In 19th century American history, the long range cattle drive is one of the great icons of the era. One such drive of 1,500 head of cattle started in Texas in early August 1862. The Confederate Army purchased the herd and directed the drovers to take the cattle to Camp Moore, the headquarters for local Confederate ground troops in Louisiana. The drovers succeeded in overcoming the biggest geographic obstacle when they moved the herd across the Mississippi River at Plaquemine, Louisiana. Here the drovers could finally rest while they waited at the local depot for the New River Railroad to take the herd the rest of the way.
|USS Katahdin, one of the four gunboats that seized 1,500 head of cattle|
|Lieutenant Commander |
George Ransom, USN
The rest of Ransom's gunboats and transports convoyed south towards New Orleans. As the flotilla approached Donaldsville, Confederate partisans attacked with four batteries of horse artillery. The squadron returned fire with their XI-inch Dahlgrens and 20-pounder Parrot Rifles. After a few hours of fighting, the partisans called off their attack. While the convoy rolled on, the partisans' artillery did cause a significant number of causalities, including the executive officer of Sciota who had a cannon ball bounce off his hip and then exploded on his right hand. He died two hours later. His last words to his captain were "Tell my mother I tried to be a good man."
By October 10, the convoy and the 1,300 head of cattle got through to New Orleans. A few days later, Katadhin and Itasca successfully escorted the other 200 to safety.