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Doc. 60.-the fall of Memphis, Tenn.

Despatch from Commander Davis.

United States steamer Benton, off Memphis, June 6, 1862.
To Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: I arrived here last evening, at nine o'clock, accompanied by the mortar-fleet, under Capt. Maynadier, the ordnance steamers, store-ships, etc., and anchored a mile and a half above the city.

This morning I discovered the rebel fleet, which had been reinforced, and now consisted of eight rams and gunboats, lying at the levee.

The engagement, which commenced at halfpast five A. M. and ended at seven o'clock, terminated in a running fight. I was ably supported by the ram-fleet, under the command of Col. Ellet, who was conspicuous for his gallantry, and is seriously but not dangerously wounded.

The result of the action was the capture or destruction of seven vessels of the rebel fleet, as follows: General Beauregard, blown up and burnt; General Sterling Price, one wheel carried away; Jeff. Thompson, set on fire by shell, burned, and magazine blown up; Sumter, badly cut up by shot, but will be repaired ; Little Rebel, boiler exploded by shot and otherwise injured, but will be repaired. Besides these, one of the rebel boats was sunk in the beginning of the action. Her name is not known. A boat, supposed to be the Van Dorn, escaped from the flotilla by her superior speed. Two rams are in pursuit.

The officers and crews of the rebel boats endeavored to make the shore. Many of their wounded and prisoners are now in our hands.

The Mayor surrendered the city to me after the engagement. Col. Fitch came down at eleven o'clock, and has taken military possession.

C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer Commanding pro tem.

Report of Commander Davis.

United States flag-steamer Benton, Memphis, June 6.
Hon Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: In my despatch of yesterday, dated at Fort Pillow, I had the honor to inform the Department that I was about moving to this place, with the men-of-war and transports. I got under way from Fort Pillow at noon, leaving the Pittsburgh, Lieut. Commanding Egbert Thompson, to cooperate with a detachment of Col. Fitch's command in holding possession of Fort Pillow and securing public property at that place; and also the Mound City, Commander A. H. Kilty, to convoy the transports containing the troops, not then ready to move.

On the way down I came suddenly, at a bend of the river, upon the rebel transport-steamer Sovereign, which turned immediately to escape from us. I sent forward Lieut. Joshua Bishop, with a body of small-armed men in a light tug, by whom she was captured. She is a valuable prize.

The gunboats anchored at eight o'clock Pr., at the lower end of Island Number45, about a mile and a half above the city of Memphis; the mortar — boats, tow — boats, ordnance, commissary, and other vessels of the fleet tied up at Island Number44 for the night.

At daylight this morning the enemy's fleet, consisting of the rebel rams and gunboats, now numbering eight vessels, were discovered lying at the levee. They dropped below Railroad Point, and returning again, arranged themselves in front of the city.

At twenty minutes past four the flotilla, consisting of the following five vessels ; the flag-ship Benton, Lieut. Commanding S. L. Phelps; the Louisville, Commander B. M. Dove; the Carondelet, Commander Henry Walke; the Cairo, Lieut. Commanding N. C. Bryant; and the St. Louis, Lieut. Commanding Wilson McGunnegle, got under way by signal and dropped down the river.

The rebels, still lying in front of the town, opened fire, with the intention of exposing the city to injury from our shot. The fire was returned on our part, with due care in this regard. While the engagement was going on in this manner, two vessels of the ram-fleet, under command of Col. Ellet, the Queen of the West and Monarch, steamed rapidly by us and ran boldly into the enemy's line. Several conflicts had taken [175] place between the rams before the flotilla, led by the Benton, moving at a slower rate, could arrive at the closest quarters. In the mean time, hov<*>ever, the firing from our gunboats was continuous and exceedingly well directed. The General Beauregard and the Little Rebel were struck in the boilers and blown up.

The ram Queen of the West, which Col. Ellet commanded in person, encountered with full power the rebel steamer General Lovell and sunk her, but in doing so sustained some serious damage.

Up to this time the rebel fleet had maintained its position and used its guns with great spirit; these disasters, however, compelled the remaining vessels to resort to their superiority in speed as the only means of safety. A running fight took place, which lasted nearly an hour, and carried us ten miles below the city. It ended in the capture or, destruction of four or five of the remaining vessels of the enemy; one only, supposed to be the Van Dorn, having escaped. Two of the rams, the Monarch and Lancaster Number Three, pursued her, without success; they brought back, however, another prize.

The names and fate of the vessels composing the rebel fleet are as follows:

The General Lovell, sunk in the beginning of the action by the Queen of the West; she went down in deep water, in the middle of the river, altogether out of sight. Some of her crew escaped by swimming; how many went down in her, I have not been able to ascertain.

The General Beauregard, blown up by her boilers and otherwise injured by shot, went down near shore.

The Little Rebel, injured in a similar manner, made for the Arkansas shore, where she was abandoned by her crew.

The Jeff. Thompson, set on fire, by our shells, was run on the river-bank and abandoned by her crew. She burnt to the water's edge and blew up by her magazine.

The General Price was also run on the Arkansas shore. She had come in contact with one of the rams of her own party, and was otherwise injured by cannon-balls. She also was abandoned by her crew.

The Sumter is somewhat cut up, but is still afloat.

The fine steamer General Bragg is also above water, though a good deal shattered in her upper works and hull.

The Van Dorn escaped.

Of the above-named vessels, the Sumter, General Bragg, and Little Rebel, will admit of being repaired. I have not received the reports of the engineers and carpenters, and cannot yet determine whether it will be necessary to send them to Cairo, or whether they can be repaired here.

The pump of the Champion Number Three will be applied to raise the General Price. No other vessels of the rebel flotilla will, I fear, be saved.

I have not received such information as will enable me to make an approximate statement of the number of killed, wounded, and prisoners on the part of the enemy. One of the vessels, going in deep water, carried a part of her crew with her; another, the General Beauregard, having been blown up with steam many of her crew were frightfully scalded. I doubt whether it will ever be in my power to furnish an accurate statement of these results of the engagement.

