Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/9

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Story of the Confederate Armored Ram Arkansas. 5

many more particulars of this fight than we have space to quote. "Talk about yelling and cheering," he writes, "You should have heard it at the moment on the deck of the ' Arkansas ' to have appreciated it. In fifteen (thirty) minutes, without being checked in our progress, we had thrashed three of the enemy's vessels one carrying arms as good as ours and two more guns than we ; and one of the others was a famous ram, whilst the third, though of but little account, gave moral support to the others. * * * We now had no time to secure our prize, (the iron-clad ' Caronde- let'), as the enemy would learn of our coming and swarm in the river like bees if we did not hurry. These fellows we have beaten were but skirmishers of a main army. Consequently we pushed down the river." Lieut. Commander Brown was twice wounded, though not disabled, in this action. Lieut. Gift also was wounded.


Retreating down the Yazoo before the victorious Confederate ram, the gunboat "Tyler" and the ram, "Queen of the West" re- joined the combined Union fleets in the Mississippi above Vicks- burg. By 8:45 A. M. they were all engaged with the "Arkansas" standing down past the fleet. As before, the narrative from the papers of Active Master's Mate John A. Wilson tells the story of the rani's second action her great action.

"Continuing down the river we soon came in sight of the whole fleet, thirty-three vessels in all, (the mortar fleet below the city is not included), consisting of sloops of war, iron-clads, gun-boats, rams, etc.

"In passing them we underwent a terrific fire at close range, which we answered actively, bringing every gun into action that would bear upon the enemy. The Federal ram ( Lancaster,' run- ning out to strike us, received a shot in her drum from one of our bow guns, which caused an escape of steam. Many of her crew leaped overboard and perished in full sight of the fleet. A shell penetrated the broken armor on our port side and exploded, wound- Lieut Gift in the right shoulder and killing most of his gun's crew. I was at the same time cut in the arm and leg by fragments of wood and iron. The heat on the gun deck from rapid firing and the con- cussions from shot and shell on all sides was terrific. Men and of- ficers fought their guns, clad only in pantaloons and undershirts. Another shell exploded in front of my gun port, killing my sponger