War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0336 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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FEBRUARY 2-3, 1863. - Passage of the Vicksburg and Warrenton batteries, and capture of the steamers A. W. Baker, Moro, and Berwick Bay by the Queen of the WEST.


Number 1. - Colonel Charles Rivers Ellet, Ram Fleet.

Number 2. - Major General Franklin Gardner, C. S. Army, of capture of steamers.

Number 3. - Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley, C. S. Army, of capture of steamers.

Numbers 1. Report of Colonel Charles Rivers Ellet, Ram Fleet. U. S. STEAM RAM QUEEN OF THE WEST, Below Vicksburg, MISS., February 2, 1863.

ADMIRAL: In compliance with your instructions [following], I started on the Queen of the WEST at 4. 30 o'clock this morning to pass the batteries at Vicksburg and sink the rebel steamer lying before that city. I discovered immediately on starting that the change of the wheel from its former position to the narrow space behind the Queen's bulwarks did not permit the boat to be handled with sufficient accuracy. An hour or more was spent in rearranging the apparatus, and when we finally rounded the point the sun had risen, and any advantage which would have resulted from the darkness was lost to us. The rebels opened a heavy fire upon us as we neared the city, but we were only struck three times before reaching the steamer. She was lying in nearly the same position that the Arkansas occupied when General Ellet ran the Queen into her on a former occasion. The same causes which prevented the destruction of the Arkansas then saved the City of Vicksburg this

morning. Her position was such that if we had run obliquely into her as we came down, the bow of the Queen would inevitably have glanced. We were compelled to partially round to in order to strike. The consequence was that at the very moment of collision the current, very strong and rapid at this point, caught the stern of my boat, and, acting on her bow as a pivot, swung her round so rapidly that nearly all her momentum was lost. I had anticipated this result, and therefore caused the starboard bow gun to be shotted with three of the incendiary projectiles recommended in your orders. As we swung around, Sergt. J. H. Campbell, detailed for the purpose, fired this gun. A 64-pounder shell crashed through the barricade just before he reached the spot, but he didn't hesitate. The discharge took place at exactly the right moment, and set the rebel steamer in flames, which they subsequently succeeded in extinguishing. At this moment one of the enemy's shells set the cotton on fire near the starboard wheel, while the discharge of our own gun ignited that portion which was on the bow. "The flames spread rapidly, and the dense smoke, rolling into the engine room suffocated the engineers. I saw that if I attempted to run into the City of Vicksburg again, my boat would certainly be burned. I ordered her to be headed down stream, and turned every man to extinguishing the flames. After much exertion, we finally put out the fire by cutting the burning bales loose. The enemy, of course, were not idle. We were struck twelve times, but, though the cabin was knocked to pieces, no material injury to


*See also reports of Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, U. S. Navy, in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, December 7, 1863.