The attack made by the two rams under Col. Ellet, which took place before the flotilla closed in with the enemy, was bold and successful.

Capt. Maynardier, commanding the mortarfleet, accompanied the squadron in a tug and took possession of the Beauregard, and made her crew prisoners. He captured also other prisoners during the action, and received many persons of the rebel fleet who returned and delivered themselves up after their vessels had been deserted. It is with pleasure that I call the attention of the Department to his personal zeal and activity, the more conspicuous because displayed while the mortar-boats under his command could take no part in the action.

The officers and men of the flotilla performed their duty. Three men only of the flotilla were wounded, and those slightly; but one ship was struck by shot.

I transmit herewith copies of my correspondence with the Mayor of Memphis, leading to the surrender of the city.

At eleven o'clock A. M. Fitch, commanding the Indiana brigade, arrived and took military possession of the place.

There are several prizes here, among them four large river-steamers, which will be brought at once into the service of the Government.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, pro tem.

Despatches from Colonel Ellett.

opposite Memphis, June 6, 1862.
To Hon. Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War:
The rebel gunboats made a stand early this morning opposite Memphis, and opened a vigorous fire upon our gunboats, which was returned with equal spirit.

I ordered the Queen, my flag-ship, to pass between the gunboats, and run down ahead of them upon the two rams of the enemy, which first boldly stood their ground. Col. Ellett, in the Monarch, of which Capt. Dryden is First Master, followed gallantly. The rebel rams endeavored to back down-stream, and then to turn and run, but the movement was fatal to them. The Queen struck one of them fairly, and for a few minutes was fast to the wreck. After separating, the rebel steamer sunk. My steamer, the Queen, was then herself struck by another rebel steamer, and disabled, but though damaged, can be saved. A pistol-shot wound in the leg deprived me of the power to witness the remainder of the fight. The Monarch also passed ahead of our gunboats and went most gallantly into action. She first struck the rebel boat that struck my flag-ship, and sunk [176] the rebel. She was then struck by one of the rebel rams, but not injured. She then pushed on and struck the Beauregard, and burst in her side. Simultaneously the Beauregard was struck in the boiler by a shot from one of our gunboats. The Monarch then pushed at the gunboat Little Rebel, the rebel flag-ship, and having but little headway, pushed her before her, the rebel commodore and crew escaping. The Monarch then, finding the Beauregard sinking, took her in tow until she sank in shoal water. Then, in compliance with the request of Col. Davis, Lieut.-Col. Ellett despatched the Monarch and the Switzerland in pursuit of the remaining gunboat and some transports which had escaped the gunboats, and two of my rams have gone below.

I cannot too much praise the conduct of the pilots and engineers and military guard of the Monarch and the Queen, the brave conduct of Capt. Dryden, or the heroic conduct of Lieut.-Col. Ellett. I will name all parties in special report.

I am myself the only person in my fleet who was disabled.

Charles Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding Ram-Fleet.

opposite Memphis, June 6, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
It is proper and due to the brave men on the Queen and the Monarch to say to you briefly, that two of the rebel steamers were sunk out-right and immediately by the shock of my two rams. One, with a large amount of cotton on board, was disabled by an accidental collision with the Queen, and secured by her crew. After I was personally disabled, another rebel boat, which was also hit by a shot from the gunboats, was sunk by the Monarch, and towed into shoal water by that boat. Still another, also injured by the fire of our gunboats, was pushed into shore and secured by the Monarch. Of the gunboats, I can only say that they bore themselves, as our navy always does, bravely and well.

Charles Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding Ram-Fleet.

U. S. Ram Switzerland, June 7 P. M., Opposite Memphis.
To Hon. E. M. Stanton:
Yesterday after the engagement with the rebel fleet had nearly terminated, and the gunboats and one of my rams had passed below, I was informed that a white flag had been raised in the city. I immediately sent my son, a medical cadet, Charles R. Ellett, ashore, with a flag of truce, and the following note to the authorities:

opposite Memphis, June 6th, 1862.
I understand that the city of Memphis has surrendered. I therefore send my son with two U. S. flags, with instructions to raise one upon the Custom-House and the other upon the Court-House, as evidence of the return of your city to the care and protection of the Constitution.


Chas. Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding.

The bearer of the flag and the above note was accompanied by Lieut. Crankell of the Fifty-ninth Illinois regiment, and two men of the boatguard.

The following is the reply of the Mayor of the city:

Mayor's office, Memphis, Tenn., June 6, 1862.
Charles Ellett, Jr., Commanding, etc.:
sir: Your note of this date is received and the contents noted. The civil authorities of this city are not advised of its surrender to the forces of the United States Government, and our reply to you is simply to state respectfully that we have no forces to oppose the raising of the flags you have directed to be raised over the Custom-House and Post-Office. Respectfully,


John Park, Mayor.

On receiving this reply the small party proceeded to the Post-Office to raise the National flag, and were there joined by the Mayor. It is proper to say that the conduct of the Mayor and some of the citizens was unexceptionable, but the party was surrounded by an excited crowd, using angry and threatening language.

They ascended to the top of the Post-Office and planted the flag, although fired upon several times and stoned by the mob below. Still I believe this conduct was reprobated by the people of standing in the place. Indeed, many evidences of an extended Union sentiment in the place reached me.



Charles Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding.

opposite Memphis, June 10, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
There are several facts touching the naval engagement of the sixth inst., at this place, which I wish to place on record. Approaching Memphis, the gunboats were in advance. I had received no notice that a fight was expected, but was informed on landing within sight of Memphis that the enemy's gunboats had retreated down the river.

My first intimation of the presence of the enemy was a shot which passed over my boat. I had four of my most powerful rams in advance and ready for any emergency.

The others were towing the barges. On advancing to the attack, I expected, of course, to be followed by the Monarch, the Lancaster, and the Switzerland.

