APRIL 16, 1863. -Passage of the Vicksburg batteries by gunboats and transports.
Number 1. -Adjt. General Lorenzo Thomas, U. S. Army.
Number 2. -Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, C. S. Army.
Number 3. -Major General Carter L. Stevenson, C. S. Army.
Number 4. -Major General M. L. Smith, C. S. Army.
Number 1. Report of Adjt. General Lorenzo Thomas, U. S. Army.
MILLIKEN'S BEND, La., April 17, 1863.
I ran down to Young's Point and took a position in full view of Vicksburg, about 4 miles distant in a straight line, to witness the passage of Admiral Porter's fleet of seven vessels, with three transports loaded with rations. The naval vessels are Benton, LA Fayette, Price, Pittsburg, Carondelet, Mount City, and Tuscumbia; * transports, chartered steamers Silver Wave, Forest Queen, and Henry Clay, protected with cotton and hay bales.
The head of this line nearly reached the upper batteries before being discovered. Fire was opened on them at 11 o'clock, and continued until 2, when the fleet opened heavily on Warrenton. The entire naval fleet passed with but little damage and small loss. One shot penetrated the Benton, o which vessel 1 man was killed and 3 slightly wounded. The Forest Queen early received a shot in the hull and one in the steamdrum. The Henry Clay, to avoid collision with her, changed direction, and received shot in the stern. The captain very soon took his men in his boats, leaving the pilot, who would not desert his post. She caught fire, and being then helpless, the pilot took a plank and drifted by the burning mass nearly four hours, when he was picked up. The boat had on board 50,000 rations.
General Sherman, who had taken a position below the city in a small skiff, boarded the Benton and saw the admiral. A full half hour passed before the SECOND battery made its appearance, and to the general's hail the answer was, "All well. " The Tuscumbia was sent back, and towed the disabled Forest Queen. The rebels burned several houses in Vicksburg and one near the point opposite, which lighted up the whole river. The firing from the rebels was not near so heavy as I anticipated, and but few shots were given from Warrenton. The effect of our shot is unknown.
No communication received as yet from the admiral. It is a great success, and Captain Ross, who takes this, will twenty-four hours to receive any reply.
Honorable E. M. STANTON.
*Also the Louisville. For reports of Actg. Rear-Admiral Porter, Captain H. Walke, Lieutenant Commanders James A. Greer, E. K. Owen, James W. Shirk, and Byron Wilson, and Actg. Lieutenants W. R. Hoel, J. McLeod Murphy, and S. E. Woondworth, see Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, December 7, 1863.