Rebel reports and narratives.
Official report of Lieutenant Brown.
headquarters Third District, Vicksburgh July 25, 1862.sir: I am directed by the Brigadier-General Commanding to hand you the accompanying communications from Capt. Brown, of the C. S. gunboat Arkansas. The first letter refers to the fight in Yazoo River, before the ram entered the Mississippi, where she encountered the whole Yankee fleet. Whilst every thing connected with the recent trip of the Arkansas from Yazoo City to this place is interesting to all of us, it is also due to Capt. Brown and his brave crew that this, not the least brilliant of her noble exploits, should be made public. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. Girault, A. A. General.
steamer Arkansas, Vicksburgh, July 15, 1862.General: The Benton, or whatever iron-clad that we disabled, was left with colors down, evidently aground to prevent sinking, about one mile and a half above the mouth of the Yazoo, (in Old River,) on the right-hand bank, or bank across from Vicksburgh. I wish it to be remembered that we whipped this vessel, made it run out of the fight and haul down colors, with two less guns than they had; and at the same time fought two rams, which were firing at us with great guns and small arms — this, too, with our miscellaneous crew, who had never, for the most part, been on board a ship, or at big guns. I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, (Signed)
C. S. Gunboat Arkansas, Vicksburgh, July 23, 1862.sir: I beg leave herewith to send a list of names of the killed and wounded of the detachment who so nobly volunteered from the forces of your command, on — June last, to aid in making up a crew for this vessel, to wit: Killed — John Kane, private, Pinkney's battalion Louisiana volunteers; Charles Madden, private, Clinch's battalion Louisiana artillery; Henry Shields, company E, Antonio Florez, company G, and Daniel O'Sullivan, company A, of the Twenty-eighth Louisiana volunteers. Total killed--five. Wounded — Wm. Alexander, private, Clinch's battalion Louisiana artillery; Thomas Lynch, sergeant, Clinch's battalion Louisiana artillery; Bernard Martinez, private, Twenty-eighth Louisiana volunteers. Total wounded--four. Total killed and wounded--nine. I regret the loss of these men to the vessel and to their country. They fought well. Very respectfully, (Signed)
General Van Dorn's despatch.
Vicksburgh, July 15.The sloop-of-war Arkansas, under cover of our batteries, ran gloriously through twelve or thirteen of the enemy's rams, gunboats, and sloops-of-war. Our loss was ten men killed and fifteen wounded. Captain Brown, her commander and hero, was slightly wounded in the head. The smoke-stack of the Arkansas was riddled. Otherwise she is not materially damaged, and can soon be repaired. Two of the enemy's boats struck their colors, and the boats ran ashore to keep from sinking. Many were killed and wounded. This is a glorious achievement for the navy, her heroic commanders, officers, and men. One mortar-boat, disabled and aground, is now burning up. All the enemy's transports and all the vessels of war of the lower fleet, except a sloop-of-war, have gotten up steam, and are off to escape from the Arkansas. (Signed)
Earl Van Dorn, Major-General Commanding.
General Cooper's order.
War Department, Adjutant and Inspector General's office, Richmond, July 22, 1862.The successful defence of Vicksburgh against the mortar fleet of the enemy by Major-Gen. Van Dorn and the officers and men under his command entitles them to the gratitude of the country, the thanks of the government, and the admiration of the army. By their gallantry and good conduct they have not only saved the city intrusted to them, but they have shown that bombardments of cities, if bravely resisted, achieve nothing for the enemy, and only serve to unveil his malice and the hypocrisy of his pretended wish to restore the Union. The world now sees that his mission is one of destruction, not restoration. Lieutenant Brown and the officers and crew of the confederate steamer Arkansas, by their heroic attack upon the Federal fleet before Vicksburgh, equalled the highest recorded examples of courage and skill. They prove that the navy, when it regains its proper element, will be one of the chief bulwarks of national defence, and that it is entitled to a high place in the confidence and affection of the country. By command of the Secretary of War,
S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General.
