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[223]

The Mosquito fleet.

In the picture above of gunboat “Number 54,” the “Nymph,” is seen — a typical example of the river steamers that were purchased by the Government and converted into the so-called “tin-clads.” This kind of vessel was acquired at the suggestion of Flag-Officer Davis, who saw the necessity of light-draft gunboats to operate in shallow waters against the Confederates constantly harassing the flotilla from along shore. These “tin-clads” were mostly stern-wheel steamers drawing not more than three feet. They were covered from bow to stern with iron plate a half to three-quarters of an inch thick. When Admiral Porter succeeded Davis in the command of the Mississippi squadron, it had already been reinforced by a number of these extremely useful little vessels. One of Porter's first acts was to use the “tin-clads” to prevent the erection of Confederate fortifications up the Yazoo. The “Queen City” ( “tin-clad” Number 26) was commanded in the Vicksburg campaign by Acting Volunteer Lieutenant J. Goudy, one of those to receive special mention in Admiral Porter's official report on the fall of the besieged town. In June, 1864, the “Queen City” was stationed on the White River, patrolling the stream between Clarendon and Duvall's Bluff, under command of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant G. W. Brown. On the 24th, she was surprised by a Confederate force under General Shelby, who attacked her with artillery about four in the morning. After a sharp struggle of twenty minutes the little “tin-clad,” with her thin armor riddled with shot, surrendered. After stripping her of the nine guns and her supplies, the Confederates scuttled and burned her. Such were the chances that the “tin-clads” constantly took.

The warship Nymph from the “Mosquito fleet.”

The warship Queen City from the “Mosquito fleet.”


 

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