Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/11

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Story of the Confederate Armored Ram Arkansas. 7

appearance and taken us by surprise. * * * Although we were all lying with low fires, none of us had steam or could get it up in time to pursue her, but she took the broadsides of the whole fleet. It was a bold thing, and she was only saved by our feeling of secur- ity." The Secretary replies in terms approaching censure, as well as surprise and mortification, at the result. He says: "It is an absolute necessity that the neglect, or apparent neglect, of the squadron should be wiped out by the capture or destruction of the ' Arkansas.'"

The achievement of passing through the fire of such a fleet, at close quarters, will always remain the most creditable exploit in the history of the Confederate navy. Has it ever been matched in the history of any other navy ?

In General Orders, No. 51, from the war department, in Rich- mond, the following compliment was issued to the officers and crew of the " Arkansas:"

' ' Lieut Brown and the officers and crew of the Confederate steamer ' Arkansas,' by their heroic attack upon the Federal fleet before Vicksburg, equalled the highest recorded examples of cour- age and skill. They prove that the navy, when it regains its proper element, will be one of the chief bulwarks of national de- fence, and that it is entitled to a high place in the confidence and affection of the country. ' '

Congress also passed the following joint resolution of thanks to Lieut. I. N. Brown and all under his command:

" Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of Amer- ica, that the thanks of Congress are hereby cordially tendered to Lieut. Isaac N. Brown, and all under his command, for their signal exhibition of skill and gallantry on the i5th day of July last, on the Mississippi River, near Vicksburg, in the brilliant and success- ful engagement of the sloop of war ' Arkansas ' with the enemy's fleet."

"Approved October 2, 1862."


The chagrin of the baffled commanders of the combined fleets can be readily appreciated. It was determined by Flag Officer Farragut during the day (i5th) to draw the fire of the land batteries about dusk by means of one of his fleets, and to pass the other (his own) close under the bluff at Vicksburg. down to the lower fleet and mortar flotilla.