Saturday, March 5, 1864

Steamer Diana

I Received the following from Admiral Porter:

Mouth of Red River, March 5, 1864

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Department of the Tennessee:

DEAR GENERAL: The expedition from up the Black and Washita Rivers has returned, and I regret to say they found the water very low, so much so that they had to hasten their return. The water on the bar, about 4 miles up the Red River, will not admit of the passage of our heavy boats, without which we could do nothing, and without a rise in Red River I see no prospect of getting over. All we can hope for is a rise. The expedition was quite successful for the time they were gone. They found that the rebels had erected extensive works at Trinity, with three heavy 32-pounders in them, and some five or six 18-pounder rifled guns. These works were manned by about 3,000 men, and the banks being high, the sharpshooters fairly riddled the leading vessels, which returned the compliment with shrapnel, grape, and canister, killing a good many (one general or colonel), and making them scamper, as usual.

The party captured all the 32-pounders, burnt the carriages, and destroyed the works so that they cannot be used again, and brought off all the cotton they could lay their hands on. The water was too shallow to reach Sicily Island, where the cattle were said to be. One of our vessels was badly cut up with shot, being struck twenty-two times, and we had 2 killed and 8 or 10 wounded by shells bursting on deck, but on the whole got off very well. We were unable to get the only gun they had left. It was on a hill in Harrisonburg, but was deserted. As the vessels passed the town, the men landed and set fire to it, burning, however, only eight or ten houses, as the wind changed after they had returned to the vessels. It was good luck to capture the guns, which are fine heavy 32-pounders, and might have been transported up the Red River to be used against us there. I shall go on making my preparations for the rise.

Yours, very truly and sincerely,
DAVID D. PORTER,Rear-Admiral

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