previous next

No. 4.-reports of Col. Charles bullet, jr., with congratulatory letter from Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

opposite Memphis, June 6 (via Cairo, June 8), 1862.
Rebel gunboats made a stand early this morning opposite Memphis, and opened a vigorous fire upon our gunboats, which was returned with equal spirit. I ordered the Queen, my flag-ship, to pass between the gunboats and run down ahead of them upon the two rams of the enemy, which first boldly stood their ground. Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, in the Monarch, of which Captain Dryden was first master, followed gallantly. The rebel rams endeavored to back downstream and then to turn and run, but the movement was fatal to them. The Queen struck one of them fairly, and for a few minutes was fast to the wreck. After separating the rebel steamer sunk. My steamer, the Queen, was then herself struck by another rebel steamer and disabled, but though damaged, can be saved. A pistol-shot wound in the leg deprived me of the power to witness the remainder of the fight. The Monarch also passed ahead of our gunboats and went most gallantly into action. She first struck [908] the rebel boat that struck my flag-ship, and sunk the rebel. She was then struck by one of the rebel rams, but not injured. She was then pushed on and struck the Beauregard, and burst open her side. Simultaneously the Beauregard was struck in the boiler by a shot from one of our gunboats. The Monarch then pushed at the gunboat Little Rebel, the rebel flag-ship, and having little headway, pushed her before her, the rebel commodore and crew escaping. The Monarch then, finding the Beauregard sinking, took her in tow, until she sank in shoal water. Then, in compliance with the request of Commodore Davis, Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet dispatched the Monarch and the Switzerland in pursuit of one remaining rebel gunboat and some transports which had escaped. The gunboats and two of my rams have gone below. I cannot too much praise the conduct of the pilots and engineers and military guard of the Monarch and Queen, the brave conduct of Captain Dryden, or the heroic bearing of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet. I will name all parties to you in special report. I am myself the only person in my fleet who was disabled.

Chas. Ellet, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet. Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

opposite Memphis, June 6, 1862 (via Cairo, June 8).
It is proper and due to the brave men on the Queen and the Monarch to say to you briefly that two of the rebel steamers were sunk outright and immediately by the shock of my two rams; one, with a large amount of cotton, &c., on board, was disabled by accidental collision with the Queen, and secured by her crew. After I was personally disabled, another, which was also hit by a shot from the gunboats, was sunk by the Monarch, towed to shoal water by that boat. Still another, also injured by the fire of our gunboats, was pushed in the shore and secured by the Monarch. Of the gunboats I can only say that they bore themselves as our Navy always does-bravely and well.

Chas. Ellet Jr. Colonel, Commanding iam fleet. Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

opposite Memphis, June 8, 1862.
Sir: Three of the rebel rams and gunboats which were struck by my two rams sank outright and were lost. Another, called the General Price, was but slightly injured, and I am now raising her, and propose adding her to my fleet. I had hoped to have the rebel flag-ship also, which we captured, but Commodore Davis has a fancy to take her for his own use. I propose to start an expedition down the river to-morrow, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, and have been much surprised by receiving an offer from Commodore Davis to send a gunboat along. Of course I will not decline, though I fear the slowness of the gunboat will impede the progress of my expedition.


Chas. Ellet, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet. Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.


opposite Memphis, June 8, 1862.
Sir: There are several facts touching the naval engagement of the 6th at this place which I wish to place on record. Approaching Mlem phis, the gunboats were in the advance. I had received no notice that a fight was expected, but was informed on landing within sight of Memphis, that the enemy's gunboats had retreated down the river. My first information of the presence of the enemy was a shot, which passed over my boat. I had four of my most powerful rams in the advance and ready for any emergency. The others were towing the barge or advancing to the attack. I expected, of course, to be followed by the Monarch, the Lancaster, and the Switzerland. The Monarch came in gallantly. Some of the officers of the Lancaster, which now held the next place in the line, became excited and confused, and the engineers behaved well. The pilot erred in signals, and backed the boat ashore and disabled her rudder. The captain of the Switzerland construed the general signal order to keep half a mile in rear of the Lancaster to mean that he was to keep half a mile behind her in the engagement, and therefore failed to participate; hence the whole brunt of the fight fell upon the Queen and Monarch. Had either the Lancaster or the Switzerland followed me, as the Monarch did, the rebel gunboat Van Dorn would not have escaped, and my flag-ship would not have been disabled.


Chas. Ellet, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet. Hon. E. M. Stanton.

Washington, June 9, 1862.
The news of your glorious achievement at Memphis reached here last evening, and our joy was only dampened by your personal injury. You will accept for yourself, and return to your officers, engineers, pilots, soldiers, and boatmen, the cordial thanks of this Department for the gallantry, courage, and skill manifested on that occasion. When your official report is received official recognition will be made of their respective merits. I went in the evening to your house, and, as carefully as I could, communicated to Mrs. Ellet your injury. She was, of course, deeply affected, but bore the information with as much spirit and courage as could be expected. It is her design to proceed immediately to join you. I have furnished her with a pass and free passage, and she will be accompanied by your daughter. I hope you will keep me advised of your state of health and everything you want. To my official thanks I beg to add my personal regards.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. Col. Charles Ellet, opposite Memphis (via Cairo).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Cairo, Ill. (Illinois, United States) (3)
Washington (United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Charles Ellet (10)
Edwin M. Stanton (6)
C. H. Davis (3)
David M. Dryden (2)
Charles (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 8th, 1862 AD (2)
June 8th (2)
June 9th, 1862 AD (1)
June 6th, 1862 AD (1)
1862 AD (1)
June 6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: