Memphis Daily Appeal, CS
Federal Movements in Arkansas.
Correspondence of the St. Louis Republican.}
On Board Gunboat St. Louis,}
St. Charles, Ark, June 26,}
The Cincinnati, Capt. Winslow, having joined the fleet and entered White river, he became commanding officer by virtue of his seniority. Capt. W. was very anxious to reach Gen. Curtis with the transports in charge, and was loath to be persuaded that the effort was wholly impracticable, owing to low water; but on summoning the best White river pilots, he found the general voice counter to his ardent hopes. The fleet ascended as high as this point, where it laid several days. Little reconnoissances and constant bushwhacking kept us from a state of ennui, however.
Monday morning I went on board the Cincinnati and accompanied a little expedition up Indian Bay. Besides the Cincinnati and Lexington, the Catahoula, accompanied with troops under Major Bringhurst and Capt. Sill. At Cotton Shed Landing we found the charred remains of some 2000 bales of cotton, recently burnt. The troops made a "big surround," but were unable to find but three rebels. One of them, Dr. J. W. Moore, is a surgeon in the rebel army, at home on leave of absence. Another is Dr. Jackson, and the last a Mr. Murrell. They are all accused of being active in getting up guerrilla parties. A Capt. Scaife, living seven miles back of Helena, has a company in the woods hereabouts, and is believed to be the party which has bushwhacked us for several days past. Dr. Jackson is believed to have given such information as saved a part of this band from falling into Major Bringhurst's hands.
Not a day has passed since we have laid here that we have not been fired upon by concealed assassins. Last Sunday George Sanderson, of Illinois, was killed on the Lexington, and Fred Redfox, of Pittsburgh, Pa., on the Mound City. While getting up Indian Bay, we were twice forced to shell them as they scouted along ahead of us, and while in the bay the gunboats St. Louis and Mound City were fired upon by quite a number of guerrillas, so large that the St Louis deemed it worth while to give them twenty rounds of grape and shell. On the St Louis the men are partially protected by the hammocks, set on end in the nettings, so as to form a very good defense against musket shots. The Cincinnati has been boarded up outside the hammock nettings; and the pilot houses on the transports are protected by being boarded up. So many shots have been fired that the general escapement from injury seems miraculous.
Col. Fitch was reproached by some of the hot spurs for his leniency while in command at Memphis. Like the old farmer in the fable, he used grass balls in hope they would serve to return this fool-hardy people to their rightful allegiance; but the system of warfare pursued by the rebels since we have been in White river, is fast convincing him that it will require stones to bring the young rebels down. He gave the rebels of Monroe county official notification that if they did not cease their bushwhacking, he would retaliate in every manner known to fire and hemp! The gallant Indiana boys, it is conceded on all hands, are quite equal to the Arkansas rackinsacks in backwoods fighting.
There is an agent of the Treasury Department along with the expedition, but thus far only about sixty bales of cotton have been found in private hands for shipment. This belongs to Mr. Belknap, of St Charles, a reputed secessionist. Perhaps he will take the oath—perhaps not.
Talking with an intelligent lady—on Indian Bay, I was amused to hear narrated the exaggerations, which Southern demagogues have instilled into comparatively intelligent minds. The idea is universal that we have come to pick up all the cotton* and negroes we can get hold of; and the lady gave me the names of several men who had sworn to shoot all their slaves as soon as Federal troops showed themselves. The prisoners taken on Indian Bay spoke as though they expected to be burnt out, and perhaps they well deserved it. This reminds me of a little incident of our landing at Clarendon. Our quartermaster, on looking through his long-glass at the people on shore, when suddenly around the corner of a building we saw quite a group of young girls and boys before a house; with screams and horrid yells they broke incontinently, supposing the “horrid Yank” was about to shoot them.
*Wasn’t the confiscation of cotton the reason there was a Treasury agent aboard, as he was speaking of in the previous paragraph?