I arrived on board the Switzerland, which I did, in company with W. D. Crandall, assistant adjutant-general, as soon as I discovered that she was disabled, I found perfect order prevailing; although the shot were still falling fast, not a man showed the slightest trepidation, and a proud determination was expressed never to lower the tattered remnant of a flag yet flying, which had been run up by their colonel's own hands in reply to the enemy's wild clamor when they supposed that his boat was destroyed by seeing the escape of steam. Of Lieutenant Colonel John A. Ellet, I must make special mention, who, after saving his own crew from the sunken Lancaster, was pulled in an open yawl by two negroes, through a terrible fire of shell and grape, for a distance of near 2 miles, to offer his assistance to the crew of the disabled Switzerland.
I inclose the separate reports of Colonel Charles R. Ellet and Lieutenant Colonel John A. Ellet.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALFRED W. ELLET,
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
U. S. FLAG-SHIP HARTFORD,
Below Vicksburg, March 23, 1863.
Brigadier General ALFRED W. ELLET,
Commanding Mississippi Marine Brigade:
GENERAL: I have written Admiral Porter to the effect that I am most desirous of having an iron-clad gunboat and two rams below Vicksburg, to maintain the control of the river between this place and Port Hudson. The Red River trade is now the only resource of the enemy for their supplies at both Vicksburg and Port Hudson. The failure of my vessels to get by Port Hudson has reduced me to the necessity of asking the above assistance from Admiral Porter, but I am unwilling to interfere with the admiral's command in any way, but I feel assured that if he were he would grant the assistance I so much need to carry out this great object. I beg to assure you that nothing would be more gratifying to me than to have two of your rams, and I remain, truly, your obedient servant,
D. G. FARRAGUT,
[Inclosure Number 2.]
HEADQUARTERS Mississippi MARINE BRIGADE,
Flag-ship Autocrat, March 24, 1863.
Captain WALKE, Commanding LA Fayette:
CAPTAIN: I have received a written communication from Admiral Farragut, in which he informs me that he had requested from Admiral Porter an iron-clad gunboat and two rams, to enable him to hold the river between Vicksburg and Port Hudson.
In consequence of the failure to get the fleet above that point, he is entirely too weak to accomplish this great object unaided. It is my purpose to send past the batteries to-night, in compliance with this request, the Switzerland and Lancaster, and shall be glad, if you conclude to send a gunboat, to be informed, that we may act in concert.
ALFRED W. ELLET,