Saturday, May 28, 2016

AUGUST 26-31, 1864, Goodrich s Landing

AUGUST 26-31, 1864. Skirmish near Bayou Tensas (26th) and expedition
from Goodrich s Landing to Bayou Macon, La. (28th-31st).
No. 1. Report of Col. A. Watson Webber, 51st U. S. Colored Troops.
No. 2. Report of Maj. Charles Chappin, Third U. S. Colored Cavalry.
Report of Col. A. Watson Webber, Fifty-first U. S. Colored Troops.
Goodrichs’Landing, La., September 1, 1864.
COLONEL: On the morning of August 20 a party of 200 guerrillas made a raid upon the plantations about this place which are leased by Tibbetts & Co. They killed two scouts after they had surrendered;  carried away one white overseer, and a young man by the name of Webster, clerk for the same firm; both the overseer and Mr. Webster were murdered by them as soon as they reached Bayou Tensas. Cavalry was immediately sent in pursuit, but did not overtake them. These highwaymen are commanded by a man named Lee, and although they are guerrillas, and commit the most abominable atrocities, they are permitted to remain near, and co-operate with the regular rebel forces under General Harrison, lie is really responsible for all their acts. As the people on Bayou Macon have many times petitioned Harrison to allow this Lee to remain near them, as their protector, I sent 230 mounted men under Maj. C. H. Chapin, Third U. S. Colored Cavalry, to pay them a retaliatory visit. He accomplished all that I desired, and returned to this post yesterday. I forward herewith a copy of his report to me. I hold a certain Doctor Richardson as a hostage for young Webster in accordance with General Orders, No. 4, dated headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, November 5, 1863. In accordance with General Orders, No. 6, headquarters District of Vicksburg, May 12, 1864, I intend to seize all the movable and valuable property of secessionists living on Old River thirty miles above this post.
Trusting that my action in this matter meets the approval of the major-general commanding,
I have the honor to be, colonel, your very obedient servant,
A. WATSON WEBBER,  Colonel Fifty-Jirst Regiment U. S. Colored Infantry, Comdg.
Lieut. Col. H. C. RODUERS,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Hdqrs. JJ-intrict of Vicksburg.
Itinerary of the Post and Defenses of Goodrich’s Landing, La., commanded by Col. A. Watson Webber, Fifty-first U. S. Colored Infantry*

Excerpts from “Western Rivermen, 1763 – 1861” , by Michael R. Allen:

1)  Real River pirates operated in the Spanish territory during the 1780’s, in the bayous south of New Orleans, on the Mississippi River, north of the mouth of the Ohio at Grand Tower Rock, and at Stack Island on the Lower Miss. River, near the mouth of the Arkansas.

2)  Travelers and rivermen mentioned robbers and counterfeiters at the ”Crow’s Nest”, and Stack Island—both near the Walnut Hills—in 1809 and 1811.  By 1817, however, traveler J. G. Flugel could describe Stack Island, the “former seat of counterfeiters, murders, and thieves,” as being now “only a bar with a few willows”,

Interestingly, the Arkansas Territory near Stack Island

Earthquake at Island 94, Stack Island

Excerpts from Mr. Roosevelt’s Steamboat”, by Mary Dohan:

“There was Captain Sarpy of St. Louis, with his family, who anchored on the evening of December fifteenth at Island Ninety-four, in the middle of Nine-Mile Reach, not far from Vicksburg, were the view of the river was especially beautiful and the landing good.  It did not strike him as strange that only his vessel took shelter there; after all, other islands lay close, above and below, and as dusk fell, the family moved contentedly about the boat.  A flatboat passed and those aboard waved, called out something.  The Sarpys waved back.  The friendly callers waved again with surprising heartiness, almost frenzy, as the current carried them away.  Soon, on this overcast night, all vessels afloat save local ones familiar with each bend and turn and snag would tie up until day, but even as the light waned, a skiff appeared from the settlement on the opposite shore, being rowed hard against the stream toward Island Ninety-four.  Curious—
They did not come ashore, just called, working their oars.  Captain Sarpy? Captain Sarpy! Word had been passed of his coming, and of the money he carried.  Didn’t he know that Island Ninety four was Stack Island, the Crow’s Nest?  Was he insane? Stack Island! Haunt of pirate gangs for years past, frequented until his death  a few years earlier by Samuel Mason, one-time Revolutionary hero who formed one of the region’s most powerful pirate gangs.  The island had a splendid view of the river for seeing potential victims approach; experienced rivermen passed it with rifles ready and watchful eyes.
Nervously, the Sarpy family lifted lines and dropped quietly downriver to Island Ninety-five, where other boats were moored and crews were armed.  They relaxed.
Until the river convulsed and the crockery fell and the children cried and the crewmen leaped on to the deck, scrambling for safety in the dark.  Here the shocks were weaker, the devastation less than higher upriver, but the continual roaring and the trembling of the earth and the frenzied motion of the vessel held them in terror until morning, when they saw on the river and on the shore the marks of the terrible visitation.  They saw out on the river the floating trees and the matted rafts of debris, saw the swirling foam and the continuous heaving of the agitated stream, looked in awe at one another and then, at someone’s cry of astonishment, looked upstream.  There was no Island Ninety-four.  Where it had been were only swirling water and a mass of wreckage.  No living being moved.
Not only islands vanished.  What of a lake? A lake three hundred yards long and one hundred wide, of clear water and well stocked with fish, escaping in the night by two parallel fissures about eight yards apart.  It had been Mr. Hunter’s and was not far from Little Prairie and was called Lake Eulalie.
What of Mr. Culberson’s smoke house and well, moved during the night to the other side of the Mississippi?”
“Scientists lost no time in speculating on the causes of the quake, nor did other less informed.”