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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 26: siege of Vicksburg. (search)
assist Grant, and so envelop the city, but for some reason this movement was delayed from time to time, and the latter had to depend upon his own resources. Vicksburg and Port Hudson were both receiving large supplies via the Red River, and the first step necessary to be taken was to send a vessel (or vessels) to establish a blockade. This, it was thought, would hasten the evacuation of Port Hudson, and thus leave Banks at liberty to ascend the Mississippi in steamers. On the 3d of February, 1863, the ram, Queen of the West, Colonel Charles R. Ellet, was selected to perform the perilous duty of running the batteries and carrying out Admiral Porter's orders. Ellet was a gallant young fellow, full of dash and enterprise, and was delighted with this opportunity to distinguish himself; and, although his vessel was a very frail one for such an enterprise, he did not hesitate to accept the risk when this duty was proposed to him. The admiral depended a great deal on the darkness