War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0909 Chapter XXII. NAVAL ENGAGEMENT OFF MEMPHIS, TENN.

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SIR: There are several facts touching the naval engagement of the 6th at this place which I wish to place on record. Approaching Memphis, the gunboats were in the advance. I had received no notice that a fight was expected, but was informed on landing within sight of Memphis, that the enemy's gunboats had retreated down the river. My first information of the presence of the enemy was a shot, which passed over ready for any emergency. The others were towing the barge or advancing to the attack. I expected, of course, to be followed by the Monarch, the Lancaster, and the Switzerland. The Monarch came in gallantly. Some of the officers of the Lancaster, which now held the next place in the line, became excited and confused, and the engineers behaved well. The pilot erred in signals, and backed the boat ashore and disabled her rudder. The captain of the Switzerland construed the general signal order to keep half a mile in rear of the Lancaster to mean that he was to keep half a mile behind her in the engagement, and therefore failed to participate; hence the whole brunt of the fight fell upon the Queen and Monarch. Had either the Lancaster or the Switzerland followed me, as the Monarch did, the rebel gunboat Van Dorn would not have escaped, and my flag-ship would not have been disabled.



Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet.


WASHINGTON, June 9, 1862.

The news of your glorious achievement at Memphis reached here last evening, and our joy was only dampened by your personal injury. You will accept for yourself, and return to your officers, engineers, pilots, soldiers, and boatmen, the cordial thanks of this Department for the gallantry, courage, and skill manifested on that occasion. When your official report is received official recognition will be made of their respective merits. I went in the evening to your house, and, as carefully as I could, communicated to Mrs. Ellet your injury. She was, of course, deeply affected, but bore the information with as much spirit and courage as could be expected. It is her design to proceed immediately to join you. I have furnished her with a pass and free passage, and she will be accompanied by your daughter. I hope you will keep me advised of your state of health and everything you want. To my official thanks I beg to add my personal regards.


Secretary of War.

Col. CHARLES ELLET, opposite Memphis [via Cairo].

No. 5 Correspondence relating to the occupation of Memphis, Tenn.

UNITED STATES RAM SWITZERLAND, Opposite Memphis, June 7, 1862.

SIR: Yesterday, after the engagement with the rebel fleet had nearly terminated and the gunboats and one of my rams had passed below, I