previous next

[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”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lewis Randolph (4)
S. L. Phelps (4)
G. N. Fitch (2)
C. H. Davis (2)
Braxton Bragg (2)
David Tod (1)
Charles Ellett (1)
Dave Dryden (1)
Craighead (1)
Carondelet (1)
Joshua Bishop (1)
Benton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 7th, 1862 AD (1)
June 6th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: