HDQRS. THIRD BRIGADE, BRICKINRIDGE'S DIVISION,
Near Vicksburg, July 18, 1862.
Major JOHN T. PICKETT,
MAJOR: In conformity with your order, I made the requisite inquiry in relation to the volunteers in my command who are alleged to have left the ram Arkansas on the 16th instant without authority.
Lieutenant Mathews, a gallant and meritorious officer, volunteered as a private for the service, took charge of the detail, and served with it on board the vessel during the engagement. He left the vessel with permission of Captain Brown, and with thanks for the service he had rendered. I inclose Lieutenant Mathews' note as a part of this report.
I trust and believe that there is no ground for the charge on which your order is based. In making the inquiry, I find no cause to arrest or reprimand Lieutenant Mathews, but, on the contrary, deem that he deserves thanks for his gallantry and service.
I remain, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS GRACEY'S [COBB'S] BATTERY,
July 17, 1862.
[Brigadier General W. PRESTON:]
GENERAL: In reply inquires concerning the volunteers from our battery "to assist in fighting the ram Arkansas" against the lower fleet, I report as follows: On the 15th instant, about 4p. m., Lieutenant [H. P.] Wallace, of your staff, cameo our battery and stated that you desired 12 volunteers from your brigade to fill the place of the wounded and dead in the crew of the ram. Twelve members of the battery, besides myself, immediately volunteered to go, but our commanding office refusing to permit so many of us to leave, as it would reduce the strength of his battery, resorted to a ballot to see who the lucky ones might be, which resulted as follows: Sergt. James Bridndley, Corpl. John Leonard, Privates Benjamin [G.] Moore, Daniel Black, and Charley Thronton, nd Sergt. T. Watts. As soon as the volunteers were ready to move, which was about five minutes after, I took the men and reported myself and command to Captain Brown, of the ram, as being a portion of the number required of your brigade. Captain Brown immediately assigned us to a gun. I stated to Captain Brown that we had come to assist him to fight the lower fleet that evening, and that we had come to assist him to fight the lower fleet that evening, and that as my whole experience in artillery was confined to light filed pieces, except what I had learned from the morning engagement with the enemy's boats, would prefer that he would place some officer in charge that had more experience, and I would fight as a private, which was done, as he placed Midshipman [D. M.] Scales in charge. We worked the gun throughout the engagement to the best of our abilities. After the engagement was over, I asked the first lieutenant if they needed our services any more. he conducted me to Captain brown, who stated that he had no further use for us, and that he was very grateful for our services, and that we could return to our camp. I asked him then for the countersign; he did not have it. I asked General Breckinridge's son for it, who was standing by during my conversation with Captain Brown; he not having it, was compelled to remain in town until morning, when we returned to our battery. These are all the circumstances connected with our aquatic expedition,