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[352] it, he (Captain Brown) would willingly go down and do his best. Captain Brown decided therefore to consult with General Van Dorn without delay; so I was directed to go to Vicksburg and explain our position and Captain Brown's views, and ask for instructiong. I was also to reconnoiter the position of the enemy's fleets above Vicksburg. About sunset, July, 1862, I left Liverpool landing, and set out on my mission, riding all night — some fifty miles. I was in Vicksburg about eight o'clock next morning. On entering the town I was fortunate enough to come upon the headquarters of Colonel Withers, of the artillery, where I was hospitably received, had a good breakfast, and went with the Colonel to call on General Van Dorn. The General thoroughly appreciated the importance of holding the Yazoo river, but he thought that as the “Arkansas” could only be used during the high-water season, that she could not materially assist in defending the river. He thought that the “Arkansas” could run by the gun-boats above Vicksburg and attack the “Brooklyn” and mortar-schooners below town, or run by everything about Vicksburg and destroy the small gunboats scattered along the lower river in detail, pass out of the Mississippi river and go to Mobile. He therefore ordered Captain Brown to move at once with his steamer, and act as his judgment should dictate.

After leaving General Van Dorn's headquarters I proceeded, in company with one of Colonel Withers' officers, up the bank of the river to reconnoiter. It was late in the afternoon before we got up abreast with the fleets. The woods were so dense and entangled with vines and briers that we were obliged to dismount and grope our way through the best we could. I had a good field-glass, and watched the vessels carefully some time. Farragut's fleet consisted of thirteen heavy sloops-of-war, mounting tremendous batteries, and were anchored in line ahead near the east bank. I was satisfied that none of them had steam up. The fleet of Commodore Davis numbered over thirty iron-clads and six or eight rams. They were moored to the west bank, nearly opposite Farragut's fleet. Below Davis' fleet were about thirty mortar-boats. Davis' vessels appeared to have steam up. While we were making our observations a man-of-war cutter landed near us, but the crew did not suspect our presence. About dark that night I left Vicksburg and rode until two o'clock next morning, when, feeling much fatigued, I stopped at a planter's house and rested until daylight. The following day I arrived at Liverpool landing. The next morning a

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