24, Engagement at Green Bottom Bar, Tennessee River (U.S.N.)
Report of William Griswold, acting Master, commanding U.S. Gunboat Emma Duncan, on engagement at Green Bottom Bar, Tennessee River, April 24, 1863.
Fort Heiman, April 24, 1863
Sir: I have the honor to state that while on my way to report to Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, senior officer, Tennessee River Squadron, I was attacked at a place called Green Bottom Bar, on the east bank of the river, early this morning (2 o'clock), by a strong party; of guerrillas with four pieces of light artillery. This place is one of the worst in the river navigation, so the pilots describe it. I have given orders to my executive officer to go to general quarters for the purpose of exercise at 2 o'clock a.m., as the crew had never been drilled. Had not been at quarters more than five minutes when the enemy; opened fire. One shot (shrapnel) came in forward through the iron sheathing, struck the reinforce band of No. 1, first division, and exploded, mangling the right arm of 2 men and left of another to such an extent that immediate amputation was decided upon by the surgeon, which was successfully performed. When close abreast the enemy, I ordered the pilot to stop the ship, as I wished to engage the broadside on, but he reported the channel too narrow to work the vessel in that position. I accordingly went ahead, using my broadside guns as long as they could be brought to bear. Having reached a good position, I brought my stern guns into action, and , I think, though it was very dark, with nothing but the flash of the guns to reveal their position, they did good service, as in a short time the enemy used but one gun and soon ceased firing entirely. My attention was then called to the fact that the enemy were making signals -- burning a red and blue light -- which were answered on the western bank in a bad place (the pilot said). I immediately ordered the pilot to go ahead under full steam and shelled the woods on both sides in those places that were suspicious, but elicited no response, though lights were seen moving about in one place a number of camp fires. On inspection, it was found that the enemy had hulled [sic] us seven times. One shell came in aft and burst over the heads of the second division, tearing away the hammock carline and the cabin floor, but did not injure materially a man; others came through the wheelhouse, causing but little damage, however. The cabin and wardroom suffered badly in their light work.
As the enemy could not be found, I proceeded up the river and, pursuant to order, reported to Lieutenant-Commander LeRoy Fitch, commanding gunboat Lexington. As he was coming down to this place, I was ordered to follow him. On passing Green Bottom Bar nothing was to be seen of the enemy.
My pilots say it was without doubt Forrest's light artillery. They are evidently well drilled and their sharpshooters skillful.
I also beg leave to state that the conduct of my officers and men was highly honorable....
I have the honor to remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
William Griswold, Acting Master, Commanding
Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol 24, pp. 86-87.
April, Sunday 24, 1864
This has been a terible day of excitement, two wagons from Memphis came out and camped in front of our gate all day, the Yanks did not bother them this morning only to take some Whiskey - two Confederate Soldiers were sitting in the Parlor all the time they were here, they did not see them coming in time to run, but fortunately they did not come in the Parlor. Mr. Falls and Miss McKinney, Sister of one of the Soldiers, came out to see them, the other Soldier was Mr. Hutchinson. I sent a package of Papers and letters to Mobile by Mr. McKinney, they had not more than rode out of sight when five Yanks came up all drunk, they robbed those people with the wagons of all their money, drank up all the whiskey and treated them shamefully, they had not been gone long before three Confederates, John & William Hildebrand and Ben Henderson came riding up, we told them about it, they rode off full speed, in a little while we heard firing, continued about five minutes, then all quiet. Father and Uncle Elam went down to Dave Hildebrand's after tea, our boys just left all right, - they met the Yanks returning, only four, and they frightened to death almost - no particulars. I am very much afraid, Laura, the Goslins, Tip and I all alone.
DIARY OF BELLE EDMONDSON
January - November, 1864