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[386] short distance below. Fortunately, the cotton-bales with which the queen was protected, afforded an avenue of escape, and a majority of the men and officers succeeded in reaching the De Soto. I ordered this boat to be brought up as far as it was practicable without being struck, and sent her yawl to the Queen. Lieut. Tuthill and Third Master Duncan, bravely volunteered for the purpose. I remained on the De Soto over an hour, picking up men and cotton-bales. Lieut. Tuthill barely succeeded in escaping from the Queen, the rebels boarding her in skiffs as he escaped. The Queen could easily have been burned, but this could not be done while Capt. Thompson was on board, and it was impossible to remove him. All the passages had been blocked up with cotton: the interior of the boat was intensely dark, full of steam, and strewed with shattered furniture. The display of a light enabled the batteries to strike her with unerring certainty. To have brought the De Soto alongside would have insured her destruction, as the light of the latter's furnace would have rendered her a conspicuous mark.

A dense fog sprang up as we started down in the De Soto, and she lost her rudder by running into the bank. Drifting down fifteen miles, I took possession of the Era, and scuttled and burnt the De Soto and barge, knowing that the rebels would lose no time in pursuing. I pushed on down through the fog, throwing the corn off to lighten her. We reached the Mississippi at dawn, opposite Ellis's Cliffs. Mr. Garvey ran the Era, a boat drawing less than two feet of water, hard aground, actually permitting her wheels to make several revolutions after she struck, and it was with the utmost difficulty she could be gotten off. The disloyal sentiments openly expressed by Mr. Garvey, a few hours previous to this occurrence, rendered it necessary for me to place him under arrest, and fix upon me the unwilling conviction that the loss of the Queen was due to the deliberate treachery of her pilot. It is to be regretted that the unfortunate illness of Mr. Scott Long, who piloted the Queen past Vicksburgh, rendered it necessary for me to intrust the Queen to the management of Mr. Garvey.

The next morning, a short distance below Natchez, I met the Indianola. Captain Brown thought that he might be able to ascend Red River, and destroy the battery at Gordon's Landing, and I accompanied him down in the Era, leading the way. I had not gone three miles, when a break in the dense fog disclosed a steamer rapidly moving up-stream, about a mile ahead. I at once rounded to, and caused the whistle to be blown to warn Capt. Brown of her presence. As soon as the rebel steamer, which was undoubtedly the Webb, perceived the Indianola, she turned and fled. The latter fired two shots at her, but without effect. I learned afterward, that three other armed boats had been sent in pursuit of the Era, and had been turned back by the Webb on her retreat. They all went back up Red River. On reaching this stream, Captain Brown decided not to ascend it, and I thought it best to return at once. Thinking we might be attacked on the way up, I seized a hundred and seventy-five bales of cotton, and protected the Era's machinery as far as practicable. At St. Joseph I landed and seized the mails, and learned from them that Col. Adams was waiting for us at Grand Gulf with two pieces of artillery. Thirty-six shots were fired at the Era while passing the point, none of which took effect.

On reaching Island One Hundred and Seven, a body of riflemen opened a heavy fire upon the Era from the Mississippi shore. Suspecting it to he a ruse to draw us to the other side of the river, I decided on keeping the right of the Island. The furnaces of the Era became so clogged at this point, I found it necessary to stop and have them cleaned out — a delay of twenty minutes being caused by this. The Era had rely passed the Island, when a battery of three guns opened upon us from the Louisiana shore. Fort-six shots were fired, hut did no injury. At Warrenton the rebels opened fire upon the Era with two rifle twenty-pounder guns. They fired twenty-four shots, but did not succeed in striking her. Extraordinary as it may appear, there is every reason to believe that no one was killed on the Queen. It is probably attributable to the fact that those below got into the hold through the numerous hatches, and thus escaped the effects of the steam. Mr. Taylor, of the engineers, is reported by a deserter from the Webb, to be badly scalded. Twenty-four men were taken prisoners, ten of whom were civilians employed on the boat. Assistant Surgeon Booth was the only commissioned officer captured.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Charles R. Ellet, Commanding Ram Fleet. Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.


Chicago Tribune account.

steamer Era No. 5, in Red River, Feb. 15, 1863.
The career of the gallant Queen of the West is ended. Her crew are dispersed ; some are wounded, sole are killed, and more are taken prisoners. A small remnant, so far escaped from death and capture, are now twenty miles from the mouth of Red River, moving as rapidly as Providence permits, from the scene of one of the most thrilling incidents of the rebellion, toward the far-famed city of Vicksburgh.

We had intended to leave on Monday, the ninth instant, but certain repairs were, at the last moment, found necessary, and we were compelled to remain over the succeeding day.

Col. Ellet decided to run the batteries by starlight, and just at dark the chimneys of the Queen of the West and the De Soto began to vomit forth huge columns of dense black smoke, and we knew that the time of our departure was approaching. Precisely at nine o'clock we swung into the stream, the De Soto, around whose boilers and machinery bales of cotton had been placed, and on whose bow was mounted a huge thirty-two pound rifle, toward the batteries, the Queen of the West next, and the coal-barge on


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