The Monarch came in gallantly. Some of the officers of the Lancaster, which now held the next place in line, became excited and confused, but the engineers behaved well.

The pilot erred in the signals, and backed the boat ashore and disabled her rudder.

The captain of the Switzerland construed the general signal order to keep half a mile in the rear of the Lancaster to mean that he was to keep half a mile behind her in the engagement, and therefore failed to participate.

Hence the whole brunt of the fight fell upon the Queen and Monarch. Had either the Lancaster [177] or Switzerland followed me as the Monarch did, the rebel gunboat Van Dorn would not have escaped, and my flag-ship would not have been disabled.

Three of the rebel rams and gunboats, which were struck by my two rams, sunk outright, and were lost.

Another, called the General Price, was but slightly injured, and I am now raising her and purpose to send her to my fleet.



Chas. Ellett, Jr., Colonel Commanding Ram-Fleet.

Captain Phelps's letter.

United States flag steamer Benton, Memphis, Tenn., June 7, 1862.
To his Excellency David Tod, Governor of Ohio:
sir: I have sent to you for presentation to my native State, the flag which was flying from the peak of the rebel gunboat and ram, the Gen. Bragg, when captured in the naval action off this city yesterday morning.

The Gen. Bragg is one of the rebel steamers saved, and is now being prepared for the use of the Government as a war vessel.

Of the eight vessels of the enemy in this action, but one escaped; three lie buried in the depths of the Mississippi, another is a wreck on the Arkansas shore,;and three damaged by our shot, are saved.

I feel great satisfaction in being able to present to the State of Ohio this trophy, taken in an action which terminated so disastrously to the rebel cause.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant.

S. L. Phelps, Lieutenant Commanding Benton, and Acting ”Fleet Captain.“

Cincinnati Commercial account.

Footers Flotilla, Mississippi River, off Memphis, Tennessee, Friday, June 6, 1862, 6 P. M.
This morning, at forty-five minutes past twelve, all our fleet, (except the Pittsburgh,) under Commodore Davis, U. S.N., together with the ordnance steamers Great Western, and Judge Torrence, and naval supply steamer J. H. Dickey, was under way and steaming down the Mississippi for Memphis, seventy-six miles below. We pass Hatchie Landing, where we found some eight houses, besides the warehouse, three of the tenements being unoccupied, perhaps deserted. At one P. M., the “ram” Queen of the West appears in sight ascending, and passes up during the next ten minutes. In the mean time we pass the town of Fulton, which, like nearly all the small towns on landings along the Mississippi presents an antiquated appearance. Here we obtained a fine view of the entire fleet. It was a brilliant and imposing spectacle. The flag-ship Benton led off handsomely, followed by the Commodore's tug, Jessie, and two others, the Terror and Spiteful. Next came, at a respectful distance, four of the “iron-clads,” followed by the two ordnance and one supply steamer. Old Sol blazes out in all his glory, fast dispelling the dark murky clouds that betokened rain during the morning.

At half-past 1 P. M. we pass the Lanier Farm. The huge black gunboats, followed by the tugs, in grand array, dance gracefully through the water, while their quick and loud escapement of steam, furnishes music for the grand occasion. The gunboats are the St. Louis, Louisville, Carondelet, Cairo, and Mound City. Here, one gunboat passes another, giving all the life and interest of a Mississippi steamboat race. The spectacle is grand and imposing. The Star-Spangled Banner floats gracefully and free to the breeze from each craft. In the distance, with the aid of the glass, over the head of Island No.34, is seen the transports with Col. Fitch's command, steaming along in order, their white steam and white paint contrasting widely with the black coal clouds of smoke, pouring out voluminously from the chimneys of the dark “iron-clads.”

2 P. M.--We are passing Widow Craighead's place, which appears to have suffered materially since the rebellion commenced. Here may be seen large quantities of cotton, loose and in bales, floating down the river. Near this point we find the rams Lancaster, No. Three and Monarch, tied to shore, steaming, and apparently waiting for something to turn up in their line. They lay opposite the foot of Island No.34, when Captain Dave Dryden, of the Monarch, sings out loudly, “You can go on down. The Stars and Stripes wave over Fort Randolph. We put 'em up.” Five minutes elapse, and we are in full view of Randolph, and can see the left wing of our fleet approaching from above and around the foot of Island No.34. The spy-glass being freely used, Lieut. Bishop says: “There's the Stars and Stripes.” Capt. Phelps--“There's a wharf-boat they have left. See” --looking in the direction of Randolph. During all this time, Commodore Davis, with a quick, almost impatient step, quietly paces the quarter-deck. Now the “old flag” is visible with the naked eye. See, it waves gracefully from the upper corner of the warehouse, on the right, and lowest down.

In fifteen minutes more, we pass Randolph in full review. The gunboats Louisville and St. Louis are alongside on our port. Along the Bluff at and below Randolph we observe four deserted batteries, with from one to two guns mounted, which we leave to the care of Col. Fitch, who is in our rear.

2.40 P. M.--We pass Shawl's plantation, at the foot of the last of the Chickasaw Bluffs in this vicinity. The plantation is deserted, the only smoke visible being from the chimneys of one of the negro houses. Here, and all along the river, we find loose cotton abundant, having been washed in to the shores. The distance from Fort Pillow to Randolph is twelve miles--and no signs of the enemy yet. We hear they are only one hour ahead with their fleet of gunboats, and are stopping at all the plantations and burning cotton. The smoke of bales in flames proves our information correct.

Here Lieut. Phelps elevates his “martin-box” [178] aft Our officers and men are lovers of all that is gay, grand, natural, and beautiful in life, and in their professional duties, do not even overlook the comforts of the migrating bird. The scenery alongshore we will not describe, as it is very familiar to the majority of your readers.

2.50 P. M.--The Benton runs around Island No.35--the main river — while the Louisville and St. Louis go down the chute. They occupy both channels in order to open the Mississippi effectually, and teach the rebel gunboats the art of naval warfare.

