War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0366 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

of the enemy, the Queen of the WEST swung round and again dashed upon him, who this time with partial success endeavored to break the force of the onset by presenting her bow to our blow; but his movements were too torpid, and were not entirely successful, which tends to confirm the belief entertained by some that her machinery was injured by the first blow. The Queen struck a little in advance of amidships, but, as she was turning, the force of the blow glanced along his side and past his wheel-house without inflicting any very serious damage. Just as the Queen swung clear of his stern, he opened on her with his two aft 9-inch guns. One struck us on the shoulder and knocked off our cotton, and one on the starboard and knocked away ten or twelve bales of cotton, causing us to list over considerably; and another (a shell) entered our front port-hole on the port side, passed out, and struck the chase of a brass 12-pounder gun, and exploded, killing 2 men, disabling 4, and disabling two pieces. The time the Queen swung around rapidly up the stream, and in a very brief interval again dashed on him striking a little to the rear of his starboard wheel-house, crushing through and shattering his frame work and loosening some of his iron plates.

By this time the Webb had run up stream, turned and came careering on with a full head of steam, and struck him very nearly in the same place where the Queen of the WEST had before hit him. Through and through his timbers, crushing and dashing aside his iron plates, the sharp bow of the Webb penetrated as if it were going to pass entirely through the ship. As the Webb backed clear, the Indianola, with all the speed she could raise, declined further fight, and ran down the river toward the bank, with the intention, as afterward appeared, of getting a line out, in order that the officers and crew might land and abandon their steamer, which was making water rapidly. In fact, a line was got out on land, but not fastened, and three of the crew effected their escape from the vessel, but were recaptured next day by the cavalry of Major [Isaac F.] Harrison. After the Queen of the WEST struck the Indianola the THIRD time, she was for some time almost unmanageable. She had listed so much over to the port side, that one of her wheels was much the most raised out of the water. She was making water, and presented every appearance of sinking. Captain McCloskey righted her a little by throwing over cotton from his upper decks, and they were able to bring her round very slowly, but still she was brought up by her gallant commander for a further charge. While the Webb had her bow knocked off, her splendid machinery was unhurt, and she quickly and gallantly bore up for her THIRD charge. When bearing down and approaching the enemy, Captain [Charles J.] Pierce reports that he was hailed from the deck, announcing the surrender, and begging to be towed ashore, as he was sinking. Captain Pierce represents that he placed a line o board and commenced towing the Indianola, when the line parted. As the Queen of the WEST was running off from her last charge to make a circuit to obtain space to add increased momentuwe encountered the Dr. Beaty (Lieutenant-Colonel Brand), who had cast off from the tender Grand Era, and was hovering round to enter the fight when an opportunity offered.

The Dr. Beaty is a frail steamer, with but little power, and incapable of being used as a ram, or of resisting the terrible fire to which we were exposed. She was crowded with nearly 250 gallant spirits, who volunteered from the forces at Port Hudson, and who had embarked in the Beaty with the resolution to fight the enemy by boarding her. We called out to them that the opportunity for boarding her had arrived, as it was apparent that the enemy was disabled and much demoralized.