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[126] were picked up by the Cincinnati; but the larger proportion went down with the boat.

While this work was in progress the other boats of our fleet had engaged the remainder of the rebel fleet, and a most terrific battle was raging, the like of which the usually peaceful waters of the Mississippi have never before witnessed.

Report followed upon report, like the continuous rattle of musketry. The rebels fought bravely and with determination, but they were met by greater bravery, skill and metal, and were being badly worsted.

Capt. Davis, on the flag-ship Benton, directed every movement of our fleet with the sagacity and style of a veteran in naval warfare. He made no mistakes. Not a boat was moved but with fearful effect upon the enemy. Did the Carondolet put her bows up-stream, it was to let fly her stern guns; did the Cairo turn about, it was that a broadside might give its destruction to the foe.

The Mound City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and the old war-horse Benton were each and all diligent and effective, while the Conestoga (wooden) lay off at a safe distance and made good use of her long-range guns.

The cannonading was fearful and its reverberations most grand and terrible. The noise was almost like one continuous report, while the broad river was covered with a dense volume of smoke that for a time completely enveloped both fleets and hid them from view. It was at this time that a report, louder and more distant than that of a gun, attracted the general attention, and when the smoke lifted a little, it was found that one of the enemy's boats was blown to atoms.

I have no means of knowing the loss of life by this terrible casualty, but it must have been very great. A few lucky fellows were seen floating about on fragments of the wreck, and were picked up by the rebel boats, but the majority of the rebel crew perished miserably.

Scarcely had the excitement caused by this fearful and unlooked — for event passed away, when a second report startled all ears, and another rebel boat with its crew had disappeared. Both vessels were blown up by the explosion of shells from our guns in their magazines. All this time our boats continued to pour their deadly rounds into the enemy, crippling such of their craft as were not wholly destroyed, and carrying death to hundreds of their crews. While themselves unhurt, they proudly defied the heaviest missiles of the rebel guns, their invulnerable armor, sloping sides, repelling both shot and shell with perfect success. No enemy could stand against such extreme and destructive fire as our boats continued to give, while their own guns were impotent for mischief, much less in their crippled condition, with three of their boats destroyed, could the rebels maintain their ground.

At twenty minutes past seven they withdrew to the shelter of their batteries.

The casualties on our side were scarcely worth mentioning. Capt. Stembel was slightly wounded in his left shoulder, and two seamen were injured, though to what extent has not been learned.

Our gunboats behaved most admirably, and all of them came out of the action without any serious damage.

The Cincinnati was in the thickest of the fight throughout, and bore the brunt of the attack, but was not injured enough to prevent her from immediately going into action again. The report that she was badly disabled or sunk is erroneous. The St. Louis, which run down the rebel Mallory, was but slightly damaged herself, and is ready again for duty.

When the engagement closed the gunboats returned to their several positions, and their crews prepared their breakfasts as though nothing unusual had happened.

To do justice in the way of credit to our officers engaged in this affair, would require the mention of all, but I cannot forbear speaking of the efficiency and signal abilities of Capt. Davis, the Acting Flag-Officer, nor of the coolness and determined bravery of Capt. Stembel.

Rebel official report: report of Captain Montgomery.

Flag-Boat Little Rebel, Fort Pillow, May 12.
I have the honor to report an engagement with the Federal gunboats at Plum Point Bend, four miles above Fort Pillow, May tenth, 1862.

Having previously arranged with my officers the order of attack, our boats left their moorings at six o'clock A. M., and proceeding up the river, passed round a sharp point, which brought us in full view of the enemy's fleet, numbering eight gunboats and twelve mortar-boats. The Federal boat Carondelet was lying nearest us, guarding a mortar-boat that was shelling the Fort. The General Bragg, Capt. W. H. H. Leonard, dashed at her; the Carondelet, firing her heavy guns, retreated toward a bar, where the depth of water would not be sufficient for our boats to follow.

The Bragg continued boldly on under fire of nearly their whole fleet, and struck her a violent blow that stopped her further flight, then rounded down the river under a broadside fire, and drifted until her tiller-rope that had got out of order, could be readjusted. A few moments after the Bragg struck her blow, the General Sterling Price ran into the same boat aft, a little starboard of her midships, carrying away her rudder, stern-post, and a large piece of her stern. This threw the Carondelet's stern to the Sumter, who struck her running at the utmost speed of his boat.

The General Earl Van Dorn, Capt. Fulkerson, running according to orders in the rear of the Price and Sumter, directed his attention to the Mound City, at the time pouring broadsides into the Price and Sumter. As the Van Dorn proceeded, the Mound City sheered, and the Van Dorn struck her a glancing blow, making a hole four feet deep in her starboard forward quarter, evidenced by splinters left on the iron bow of the Van Dorn.

As our remaining boats, the General M. Jeff.

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