious merriment. It was half past ten; feeling wakeful, I had not retired, but sat on the railing of the vessel, talking over past events with a friend from Jackson. Presently two rifle shots rang out, followed by a volley from our pickets. Then was there hurrying to and fro. The men sprang instinctively to arms. Officers rushed from their rooms in dishabille, the timid crouched behind anything that offered the slightest protection. Confusion reigned. But soon our Colonel appeared, cool and collected, calm as a summer eve. “Steady, men, stand by your arms and wait orders.” More pickets were sent out and we patiently awaited the attack. But it did not come. It was, probably, an attempt by some cowardly wretches to murder one or two of our pickets and escape under cover of darkness. No one was hurt. We started soon after daylight, convoyed by two gunboats, prepared for any emergency, and expecting fun. One gunboat led the way, the other followed in our rear, their bright little guns portruding from their coal black sides. They have a jaunty, saucy air, that seems to say: “Just knock this chip off my shoulder, if you dare.” We were all excitement for a while, eagerly scanning every tree or log, thinking to see a puff of smoke or a “cracker’s” head at every turn. Seeing nothing for so long a time, we began to think it all a hoax, when suddenly, as we rounded a point, running close inshore, the transport in front of us was fired on by a concealed foe. Their fire was instantly returned, and the saucy little gunboats rounded to and gave them a broadside of grape, followed by shell, at short range. Our boys were quickly in line, watching with eager eyes for Rebel heads. Fortunately not a man was injured on either vessel. A sad accident occurred this afternoon. A young man of Company H was standing guard at the head of the stairs. He stood on the upper step, leaning on his gun. It slipped and the hammer struck the step below. The bullet passed through his stomach and lodged near the spine.

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