3.30 P. M.--We pass Pecan Point. Here we find more cotton floating by the bale, and both negroes and whites busily engaged in gathering it up as fast as the current drifts it ashore. It is picked up in skiffs, and packed off by horses, wagons and men. At almost every plantation the advance of our flotilla is greeted by the waving of hats, bonnets and handkerchiefs, by both sexes, as well as the masters and slaves.

3.45 P. M.--We are at McGaffic's plantation on Pecan Point. The gunboats Louisville and Mound City are in sight-half a mile distant-descending the chute of Island No.35.

4.05 P. M.--We are in the bend above Island No.37, where a large side-wheel steamer, bound up, appears in sight. It is Capt. Ben. Hutchinson's old boat the Sovereign. Five minutes elapse as she nears us, when an eighty-two pounder (rifled) is fired over her. The Sovereign fails to come to, but, on the contrary, rounds down. The Commodore observes: “Fire again, Capt. Phelps, bring her to.” Accordingly the Benton lets slip another, another, and another, until she fires nine shots, the Carondelet eight, and the Cairo four shots, all of which either fall short, go over, or scatter around the Sovereign's decks. Here, owing to a bend in the river, she disappears from our view.

4.20 P. M.--The tug Spitfire, a little, wee craft tender, seventy-five feet long, with a twelve-pound Dahlgren howitzer on her bow, under Lieutenant Bishop, Pilot Bixby, and a boat's crew, starts after her. The race is exciting, of course. The tug gains, and when in range gives the Sovereign five shots.

Here the smoke of burning cotton is plainly visible on the left-hand shore. We are also hailed from the right-hand shore by two men in a “dugout,” who are brought in by the tug Terror, and prove to be our pilots Sam. Williamson, of the Louisville, and John Tennyson, of the Pittsburgh, who have been on an important reconnoissance. The Benton now descends the Tennessee side of Island No.37. The Louisville and Cairo take the other chute.

4.40 P. M.--We overtake the tug Spitfire in the chute, with her prize, the Sovereign, alongside, landed. The rams Monarch and Lancaster No. Three are also in pursuit of the prize, but arrive too late, the tug having already nailed her. It appears that the captain, as soon as he landed the boat, together with several others of the crew, jumped ashore, and made tracks for the tall timber. One of the pilots, who says his name is Lewis, after going on shore at his own request was permitted to return to the boat. Lewis says he resides near Memphis. The engineer is E. A. Honness, formerly of Cincinnati. He was found at his engines, assisted by a negro, and pumping water into the boilers. His conduct indicating he was all right, he was permitted to remain in charge of the machinery. After a few minutes' detention, in placing George P. Lord, one of the Benton's Masters in charge, the Sovereign was rounded out and proceeded with our flotilla down the Mississippi. Honness was formerly engineer on the Acacia. Capt. Baird, formerly of the Admiral, Republic, and old Sultana, was in charge of the boat, but escaped. A large Star-Spangled Banner (but no confederate flag) was found on board. The colors of our little tug were elevated from her flag-staff The engineer and pilot stated they were not aware the Federal fleet had started down from Plum Point, and that the Sovereign had been sent, and was on her way, to Fort Pillow and Randolph to convey confederate troops to Memphis. Coming up during the night previous, she had collided with the rebel gunboat General Beauregard, tweve miles above Memphis, breaking in her bow, and carrying away a portion of her stem. She had been badly used in the transportation of rebel troops, and is much out of repair. It will cost over one thousand dollars to repair her. She is capacious and roomy, and will make a first-rate naval hospital or supply-steamer. We are also hailed by men, women and children on Island No.37, their camp indicating they are refugees. We did not stop, however, our mission being of too much importance to relieve them.

Messrs. Williamson and Tennyson, while descending the river in a canoe, met several of the rebel gunboats, but evaded them by dodging into the willows and cotton-wood. They were badly used by the mosquitoes during the night previous, having slept in the woods. These gentlemen were destined for Farragut's fleet, with despatches from our flotilla. They also report seeing the Sovereign, and that she was engaged in burning all the cotton she could find along the shores. The engineer says the Captain intended to surrender the Sovereign as soon as he came in sight of our gunboats, but that his heart failed him as he approached us with his steamer. Her cargo only consisted of six bales of rope and cotton. The capture of this large steamer by so diminutive a tug, is a new era in gunboat warfare. We regret that we cannot give you the names of the crew, as they deserve especial notice.

We glide along smoothly, until 8.20 P. M., when we pass Fort Harris, only six miles above Memphis. The night is clear and mild, and pale Cynthia beams out in all her glory. All eyes and glasses are closely observing both shores, in the vicinity of “Paddy's Hen and chickens” --a cluster of islands — and on the look-out for the first glimpse of Memphis. “There's Memphis! Don't you see the lights on the Bluff?” says First Master Bates, who is on watch. Sure enough, the [179] lights are visible; we are before Memphis at 8.45 P. M., only four miles above the city. We plainly perceive, with the aid of our glass, numerous twinkling lights, together with the fires of an ascending steamer, perhaps a rebel gunboat.

“How is the water? Can we anchor here?” says Capt. Phelps to pilot Dan Duffy. “Yes, sir,” he replied, “there's plenty of water.” “Then round the Benton to,” says Capt. Phelps, when pilot Duffy gives her the wheel, bringing the huge chief of the “iron-clads” around most beautifully. While our anchor is being cast, the Commodore's tug “Jessie,” assisted by all the other tugs, dart and whiz off steam, and notify the other gunboats to “cast anchor,” while the transports are ordered to land on the Arkansas shore and throw out a heavy body of pickets. In the mean time, the men sleep by their guns, while the “boarding-pikes” are brought on deck, and the usual precautions taken to be ready for a surprise or a night-attack.

