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[299] down the river, well aware that the Rebels would soon be after them, the traitor Garvey was installed as pilot, and soon contrived to run the Era hard aground also, just after reaching the Mississippi — she drawing two feet water, and the shallowest of these rivers being now good for at least thirty. Ellet, by the time she was with difficulty got off, appears to have suspected that Rebels were not the safest pilots for National war vessels; though he does not seem to have shot the scoundrel, or done any thing else but intimate that his style of piloting was not approved. Four armed boats were sent down after him, but turned back by their leader, the Webb, unexpectedly meeting our heavy iron-clad Indianola, which they did not choose to encounter; so the Era made her way up to the station just below Vicksburg; receiving, by the way, salutes that meant mischief from Grand Gulf and Warrenton.

The Indianola, Lt.-Com'g. Brown, was one of our finest iron-clads: 174 feet long by 50 broad, with five boilers, seven engines, thoroughly shielded, and armed with two 11-inch and two 9-inch guns. Leaving the mouth of the Yazoo, she had drifted1 nearly by Vicksburg undiscovered; and the batteries finally opened on her had done her no harm whatever, Keeping on down, she was just in season, as we have seen, to shield Ellet and the Era from probable capture; and she now swept proudly down the river, expecting to drive all before her.

After blockading for some days the mouth of Red river, which she did not enter for want of pilots, she was returning up the Mississippi; and, when nearly opposite Grand Gulf, encountered2 the Rebel ram Webb, as also the captured Queen of the West (which had somehow been repaired so as to be serviceable), with two other less formidable gunboats, in all mounting ten heavy guns, and manned by several hundred men. These attacked her with such energy and skill, mainly by butting her with their rams, while they danced about her, dodging her shots, that she was soon disabled; having been rammed for the seventh time by the Webb, and now directly in her stern, which was completely stove in. Being in a sinking condition, she was surrendered and immediately run ashore.

Farragut being away on the Gulf coast, the Rebels had now the mastery of the river between Vicksburg and New Orleans — a mastery which they soon lost by a Yankee trick. A worthless coal that-boat, fitted up, covered, and decorated by Porter, with furnaces of mud and smokestacks of pork-barrels, to counterfeit a terrible ram, was let loose3 by him, unmanned, above Vicksburg; and floated down by the batteries, eliciting and surviving a tremendous cannonade. The Rebels in Vicksburg hastened to give warning of this fearful monster to the Queen, lying under their batteries at Warrenton, eight miles below; whereupon, the Queen fled down the river at her best speed. The Indianola was now undergoing repairs near the point where she was captured; and word was sent from Vicksburg that she must be burned at once to save her from the monster's clutches. A few hours later, when it had been discovered that they had been thrown into

1 Night of Feb. 13.

2 Feb. 24, 9 1/2 P. M.

3 About Feb. 24.

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