the cotton-bales with which the Queen was protected, afforded an avenue of escape, and the majority of the men and officers succeeded in reaching the De Soto. I ordered this boat to be brought up as far as it was practicable without being struck, and sent her yawl to the Queen. Lieutenant [John L.] Tuthill and THIRD Master Duncan bravely volunteered for this purpose.
I remained with the De Soto over an hour, picking up men cotton-bales. Lieutenant Tuthill barely succeeded in escaping from the Queen, the rebels boarding her in skiffs as he escaped. Me. Duncan staid too long and was captured. The Queen cloud easily have been burned, but this could not be done while Captain Thompson was on board, and it was impossible to remove him. All the passages had been blocked up with cotton. The interior of the boat was intensely dark, full of steam, and strewn with shattered furniture. The display of a light enabled the batteries to strike her with unerring certainty. To have brought the De Soto alongside would have insured her destruction, as the light from the latter's furnaces rendered her a conspicuous mark. A dense fog sprang up as we started down in the De Soto, and she lost her rudders by running into the bank. Drifting down 15 miles, I took possession of the Era, and scuttled and burned the De Soto and barge. Knowing that the rebels would lose no time in pursuing, I pushed on down through the fog, throwing off the corn to lighten her. We reached the Mississippi at dawn, opposite Ellis' Cliffs. Mr. Garvey ran the Era, a boat drawing less than 2 feet of water, "hard aground," actually permitting her wheels to make several revolutions after she had struck, and it was with the utmost difficulty she could be gotten off. The disloyal sentiments openly expressed by Mr. Garvey a few hours previous to this occurrence rendered it necessary for me to place him under arrest, and fixed upon me the unwilling conviction that the loss of the Queen was due to the deliberate treachery of her pilot. It is to be regretted that the unfortunate illness of Mr. Scott Long, who piloted the Queen past Vicksburg, rendered it necessary for me to intrust the Queen to the management of Mr. Garvey.
The next morning, a short distance below Natchez, I met the Indianola. Captain [George] Brown thought that he might be able to ascend red River and destroy the battery at Gordon's Landing, and I accompanied him down in the Era, leading the gone 3 miles when a break in the dense fog disclosed a steamer rapidly moving up stream about a mile ahead. I at once rounded to,, and caused the whistle to be blown, to warn captain Brown of her presence. As soon as the rebel steamer, which was undoubtedly the Webb, perceived the Indianola, she turned and fled. the latter fired two shots at her, but without effect. I learned afterward that three other armed boats had been sent in pursuit of the Era, and had been turned back by the Webb on her retreat. They all went back up the Red River.
On reaching this stream, Captain Brown decided not to ascend it, and I thought it best to return at once. . Thinking we might be attacked on the way up, I seized 170 bales of cotton, and protected the Era's machinery as far as practicable. At Saint Joseph I landed and seized the mails, and learned from them that Colonel [Wirt] Adams was waiting for us at Grand Gulf with two pieces of artillery. Thirty-six shots were fired at the Era while passing this point, none of which took effect. On reaching Island Numbers 107, a body of riflemen opened a heavy fire upon the Era from the Mississippi shore.?Suspecting it to be a ruse to draw us to the other side of the river, I decided on keeping to the right of the island. The furnaces of the Era became so clogged at this point that