battle of Memphis
On June 4th, Fort Pillow
was evacuated, and the Federal
gunboats and the Ellet rams steamed quietly down the river and anchored not far above the city of Memphis
, under whose bluffs now lay the River Defense Fleet.
Long before this, however, Farragut
had passed up the Mississippi
as far as Vicksburg
, the advance ships reaching that place on May 18th, but seeing that it was useless to attempt to reduce the batteries without the aid of troops, he steamed down again, and on May 29th was once more at New Orleans.
The 6th of June was memorable for the meeting at Memphis
, in which no land forces lent aid or were concerned; where the ramming tactics used by both sides completely proved that this harking-back to an ancient form of naval warfare in confined waters was more destructive than well-aimed guns or heavy broadsides.
Three ships were put out of action within fifteen minutes, the Federal Queen of the West
, under command of Colonel Ellet
, sinking the General Lovell
, and in turn being rammed by the General Beauregard
so hard that it was necessary to put her ashore.
An accidental collision by the General Beauregard
and the General Price
, two Confederate vessels, put the latter out of commission.
The Federal ram Monarch's
charge upon the Beauregard
took place just as the latter had received a deadly shot from the Benton
through her boiler.
Only one Confederate ram, the General Van Dorn
, escaped destruction.
was now at the mercy of the naval force, and the river was open to the south as far as Vicksburg
A terrible disaster happened on June 17th to the gunboat Mound City
, which, in company with the St. Louis, Lexington
, and Conestoga
, had been sent up the White River
to convoy troops and transports and to assist in an attack on the Confederate batteries at St. Charles, Arkansas
A shot from a masked gun on the bank penetrated the casemate of the Mound City
just above a gun-port, killed three men, and exploded the steam-drum.
Nearly eighty men were scalded to death immediately, and forty-three others were drowned or shot by