and more than a hundred cannon.1
, having refitted, moved down2
the river in order of battle, followed by transports conveying part of Gen. Pope
's army ; finding his way first impeded at Fort Pillow
, or Wright
, situated on the first Chickasaw Bluffs
, near the Islands
Nos. 33 and 34, about 70 miles above Memphis
Landing his mortars on the Arkansas
bank, he commenced3
a bombardment of the fort at a distance of three-fourths of a mile, and was replied to with energy and accuracy.
The high stage of the river prevented cooperation by our army; so the cannonade was kept up for two weeks with spirit on both sides, but with little effect.
A powerful ram having been received by the Rebels
from below, they resolved to test its efficiency; and accordingly made an attack on our fleet,4
the ram leading, backed by three gunboats, and making a rush at the Cincinnati
, whose rapid broadsides at short range made no impression on her assailant's iron mail.
The boats collided with a fearful crash, instantly followed by a broadside from the Cincinnati
and a volley of musketry ; directly after which, Commander Stembel
fired his pistol at the head of the Confederate
pilot, killing him instantly.
The pilot's mate thereupon shot the Commander
through his shoulder and neck, disabling but not killing him. The Cincinnati, though crippled and sinking, was able to withdraw from the fight, and was run upon a shoal, where she sank; while the Mallory
, which had attempted to crush her, was herself caught by the St. Louis
, cut into and sunk, most of her crew going down with her. One of the Confederate gunboats had ere this been burnt; another had her boiler exploded by a shot; while the rest were so crippled as to render them nearly ineffective; so they gave up the fight and drifted down the river, under cover of the smoke, to the protection of their batteries.
The Cincinnati was our only vessel that had suffered, and she had but 4 wounded.
A month later,5 Fort Pillow
was evacuated, as was Fort Randolph
, twelve miles below.
Some damaged guns were left in them, but nothing of much value.
dropped down next day to within gun-shot of Memphis
, where he came to anchor; and next morning, with five gunboats and four rams, slowly approached the city.
Soon, a Rebel fleet of eight gunboats was seen approaching in order of battle, opening fire when within three-fourths of a mile.
The Union ram, Queen of the West
, soon struck the Rebel gunboat, Gen
, crushing in her wheel-honse, and causing her to leak so badly that she was headed at once for the Arkansas
The Rebel gunboat, Beauregard
, now made at the Queen
, which attempted to strike her; but the shock was skillfully evaded by the Beauregard
's pilot, who struck the Queen
aft so heavily as to disable her. The Union ram