Grenada “appeal” account.
Vicksburgh, July 17.At six o'clock on the fifteenth inst., while the Arkansas was in Old River, into which the Yazoo empties, about one and a half miles from the Mississippi, she made out three of the enemy's vessels bearing down upon her--one an iron-clad gunboat, the others rams. In a few minutes they were within range, and commenced the action. The ram was more deliberate and cautious, approaching till within a few hundred yards, when she opened with her bow battery. At this the enemy turned and fled, the Arkansas pursuing directly after the gunboat, raking her by frequent discharges from her forward guns. The port-bow gun was disabled. But in twenty minutes from the time the running began, the enemy deserted their guns, having been whipped by the starboard bow gun alone! The fight began at close range, which was gradually decreased to about forty yards, and when at this latter distance the port-bow gun was again brought into action, and commenced to assist its mate to demolish the Yankee's river pride. The effects of these terrible engines were soon apparent. The crippled duck commenced his favorite dodge of hunting for shallow water, and for this purpose sheered into the left bank of the river, exposing himself to the port broadside of the Arkansas, which was poured into him at a depression, and went crashing through his sides and bottom. He did not return the fire. As he fell behind, our steam battery commenced the raking process again, which caused the rascal to haul down his colors, set a white flag, and desert his vessel. Now, the moral of this is, that our batteries and people have been afraid of a set of cowards, who stood less hammering when brought in front of an equal foe than history has heretofore recorded. The fellow ran away without scratching us. The two “swift and stiff” rams of Commodore Ellet were making splendid time down-stream, and we, in the hope of disabling or destroying them with our guns, pushed on after, but they gained steadily and gave us breathing time before the final struggle, which was soon to come. As we rounded a point the immense fleet came in view. The river seemed to be blocked up by armed vessels of all descriptions. There was the majestic Hartford and Brooklyn and half-adozen other boats, together with the cumbersome and unwieldy up-river boats, besides rams, mortar-boats and transports by the score. All were under way taking position. It seemed to me that their plan was to form a complete line across the river in the shape of the letter V, the point up-stream; the Hartford occupying the van and centre, the Brooklyn immediately astern, the right and left wings being composed of rams and gunboats of both classes. We made one dash to break the left wing, near Farragut's flag-ship. As we approached the enemy looked on in mute wonder and astonishment. Not a gun was fired at long-range. All were waiting for the moment when the dreadful missiles would be most effective. The large sloop had her eleven-inch guns charged with solid shot and bided their time with steadiness, never diverging an inch from their position; the little ones, however, edged off to the right and left, bows up-stream. Gunboat No. Six fired the first gun, loaded with grape, but with too much depression. It fell short. At the same instant the port-bow gun of the Arkansas sent a solid shot crushing through one of the iron-clads, which alone sent her to the flank. As we neared the Hartford, a ram (the Lancaster) took up her position just ahead of us, but the port gun blew her up, and the crew jumped overboard on all sides, the Arkansas running through the sinking, drowning people. Now we were in the midst of the melee; broadsides came as fast as blows from a blacksmith's hammer; crash came the shot and grape through the ports. But we were through. As soon as we came in front of Vicksburgh the enemy below showed signs of a stampede. They forthwith burned a mortar-boat, their transports got up steam, and had not our crew been exhausted we could have destroyed the whole bevy. But the thing was not over for the day. At sundown Farragut's fleet commenced passing down, eight going down and exchanging shots with us as they passed. But as we were not at our favorite range, we have no idea what damage we inflicted. Before closing, I must pay my respects to the “sturdy” rams that were to pounce upon us. The rascals gave us a very wide berth; and I would advise Abraham I. to dispense with Col. Ellet, Medical Cadet Ellet, Lieut. Ellet, etc., etc.,  (see Phoenix's Survey of Mission Dolores Railroad.) No doubt they whizzed away at Mr. Montgomery's light boats, but when they heard the ring of the true metal from our vessel, they “skedaddled.”