A light is discovered on the Tennessee shore, opposite to where we lay at anchor. While gazing at it, the hissing or escapement of the steam of a tug is heard. It can't be ours, as our little fleet of tugs is quietly bobbing about at the stern of the Benton. “It is a rebel tug,” says the Quartermaster; “she is within a quarter of a mile of where we lay. We'll give her a shot.” “No, that won't do, as the Commodore don't desire to wake up the enemy before morning,” says the officer of the deck. She works and whizzes away at a tremendous rate, but can't get off the bar. In the mean time, the usual taps of the bells announce the hour of 9 P. M. Thirty minutes later, a gun, supposed to be a signal, is heard in the direction of Memphis. All is quiet until 12 P. M., when the officer of the deck reports a fire where the rebel tug lies, hard and fast upon the bar. It spreads rapidly, illuminating the heavens most brilliantly, and revealing to our view the destruction of the rebel tug, Gordon Grant. Her crew, finding they could not get her off the bar, and discovering our fleet anchored near, apply the torch and escape to Memphis, and announce our arrival. Being weary and jaded, noting the many interesting events of the day, notwithstanding the beauty of the brilliant conflagration, we go to bed, anticipating still more lively and vivid scenes on the approaching morrow.

At five A. M., to-day, we arise and visit the deck of the Benton, and find we are at anchor one and a half miles above the city of Memphis. It is mild and clear, with a bright sun, and every indication of fair weather. Memphis lays spread out before us on the bluffs in all her beauty — her large and elegant buildings, and graceful domes and steeples presenting an inviting and imposing appearance. The steamers H. R. W. Hill, New National, Victoria, Kentucky and Acacia are laying at the wharf. Our fleet of ironclads, ordnance and supply steamers and transports, being in full view of the city, the bluffs at this early hour appear to be thronged with citizens. Two fine large wharf-boats are also to be seen, together with the charred, burning, skeleton wreck of the tug Gordon Grant, lying on the Island opposite where we lay, which was burned by the vandals last night. The timbers, or shape of the hull, is there, together with the chimney and propeller-wheel or flanges. Across on the Arkansas shore is the track of the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad. Two or three cars are standing on the track, while one lies careened at the water's edge, as though it had been thrown from the track. At 5.40 A. M., four or five dark, dingy-looking rebel gunboats came round the point or bend. After manoeuvring up and down the levee awhile, as though receiving ammunition and troops, Com. J. Ed. Montgomery's flag-ship Little Rebel appears in sight, and moves from one vessel to another as if communicating, preparatory to the conflict, as we soon afterwards discovered, to the delight of our seamen, gunners and “rams.” In the mean time, Col. Ellet's ramfleet, having been sent for, arrive, and lie steaming above us, ready for action.

At 6.05 A. M., “all hands to quarters” is Commodore Davis's order, throughout our fleet. In the mean time, the rebel fleet, comprising the Gen. Van Dorn, (flag-ship,) Gen. Price, Gen. Bragg, Jeff. Thompson, Gen. Lovell, Gen. Beauregard, Sumter, and Little Rebel, all rams, commanded by Commodore J. Ed. Montgomery, move up the river, the Little Rebel leading the van. Our fleet, in the mean time, advances to meet them, the Louisville and Cairo dropping below the Benton, the Cairo “head on.” The Benton is now signalled for, and takes the lead. The Little Rebel, on arriving opposite the upper end of the city, fires the first shot, the ball passing over our fleet and dropping into the river harmlessly in close proximity to our tugs, in the rear. The Benton instantly replies, when a general engagement ensues. Your correspondent, taking his position on the upper deck and in front of the Benton's pilot-house, endeavors to see how the battle progresses. “Now comes the tug of war.” Up comes the rebel rams. Down goes our ironclads, the Benton in advance. Thousands of people cover the Memphis bluffs. Another shot from the Benton, when the Louisville, Cairo, Carondelet, Mound City, and St. Louis all open out. The scene is exciting, thrilling. The ram Queen of the West, under Col. Ellet, with a full head of steam and at her best speed, closely followed by the Monarch, Capt. D. M. Dryden, pass our fleet and go tearing down after the rebel fleet. In the mean time, an incessant fire is kept up on both sides. The rebel balls go chirping, whizzing, and zip, zip, zip! very close, but over and clear of our decks and heads. See! the rams Queen of the West and Monarch. On they go, each having selected her victim. Montgomery's fleet is firing and dropping back. Go in, Queen of the West. She is headed for the Beauregard. The latter is straightening up to meet her. They come together, the Queen of the West ramming Beauregard a glancing lick near the stern. The Monarch is after another rebel ram, and striking her a flanking blow, glances off, and for a moment is [180] between two of the enemy's rams. Pop, pop, pop, pop, go the rifles of her unerring sharpshooters, who pick off the rebel gunners at their ports, thus preventing them from pouring broadside after broadside into the Queen and Monarch. Meantime, all our iron-clads are sending shell and shot after the other rebel gunboats out of the range of our bully rams. There goes our ram Switzerland a railing, followed by the Lancaster Number Three. She goes through all right, while the latter, in “backing,” goes into the bank, and being disabled, too, by knocking off her rudder, retires from the scene of action. The Monarch having got below the rebel fleet, is coming up, “head on.” The Beauregard, while preparing to receive her, misses her mark, and goes chock into the side of one of her own fleet — the Price — taking off the starboard water-wheel of the latter. The shots from our gunboats tell with disastrous effect on the enemy's boats. The Gen. Price makes for the Arkansas shore, and, careening, sinks nearly out of sight. The Gen. Lovell now receives a heavy shot, and is the second rebel boat to go down. The rams on both sides, and our iron-clads, are all in close quarters — the latter pouring in heavy shot with crushing effect. The Little Rebel is now crippled by one of our shot. She is making for the Arkansas shore, followed by one of our rams — the Switzerland. The Little Rebel reaches the shore, when Com. Montgomery and all his crew break for the timber, and by the tallest kind of swimming, escape. At one time, three of the rebel rams were, apparently, locked fast, foul, or perhaps, sympathizing with each other in their discomfiture. They receive no sympathy from our iron-clads, now pouring broadside after broadside into them, completely riddling their hulls and upper works. The hottest part of the engagement lasts some thirty minutes, when the Gen. Bragg, Sumter, Jeff. Thompson and Van Dorn, backing out with all possible speed, skedaddle off down the river, pursued by the Benton and the rest of the ironclads, all sending shot after shot after the retreating rebels.

