War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0077 Chapter XXXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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river on the 25th, with instructions from Admiral Porter to take the Switzerland and protect her machinery with cotton bales, in order to run the batteries at Vicksburg.

On the 27th, I received the following dispatch from Admiral Porter:

FEBRUARY 25, 1863.

SIR: Return here without a moment's delay. The Queen is up at Warrenton Heavy firing last night below here. The presumption is that the Indianola is sunk or captured. Hurry down. Wait for nothing. We have nothing to meet the ram. Bring the Monarch also, if she is within hail, but do not wait for anything.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DAVID D. PORTER.

I immediately started down, and reached the fleet below Yazoo River on the same evening.

On the morning of the 28th, Captain Conner came on board and reported that the Era had been taken from him by order of Major-General Grant, and scuttled in the middle of the river. No reason was assigned for this disposition of a valuable boat. The 170 bales of cotton upon her were set ashore. Colonel Woods, who bore the orders of General Grant, has, I am informed by Captain Conner, permitted his men to seize and appropriate, not only the few articles of clothing which some of my men had left on board, but also to rip up several of the cotton bales and use their contents for bedding. This destruction is still going on. The following is the order, which Captain Conner was permitted to see, in relation to this appropriation of private and public property in the possession of my officers:

HEADQUARTERS Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, February 27, 1863.

Captain CONNER:

Colonel Woods had orders as to what you will do. You must send all the negroes you have early to-morrow morning to report here under a sergeant or corporal. I have wondered why you have not already sent them. I give them rations for one day only; for your men, four days'. The negroes will be put to work at once.

Yours, truly,

J. H. HAMMOND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

No receipt for the cotton was given to Captain Conner, not has one been sent to me. I would respectfully request instructions in regard to the course I should pursue in this matter, as I do not wish to be held responsible for losses to the Government which occurred during my absence and without my consent.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES RIVERS ELLET,

Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet.

UNITED STATES Mississippi SQUADRON,

Near Vicksburg, March 2, 1863.

Major General C. L. STEVENSON,

Vicksburg:

SIR: Major-General Grant, commanding this department, had handed me a communication from you,* written by authority of General Pemberton, commanding Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. I might very properly object to notice it, as all communications relating to the Mississippi Squadron should be addressed to me as commander-in-chief of the naval department of the Mississippi River. I decline, however, to stand on a point of etiquette.

I inclose you a communication+ I wrote to one of my officers in relation

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* See Stevenson to Grant, February 24, p. 66

+ Not found.

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