refused to enter the shot-proof pilot-house, saying that a captain's place was on the quarter-deck. While there is life there is hope, and I trust the life of this gallant officer may be spared to us. The country can ill afford to lose his services. Mr. Lord, the executive officer of the vessel, was wounded severely in the foot, but fought the vessel gallantry after the captain had been carried below, and retired when the batteries were all unmasked, and when the object was accomplished for which the vessels went up. I had three of the iron-clads, and the Lexington, the Marmora, and the ram Queen of the West lying as a reserve, but none of them were struck, though in action, expect the Cincinnati (Lieutenant [George M.] Bache), by which no material damage occurred to the vessel.
The army advanced at the same time we were attacking the forts, making the enemy believe we were going to force the river forts. This induced them to draw off a large part of their forces from Vicksburg, and their cavalry were kept employed driving the men back to their guns.
I send you a sketch of the present position of affairs. The fighting is going on now, but with what success I know not. Our troops, though, are gaining at every step, and I am in hope that by morning General Sherman will cut the communication between Vicksburg and Milldale, which should, by rights, end the affair. The railroads have all been cut leading into Texas, and there will be no hope of supplies, even if Vicksburg can hold out for a short time.
The enemy cannot approach the left wing of our army until they reach the heights without coming in range of our gunboats. At that point the army will have all the fighting to do themselves.
The following is a list of the killed and wounded: Lieutenant Commander William Gwin, severely wounded on the right breast, lacerating the pectoral muscles extensively, and also tearing away a portion of the muscles of the right forearm; George P. Lord, executive officer, severe contusion of the foot; Elias Reese, executive officer of the Marmora, slightly wounded; N. B. Willetts, gunner, severely wounded; Robert Rhoyal, amster-at-arms, killed; Thomas Smith, seaman, mortally wounded; Alexander W. Lynch, seaman, severe contusion of the head; Alexander Campbell, seaman, severely wounded; Stephen Moss, slightly wounded, and George Collender (boy), slightly wounded.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
UNITED STATES MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON,
Yazoo River, December 31, 1862.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have already written you a hurried report of the attack on the Yazoo batteries by the Benton, and have the honor to relate occurrences up to this date.
On the 27th instant, Lieutenant-Commander [John G.] Walker, of the Baron De Kalb, had cleared the river Yazoo of torpedoes nearly to the place where the Cairo was sunk, and had obtained possession of two landings. The enemy, to the number of 2,000, were contesting every inch of ground from rifle-pits and from behind levees, where, from high overhanging banks, they could fire on our vessels almost with impunity. The light-draught iron-clads Signal, Juliet, and Romeo were very