Below, or near the foot of President's Island, the General Bragg (steamship Mexico) and the Jeff. Thompson-all faster than our iron-clads — run into the Arkansas shore, when all who were not wounded escaped to the woods under our exploding shells. The Mexico and Jeff. Thompson are captured-only one boat, the Van Dorn, escaping down the river, to tell the tale of their terrible defeat.

The first twenty minutes decided the fate of the rebel fleet, while the fight lasted from 6.15 till 7.35 A. M.--one hour and twenty minutes. Our rams, in addition to their admirable and effectual butting propensities, at the same time poured stream after stream of hot water from their ports, while their sharp-shooters, under cover, picked off their pilots at the wheel, and gunners in the ports. This is certainly the most extensive, decisive, speedy, disastrous and effectual ram and gunboat battle on record, on the Mississippi River or elsewhere. All must confess that Col. Ellett, Com. Davis, and all of their officers and men, have covered themselves with glory in this brilliant and successful engagement. Montgomery's entire rebel, piratical fleet, save the Van Dorn, have all been sunk, burned, blown up or captured.

The last seen of the Van Dorn she was making fast time — putting in her best licks — down the Mississippi, in the direction of Yallabusha River, closely pursued by a couple of Col. Ellett's swift stern-wheel rams. Both are faster, and will no doubt overtake the Van Dorn, thus wiping out the last of this piratical fleet on the Mississippi River.

In the excitement and confusion of this great victory, it is impossible to give all the interesting details, incidents, etc. Our gunboats fired over three hundred rounds of shell and solid shot, while the enemy, being annoyed from the hot water and bullets from the sharp-shooters on our rams, did not slip in over seventy rounds. The Benton fired sixty-six rounds, as follows:

No. 1 gun--Twenty-three rounds of forty-two pounds, (rifled,) heavy shot, weighing eighty-four pounds. Gunner, N. B. Willets.

No. 2--Seven nine-inch Dahlgren shells. Gunner, P. Dwyer. The third shot from this gun cut the head out of the steam-drum of the Little Rebel.

No. 3--Five rounds of nine-inch Dahlgren shell. Gunners, Lieut. Bishop and William Martin, gun captain.

No. 4--Fourteen rounds of forty-two-pounders, rifled. Edward C. Brennan, gun captain.

No. 5 (port gun)--One shot, a forty-two-pounder, rifled. Gunner, N. B. Willets. This shot sunk the General Price.

No. 5 (starboard)--Three rounds, forty-two-pounders, rifled. Michael McGraw, captain.

No. 11 (port after-gun)--Four rounds, thirty-two-pounders. Gunner, N. B. Willets.

No. 10 (starboard after-gun)--Nine rounds, fifty-pounders, rifled, by Lieut. Joshua Bishop, U. S.N.

No. 6--Two rounds, fifty-pounders, Dahlgren, rifled, by same.

We have not yet found time to visit the other gunboats, and ascertain correctly the number or effect of their shots. (Later — nobody hurt.) We have captured and destroyed seven out of eight gunboats, and three tugs.

At 7.35 A. M., in company with Lieut. Bishop, and pilots Duffy and Birch, we left the Benton in the tug Dauntless, and board and land the Gen. Bragg, a large and valuable gulf steamer. After our party remained there one hour in landing her, and placing a guard over the prize, Lieut. Bishop, on examining her hold, discovers that one of the shots she received passed through, firing a bale of cotton in her hull. After cutting away the bulkhead it was soon extinguished. The Bragg received several shots, and a hard lick from one of the rams. Her boilers were red hot, but an explosion was prevented by the timely care, attention and skill of engineer Samuel Bostwick, of the Benton. Lieut. Bishop has [181] been promoted to the command of this prize by Com. Davis, for gallant and meritorious service.

The tug Spitfire saved one rebel tug, while the tug Terror took charge of the Little Rebel.

One of the rebel gunboats, after burning to the water's edge, blew up. Her boilers and magazines exploded. It was a terrific spectacle. Fragments of the wreck were blown a distance of a mile. One of our gunboats passing at the time she went off, fortunately escaped uninjured.

None of our gunboats, seamen or officers, sustained the least injury during the engagement. We captured from eighty to one hundred prisoners from the rebel fleet. Their loss of life is over one hundred and fifty by drowning, scalding to death, and being shot by the ram sharp-shooters. We observed a number of poor men from the rebel gunboats, who were scalded, drowning. They shouted lustily for help, when small boats were lowered, and a number rescued. We have nine or ten prisoners scalded.

We regret to learn that Col. Ellett, commanding the rams, was wounded by a splinter. He was on the Queen of the West when she received a shot from a rebel gunboat. We have heard of no others injured in his command.

As our fleet passed Memphis, a gang of three hundred of Jeff. Thompson's men, under his personal command, fired on our gunboat men from the shore, without effect, however. He then made his escape by railway, for Grenada, Mississippi.

Thousands of men, women, and children lined the Memphis wharf and bluffs, as our fleet passed down fighting the rebel gunboats. There was a tremendous cheering from a portion of the populace when they saw that we were victorious.

The hull of a new and large steamer, building on the ways, together with the tug Queen of Memphis, were fired and burning, as our gunboats passed the ways, at Fort Pickering. There is a strong Union feeling in Memphis, yet the rebels are very rabid. They shouted for Jeff Davis, and used other obnoxious language.

