to be on the left bank of the river. I labored under the greatest disadvantage for the want of a glass. Advancing too far the officer commanding signaled my recall. I could not distinguish the signals, and moved up to encounter the enemy,w ho appeared in heavy force on the right with several batteries of field artillery. Observing that the fleet did not support I turned and saw the signal of recall. I found then that my pilot, Mr. McKay, had allowed the boat to drift into shore, and was detained half an hour in getting afloat again. I rejoined the fleet and made the necessary explanation to the officer commanding.
About 12 o'clock I again advanced, the other vessels following as before, until drawing the fire from the rebel fleet I withdrew out of range of the enemy's guns, and thus terminated the active part taken by this boat int he expedition. For several days subsequent to this I lay at anchor near the plantation of Benson Blake, an officer of some note in the rebel army.
As most of the danger we incurred from torpedoes and the rebel fire was met with at this plantation I considered it proper to destroy some of the buildings, especially a valuable piece of machinery, which, from this commanding position on Gascon Bayou, could have been used to annoy us by the rebels. I directed a torpedo to be removed from the river to this building and had it exploded with a port-fire, which utterly demolished the building.
You will perceive that from December 23 to 27, inclusive, this vessel was under an almost constat fire, and from the nature of the enterprise and necessity of constant vigilance night and day the nerve and endurance of my men were tried severely, and their bravery and perseverance deserve the highest commendation.
The officers under my command (with few exceptions) rendered me much assistance, being obedient to orders and attentive to their duties. Mr. Townsend, engineer-in-chief, deserves particular mention for skill-fully managing the engines, and at a critical moment, when the vent-field was blown out of the rifled gun, he replaced it with a new one in time for the piece to render most efficient service.
During the five day's engaged I fired from all the batteries 78 boxes of ammunition, and I would fain believe that we inflicted a heavy loss upon the enemy; but I cannot lay the unction to my soul, as they were too well protected by their rifle-pits.
The loss on this boat was none killed and one slightly wounded.
Very respectfully, yours, &c.,
EDWIN W. SUTHERLAND,
Captain Commanding U. S. Ram Queen of the West.
Colonel CHARLES RIVERS ELLET,
Commanding Ram Fleet.
Reports of Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army, commanding Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, of operations December 21, 1862-January 2, 1863.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF MISSISSIPPI AND EAST LOUISIANA,
Vicksburg, Miss., February --, 1863.
GENERAL: On December 21, , while at Grenada awaiting the approach of the enemy in that direction, information was received that