Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/144
132 Southern Historical Society Papers.
place. It did not seem probable that he could spring his mines under our parapet before the ensuing Wednesday, so I instructed General Gibson to have all ready to march out Tuesday night ; that a steamer would be sent that Saturday night to bring away all useless material and disabled men, and that the whole com- mand would be withdrawn after dark, Tuesday, April nth.
Soon after my return to Mobile, about lo P. M., Saturday, Gibson telegraphed me that the enemy had made a lodgment upon his route of evacuation. I ordered him to withdraw his garrison at once, which was done, as is so well described by Air. Stevenson. A few of the pickets who were close up to the enemy could not be got away in time. Except these, the whole garrison marched out without accident, in good order and in fine spirits. Most of them had expected to be captured with the position, and when the}- found themselves aboard steamers bound for Mobile instead of for a Northern prison, they were happy. They were the very flower of our Western army. They had made a splendid defense and they knew it.
FINE qualities OF THE MEN.
The company of Washington Artillery, of which Mr. Stev- enson was a member, a private, was conspicuous for fine con- duct even in this fine command. After they had been holding the most advanced and exposed redoubt for more than a week of incessant action, fighting by day, fighting and working by night, I went into the works to see Captain Slocum. the com- mander of that company, relative to relieving them by a fresh battery from Mobile. I told him they had been overworked and needed rest, and other companies not yet engaged stood ready to take their place. He replied: "Appreciating, General, your consideration for my men, I desire to submit the question to them before consenting to our being relieved." He soon came back and said : "General, the company, grateful for your kind intention, desire to hold this position to the end. We respect- fully decline to be relieved." And they held it, as Stevenson has so well told, to the very end and never expected to escape capture.