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[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


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