The city council met at three P. M., when the Mayor made a formal surrender of the city to Com. Davis and Col. Fitch. The Council, at the suggestion of the Mayor, tendered two hundred policemen to assist in the preservation of order, and closing of all coffee-houses and bars. There was only one confederate flag flying over Memphis. It was on a staff in front of the Commercial Hotel, where the last Star-Spangled Banner, made and presented by Mrs. Anna Crandall, floated to the breeze thirteen months ago. The reign of terror is now over in Memphis. Our flag now waves over the city in tranquillity and triumph.

Master G. W. Reed, of the Benton, delivered the last letter from Com. Davis and Col. Fitch, to the Mayor.

During the forenoon, while the battle was raging, the office of the Memphis Appeal was removed to Grenada, Miss., by railroad. Jeff. Thompson and his men escaped in the same direction, by rail.

The Beauregard was sunk early in the action by the Queen of the West. The wheel and one side was knocked off the Price by the Monarch. The Benton put three shots through her heavy iron casemates, cotton and timber. She is sunk, a complete wreck. An eighty-four-pound shot was fired into the Jeff. Thompson's boiler. It exploded, when she burned, and was finally blown to atoms. The Sumter and Bragg were captured, and surrendered to the Benton. The name of the flag-ship that escaped is the John C. Breckinridge, and not Van Dorn, as reported elsewhere.

The following note, addressed “to any Federal Lincolnite,” was found on the desk of the telegraph office:

I leave this office to any Lincolnite successor, and will state that, although you can whip us on the water, if you will come out on land we'll whip you like hell.



Col. Fitch has a strong infantry force here. In addition to the gunboat and ram fleet, five steamers lying at the wharf are also Federal prizes.

This is glory enough for one day. Order now reigns in Memphis, under the protection of the Federal flag.

In haste,

C. D. M.

Memphis appeal account.

Memphis has fallen. But it is a source of pride to us, in this our first issue from another theatre of operations, to record the fact, that she fell honorably, and with her “flag nailed to the mast-head.” For months the city has been the object of Federal hopes and aspirations, not only because of its important position with reference to the Mississippi valley, but because it was believed that there existed among its people a Union sentiment which would extend and give tone to the community of the entire State. At last they have succeeded in attaining their object. Their gunboats now swarm before her portals; the Stars and Stripes are now flaunting from her public edifices; her streets are guarded with Federal soldiery, and a Federal commander has usurped the powers which belong to her municipal rulers. Yet not one voice, to our knowledge, has been raised in behalf of the new administration — not one heart has throbbed in sympathy with the invader.

In order to convey to our readers a comprehensive account of the surrender, we should observe that the evacuation of Forts Pillow and Randolph and taken place two days before. All of the ammunition, stores, and many of the guns had been brought away. Yet, so quietly was this done, that notwithstanding the close proximity of the enemy, they were not aware of the fact until the last man was miles away from the position, en route for Memphis, and the last dollar's worth of confederate property either removed or rendered valueless.

Thursday morning found the troops all in Memphis about to depart for another sphere of action. Thursday night the Federal fleet followed close upon their footsteps, and anchored five [182] miles above the city with steam up. At the same time seven Federal regiments were landed and marched down from Mound City to Hopefield, and deployed on the Arkansas shore to the distance of four miles below the city. At nine o'clock on Thursday evening the scout-boats of Com. Montgomery notified him of the presence of the Federals, by sending up rockets, which was the sign agreed upon, when a signal-gun was discharged from the flag-ship. Contrary to public expectation the enemy did not advance during the night, but at early dawn they were discovered slowly rounding the point behind which they had lain concealed. They formed in line of battle at the foot of the island above the city.

The confederate fleet consisted of the following boats: General Van Dorn, (flag-ship,) General Price, General Bragg, Jeff. Thompson, General Lovell, General Beauregard, Sumter, and Little Rebel, all rams, and was under the command of Corn. Montgomery. Owing to the fact that the Van Dorn had on board over two hundred thousand dollars' worth of public property — a part of which was one hundred thousand pounds of powder — the flag of the Commodore had been transferred to the Little Rebel. Each of these boats carried an armament of two guns, with the exception of the Jeff. Thompson, which had four. The instructions given in by the Commodore to the captains, were that they should fight as long as their coal lasted, or until they were disabled, when they were to sink, burn, or blow up their respective crafts, rather than allow them to fall into the hands of the enemy.

The Federal gunboats consisted of the following: the gunboat Benton, (flag-ship of Commodore Davis,) Captain Phelps commanding; she mounts fourteen guns; gunboat St. Louis, Capt. McGanegle, thirteen guns; gunboat Mound City, Captain A. W. Kelley, thirteen guns; gunboat Louisville, Captain Dove, thirteen guns; gunboat Cairo, Captain------, thirteen guns; gunboat Carondelet, Captain Walke, thirteen guns; three mortar-boats, and twenty rams and transports, including the Monarch, Queen of the West, Lancaster No. Three, John H. Dickey, Henry Von Phul, Cheeseman, and others, the whole fleet numbering forty-two. This overwhelming force advanced, as near as we can describe it, with several of their rams in front, their iron-clad gunboats in the centre, two and three abreast, and their mortar-boats and transports bringing up their rear.

The fight was commenced by the confederate ram Jeff. Thompson, which fired several shots, to which no reply was made. Soon after, however, the firing became general, and for three quarters of an hour the booming of the heavy artillery was incessant, the Federal fleet firmly advancing and our own little fleet slowly retiring. During this cannonade an attempt was made by a Yankee ram, the Lancaster Number Three, to run into the Beauregard; but, by a skilful manoeuvre, the latter eluded the shock, and in turn dashed into her Federal antagonist, striking her a tremendous blow just forward of her wheel-house, which so disabled her as to make it necessary to run her ashore to prevent her from sinking, and the crew from drowning.

The Federal ram Monarch made directly for the confederate fleet, and passed down rapidly. The Beauregard and the Price now made for the Monarch, all three coming rapidly together, but, unfortunately, the blow aimed by the Beauregard at the Monarch missed its object, and struck the Price on the wheel-house, which was entirely torn off, and from which injuries she subsequently sank in shoal-water on the Arkansas side. Her hull is still visible.

