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[125] struck by the enemy's rams, at the same time that they disabled the enemy and drove him away. The two leading vessels of the enemy's line were successively encountered by this ship. The boilers or steam-chest of one of them was exploded by our shot, and both of them were disabled. They, as well as the first vessel encountered by the Cincinnati, drifted down the river.

Commander Walke informs me that he fired a fifty-pound rifle-shot through the boilers of the third of the enemy's gunboats, of the western line, and rendered her for the time being helpless.

The action lasted during the better part of an hour, and took place at the closest quarters. The enemy finally retreated with haste below the guns of Fort Pillow.

I have to call the especial attention of the Department to the gallantry and good conduct exhibited by Commanders Stembel and Kilty, and Lieut. Commanding S. L. Phelps. I regret to say that Commander Stembel, Fourth Master Reynolds, and one of the seamen of the Cincinnati and one of the Mound City were severely wounded. The other accidents of the day were slight.

I have the honor to be,

Your most obedient servant,

C. H. Davis, Captain Commanding Mississippi Flotilla, pro tern.

Commander Pennock's despatch.

Cairo, May 13, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
News from the fleet is just received. The Mound City was injured on the starboard bow by a ram, and is now on her way to Cairo for repairs.

The Cincinnati was injured on her starboard bow and sunk in twelve feet of water. She will be raised and sent here for repairs, which will be done with all possible despatch. Commander Stembel is here at the Naval Depot, doing well. Fourth Master Reynolds of the Cincinnati was mortally wounded. Two of the Cincinnati's crew were slightly wounded. There were no other casualties. Commander Stembel fought his ship gallantly.


A. W. Pennock, Commanding and Fleet Captain.

Chicago times report.

off Fort Pillow, May 10.
At last the monotony is broken. We have had a fight and a glorious one too, purely naval, with nearly an equal number of boats on each side, and have sent the rebels back down the river badly crippled. They attacked us this morning at six o'clock, and before eight they were so badly whipped that they will never again attempt such a job.

Yesterday morning they sent a boat up with a flag of truce, ostensibly to arrange an exchange of two surgeons, captured at the battle of Belmont, but, as now appears, simply to ascertain definitely the position of our fleet.

Early this morning, as usual, our mortar-boats were towed down to their position for firing, it being a point on the Arkansas shore about one mile from the end of Craigshead Point. The gunboat Cincinnati ran down as a convoy.

Scarcely had the mortars been moored in their position, when the rebel ram Louisiana appeared coming around the point, accompanied by four other gunboats. The ram immediately opened fire on the Cincinnati, to which the latter replied with interest. The rebel boats were all held in check by the Cincinnati alone, when the rest of the Federal fleet got under way and came to her assistance.

In the mean time the rebel ram, finding her guns ineffectual against the iron armor of the Cincinnati, approached her with the evident intention of running her down. Capt. Stembel, of the latter, prepared to meet the assault of the ram by opening his steam batteries and putting them in readiness for use.

As the rebel craft approached within close range, the Cincinnati turned her head about, causing the ram to run along close beside her, when Capt. Stembel drew his pistol and very coolly shot the pilot, killing him instantly; but a second afterwards, a musket-ball struck the gallant Captain in his left shoulder, inflicting a painful though not serious wound.

At this time the contest between the two boats was most intensely exciting. The crews of each were armed with carbines, cutlasses and boarding-pikes, and were discharging volley after volley in quick succession at each other; while the ram was also endeavoring to get her head about so as to run into, and, if possible, sink her antagonist.

Just then the steam batteries of the Cincinnati were opened with terrific effect, throwing heavy volumes of steam and scalding water into the midst of the rebel crew, placing all who appeared on deck hors du combat instantly, and causing the craft to withdraw with all haste.

In the mean time the rebel fleet had been reenforced by three other vessels, and among them the new iron-clad gunboat Mallory, lately built at Memphis. These three ran immediately up to the Cincinnati and engaged her at once. She withstood the assault most nobly, the shot of the enemy glancing off from her iron plating without causing the slightest damage, while her own guns were raining shot and shell with fearful effect upon the enemy.

Capt. Stembel, though badly wounded, remained at his post and directed every movement with the coolness and deliberation for which he is noted.

During the engagement the Mallory approached the Cincinnati with the design of accomplishing that which the ram had failed in doing. As she came in close proximity, the Federal boat St. Louis bore down upon her, and coming with a full head of steam on, struck her amidships, cutting her nearly in two, and causing her to sink in a very few minutes. Numbers of her crew escaped by clinging to the St. Louis, and others

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