Report of Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, U. S. Navy, commanding Mississippi Squadron, of operations of the Ram Fleet.*
UNITED STATES MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON,
Mississippi River, January 5, 1863.
SIR: In my different communication relation to the operations on the Yazoo River I omitted to mention the services of the ram fleet. I intended to have made a separate report, but have been unable to do so sooner.
From his first connection with this squadron Colonel Charles Rivers Ellet, the immediate commander of the ram fleet, has displayed great zeal in carrying out my orders; and when we have been threatened at different points, and having no vessel to send from Cairo, he has no two occasions furnished vessels at an hour's notice. When the expedition started down the river the ram fleet was with us, and our main dependence in case we should encounter other rams. We had none of the navy proper. Although, like ourselves, half-manned, the ram fleet was ready to do anything required of it.
In ascending the Yazoo River (the Queen of the West) Captain E. W. Sutherland and Master T. O'Reilly were very efficient in repelling the sharpshooters, their construction enabling them to fire over the banks, which our iron-clads could not do. Captain Sutherland kept unceasing watch in advance of the fleet while our boats were at work and won golden opinions by his assiduity.
On the night of December 31, when it was intended to assault the batteries by land and water, Colonel Ellet took upon himself the perilous duty of running up in the Lioness in face of the batteries to clear out the torpedoes or break the wires and to plant torpedoes on the raft, which had a battery at each end of it. No doubt he would have performed it or lost his life or his vessel.
I have great confidence in the commander of the rams and those under him, and take this opportunity to state to the Department how highly I appreciate the commander and his associates.
I have the honor, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy.
Report of Colonel Charles R. Ellet, U. S. Army, of operations of the Ram Fleet.
U. S. STEAM-RAM MONARCH, January 3, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you that on December 30, 1862, Admiral Porter accepted a plan which I proposed to him for clearing the Yazoo River of torpedoes and thus enable the gunboats to get within close range of the enemy's batteries on the bluffs.
My plan was to attach to the bow of a swift and powerful steamboat
*See Porter to Sherman, February 3, 1863, and inclosures. Appendix, Part II, pp. 882-889.