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THE BATTLE WITH THE RIVER

Colonel Bailey's wonderful dam—which, according to Admiral Porter, no private company would have completed within a year. Bailey's men did it in eleven days and saved a fleet of Union vessels worth $2,000,000. Never was there an instance where such difficulties were overcome so quickly and with so little preparation. The current of the Red River, rushing by at the rate of nine miles an hour, threatened to sweep away the work of the soldiers as fast as it was performed. The work was commenced by building out from the left bank of the river with large trees cross-tied with heavy timber and filled in with brush, brick, and stone. We see the men engaged upon this work at the right of the picture. Coal barges filled with brick and stone were sunk beyond this, while from the right bank cribs filled with stone were built out to meet the barges. In eight days Bailey's men, working like beavers under the broiling sun, up to their necks in water, had backed up the current sufficiently to release three vessels. The very next

THE MEN WHO CAPTURED THE CURRENT

morning two of the barges were swept away. Admiral Porter, jumping on his horse, rode to the upper falls and ordered the Lexington to come down and attempt the passage of the dam. The water was rapidly falling, and as the Lexington, having squeezed through the passage of the falls, approached the opening in the dam through which a torrent was pouring, a breathless silence seized the watchers on the shore. In another instant she had plunged to safety, and a deafening cheer rose from thirty thousand throats. Porter was afraid that Colonel Bailey would be too disheartened by the accident to the dam to renew work upon it. The other three vessels were at once ordered to follow the Lexington's example, and came safely through. But Bailey was undaunted and "his noble-hearted soldiers, seeing their labor swept away in a moment, cheerfully went to work to repair damages, being confident now that all the gunboats would be finally brought over." Their hopes were realized when the last vessel passed to safety on May 12, 1864.

Red River
Red River Campaign

Return to Photographic Record of Civil War

[Click on Thumbnails Below for Detailed View of that Civil War Photograph]

Lincoln at Antietam

Lincoln at Antietam

Atlanta Defenses

Defense of Atlanta

Washington Defenses

Washington Defenses

New York Infantry

New York Infantry

Little Round Top

Little Round Top

Chancellorsville

Chancellorsville

Dutch Gap

Dutch Gap

Pickett's Charge

Pickett's Charge

General Reynolds' Death at Gettysburg

Lincoln and McClellan

Lincoln and McClellan at Antietam

Grant's Staff

General Grant's Staff

Joseph Bailey

Joseph Bailey

Fog of War

Fog of War

Red River Expedition

Red River Campaign

Robert E. Lee and his Son

Robert E. Lee and His Son

 

 

 

 

 

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