Soon after these collisions had taken place, it was discovered that the General Lovell had been struck by a shot, which disabled her machinery. She was then headed for the Tennessee shore, but before reaching the same she was struck by a ram, and instantly sunk in deep water about two hundred yards from shore, at the foot of Huling street. While the Lovell was sinking, several boats, manned by non-combatants, left the shore to aid the crew who were struggling in the water, when, with a brutality characteristic of Yankee conduct during the war, two broadsides were fired at them from two of the passing gunboats of the enemy. Among the killed, by the sharp-shooters, of the crew of the Lovell, was Capt. William Cabell, the pilot, who received a shot through the head and died instantly. Another boat, the Little Rebel, was disabled about this time by a ball, when a Federal gunboat ran alongside, and depressing her guns, poured in a broadside below her guards, which, to use the language of one of her crew, “fairly blew her bottom out.” Most of those on board escaped by swimming ashore, Com. Montgomery being among the number. His escape was made after an encounter with three Yankee pickets, who demanded his surrender as he was nearing the shore. In the fray we have every reason to think somebody was hurt.

Here the narrative of the fight terminates. The Jeff. Thompson, Beauregard, Sumter, and Bragg were respectively disabled, run ashore, or set on fire, their crews meanwhile escaping to the woods. The Jeff. Thompson is blown up, the Beauregard sunk near the shore, her upper-works remaining above the surface. The Sumter and Bragg were the only boats that could be brought off, and these were subsequently anchored in front of the city, with the odious flag of the invaders flying at their mast-heads.

Finding that the Van Dorn, after a long pursuit, could not be overhauled, a portion of the Federal fleet returned to a position in front of the city, when a boat, bearing a white flag, approached the levee and landed an officer and three men, who at once proceeded to the Mayor's office, and presented the following demand for the surrender of the city:

U. S. Flag-steamer Benton, off Memphis, June 6, 1862.
sir: I have the honor to request that you will surrender the city of Memphis to the authorities [183] of the United States, which I have the honor to represent.

I am, Mr. Mayor, with high respect, your most obedient servant,

C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer Commanding, etc. To his Honor the Mayor of the City of Memphis.

Mayor Park replied as follows:

Mayor's office, Memphis, June 5, 1862.
C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer Commanding, etc.:
sir: Your note of this date is received and contents noted. In reply, I have to say, that the civil authorities have no means of defence; by the force of circumstances it is in your hands.


John Park, Mayor.

The first of the public buildings visited by the small squad that came ashore was the post-office, over which the Federal flag was raised. In passing through the streets no disturbance occurred, but the crowd at every corner gave the most unmistakable signs of their hostility to the government whose ensign was about to be thrown out. It was reported that one pistol-shot was fired at the men on the post-office engaged in raising the flag, but we were unable to obtain any authentication of the rumor. Groans and hisses greeted the enemy's banner, and the spirit of the populace was so strongly manifested, that it was thought advisable by the Federal officers to place a guard around the flag, which was done.

During the afternoon Mayor Park received a second communication from Com. Davis announcing that he had placed the city under military authority, and that he would be pleased to have his cooperation. We subjoin the correspondence:

U. S. flag-steamer Benton, off Memphis, June 6, 1862.
sir: The undersigned, commanding the military and naval forces in front of Memphis, have the honor to say to the Mayor of the city, that Col. Fitch, commanding the Indiana brigade, will take military possession of the city immediately.

Col Fitch will be happy to receive the cooperation of his Honor the Mayor, and the city authorities, in maintaining peace and good order; and to this end he will be pleased to confer with his Honor at the military headquarters, at three o'clock this afternoon.

The undersigned have the honor to be, with high respect, your most obedient servants,

C. H. Davis Flag-Officer Commanding Afloat. G. N. Fitch, Colonel Commanding Indiana Brigade. To his Honor the Mayor of the City of Memphis.


Generals: Your communication is received, and I shall be happy to cooperate with the Colonel Commanding in providing measures for maintaining peace and good order in the city.

Your most obedient servant,

John Park, Mayor.

After a consultation between the commander of the Federal land forces and the Mayor, the city was placed under the control of a strong guard of Federal troops. During a walk through the streets after midnight Friday night, we passed several of the patrolling parties. Everything was quiet, and but few persons were seen upon the streets. During the afternoon succeeding the battle, the business houses were all closed. The people kept aloof from the enemy, and they were not interfered with until a squad was sent to remove the confederate flag from the mast on Front row. This the crowd refused to permit to be done, when two companies were landed from one of the transports and marched to the spot. After surrounding the pole, and a dispute of several hours, during which a collision was several times imminent; it was cut down amidst the execrations of those present against their invaders, and Vociferous huzzas for the Confederacy, Jeff Davis, etc.

That the fleet of the enemy was vastly superior to ours, not only in the number of vessels, but also in the weight of ordnance, was well known before it was determined to give battle. Why this conclusion was arrived at, will be explained by the report of Commodore Montgomery, and until that document appears we decline all comment. Our men commenced the fight gallantly, and prosecuted it bravely. No censure can attach to their conduct, which was witnessed by thousands who had congregated upon the bluff. Our loss of men will not, we believe, exceed fifty in killed and wounded, and one hundred prisoners. On the boats captured and destroyed, there was but a small quantity of stores and munitions, and everything in the city of value to the government had been removed. Beyond the mere fact of obtaining possession of the position, the victory of the enemy was a barren one. They have only learned of the existence of a condition of things which we are proud to record of the Bluff City — namely, that her citizens remained loyal to the confederate cause, and that none of that Union spirit which has so long been charged as existing among her people was manifested. The city is conquered, but her people are not crushed, or converted to Lincolnism — neither have they lost a particle of hope in the ultimate success of the South. They almost unanimously pledged themselves to the cause at the ballot-box a year ago, and they remain true to the pledge, even under the great adversity that has overtaken them. To their honor be it recorded!

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