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[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

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