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[343] and energetic attention to all my orders, and their ready cooperation with the army corps commanders at all times, which enabled them to carry out their plans successfully.

The Benton, Lieutenant Commander Greer, Mound City, Lieutenant Commander Byron Wilson, Tuscumbia, Lieutenant Commander Shirk, Carondelet, Acting Lieutenant Murphy, and the Sterling Price, Commander Woodworth, have been almost constantly under fire of the batteries at Vicksburgh since the forty-five days siege commenced.

The attack of the twenty-second of May by the Benton, Mound City, Carondelet, and Tuscumbia on all the water batteries, in which three were silenced, and four guns injured or dismounted, was one of the best contested engagements of the kind during the war.

On the next attack of the same gunboats, when General Grant opened all his batteries for six hours, the river batteries were all deserted, and the gunboats moved up and down without having a shot fired at them, showing the moral effect the first attack had.

The attack of the Cincinnati, Lieutenant Commander Bache, on the water-battery will long be ranked among the most gallant events of this war; and though Lieutenant Bache had the misfortune to have his vessel sunk under him, he well deserves the handsome commendations bestowed upon him by the Department.

To Lieutenant Commander Ramsay, of the Choctaw, was assigned the management of three heavy guns placed on scows, and anchored in a position that commanded the town and waterbatteries. Every gun the enemy could bring to bear on these boats was fired incessantly at them, but without one moment's cessation of fire on the part of our seamen, though the enemy's shot and shell fell like hail among them. This battery completely enfiladed the batteries and riflepits in front of General Sherman, and made them untenable.

The mortar-boats were under charge of Gunner Eugene Mack, who for thirty days stood at his post, the firing continuing night and day. He performed his duty well and merits approval. The labor was extremely hard, and every man at the mortars was laid up with sickness, owing to excessive labor. After Mr. Mack was taken ill, Ensign Miller took charge and conducted the firing with marked ability. We know that nothing conduced more to the end of the siege than the mortar-firing, which demoralized the rebels, killed and wounded a number of persons, killed the cattle, destroyed property of all kinds, and set the city on fire. On the last two days we were enabled to reach the outer works of the enemy by firing heavy charges of twenty-six pounds of powder; the distance was three miles, and the falling of shells was very annoying to the rebels — to use the words of a rebel officer, “our shells intruded everywhere.”

Lieutenant Commander Breese has been very efficient in relieving me of a vast amount of duty, superintending personally all the requirements! made on the navy, and facilitating the operations of the army in every way that lay in his power. In every instance where it was at all possible to bring the Black Hawk into action against the enemy's batteries he has not hesitated to do so, though she is not fortified exactly for such a purpose. His long-range guns have done most excellent service at different times.

I beg leave to mention the different commanders of the light-draughts, who have carried out my orders promptly, aided in keeping guerrillas from the river, convoyed transports safely, and kept their vessels in good condition for service, namely, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant George W. Brown, commanding Forest Rose; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant C. Downing, commanding Signal; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant J. S. Hurd, commanding Covington; Ensign Wm. C. Handford, commanding Robb; Acting Master J. C. Bunner, commanding New Era; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant J. V. Johnstone, commanding Romeo; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant John Pierce, commanding Petrel; Acting Master W. E. Fentress, commanding Rattler; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant T. E. Smith, commanding Linden; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant E. C. Brennand, commanding Prairie Bird; Acting Volunteer Lieutenant J. Gandy, commanding Queen City. There are others who deserve commendation, but these seem to me the most prominent.

The action of the fourth of July, at Helena, wherein the Tyler participated so largely, has already been reported to the Department. There is no doubt left in the minds of any but that the Tyler saved Helena, for though General Prentiss fought with a skill and daring not excelled in this war, his little force of three thousand five hundred men were fast being overpowered by the enemy with eighteen thousand men, when the Tyler took a position and changed the fortunes of the day.

I must not omit to mention Acting Volunteer Lieutenants Hamilton and Richardson, of the powder vessels Great Western and Judge Torrence. They were unremitting in their attention to their duties during the siege, supplying without delay every requisition made on them by army and navy, and volunteering for any service.

When the army called on the navy for siegeguns, I detailed what officers and men I could spare to man and work the batteries. Lieutenant Commander Selfridge had command of the naval battery on the right wing, General Sherman's corps. This battery was worked with marked ability, and elicited the warmest praises from the Commanding General. One thousand shells were fired into the enemy's works from Lieutenant Commander Selfridge's guns. His services being required up the river, I relieved him a few days before the surrender, and Lieutenant Commander Walker supplied his place, and conducted the firing with the same ability.

Acting Master Charles B. Dahlgren was ordered to report to General McPherson for duty, and was assigned the management of two nine-inch guns, which were admirably served.

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