War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0475 Chapter XXXVI. PASSAGE OF THE Vicksburg BATTERIES.

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[Inclosure Number 3.]

HEADQUARTERS Mississippi MARINE BRIGADE,

Flag-ship Autocrat, above Vicksburg, March 24, 1863.

Colonel CHARLES RIVERS ELLET,

Commanding Ram Fleet:

COLONEL: You will proceed in command of the steam rams Switzerland and Lancaster to pass the batteries at Vicksburg to-night and report to Admiral Farragut below. Take every precaution to prevent lights being seen on your boats during the passage down.

Take only men enough to run the boats; have the yawls on the starboard guards for instant use in case of necessity, and hang knotted ropes from either side to the water's edge, to which men could hang to avoid steam.

You will not, in the event that either boats is disabled, attempt under fire of the batteries to help her off with the other boat, but will run on down, it being of primary importance that one at least should get safely by.

The purpose for which you are sent below is to assist in keeping possession of the river between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and cutting off the enemy's communications with supplies from Red River and its tributaries, and to aid in repelling the rebel rams and cotton-clad steamers if they should attack Farragut's vessels.

You will afford all the aid in your power to the military force which will attack Warrenton to-morrow.

Report to me by every convenient opportunity.

Very respectfully,

ALFRED W. ELLET,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Number 4.]

UNITED STATES Mississippi SQUADRON,

Yazoo River, March 25, 1863.

Brigadier General ALFRED W. ELLET,

Commanding Marine Brigade, Mississippi Squadron:

GENERAL: Will you please inform me by what authority you sent the rams Lancaster and Switzerland past the batteries at Vicksburg, in open day, and without taking any precaution to guard their hulls? One of these vessels has, in consequence, been sunk, and the other damaged extensively, which might very well have been expected under the circumstances. You will also inform me who were the commanders of these vessels, and all circumstances attending this unfortunate affair.

Very respectfully, &c.,

DAVID D. PORTER,

Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

[Inclosure Numbers 5.]

HEADQUARTERS Mississippi MARINE BRIGADE,

Flag-ship Autocrat, above Vicksburg, March 25, 1863.

DAVID D. PORTER,

Acting Rear-Admiral, Mississippi Squadron:

ADMIRAL: In compliance with your instructions, I would respectfully report that the Switzerland and Lancaster were sent past the batteries