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The “Essex

Below appear four picked men from the crew of the “Essex.” Seated on the right in the front row is “Bill young,” the medal of honor man whose portrait appears above. W. L. Park, to his left, was a quarter gunner, as were Thomas T. Drew, standing to the right, and Gordon F. Terry beside him. All four are typical faces of the best that service in the inland navy could produce. The firm features of these men tell of a simple heroism that so often rose to great heights in the battles of the gunboats. These men fought under “Bill” (Com. W. D.) Porter, elder brother of the admiral, in a ship named after the famous flagship of their father, Commodore David Porter, in the War of 1812. In that old namesake Farragut had his first training as a fighter and about the newer “Essex” there hung much of the spirit of the navy of former days. Aboard of her too there was abundant opportunity to exemplify that spirit as nobly as was ever done by sailors any-where. From Fort Henry till the fall of Port Hudson the “Essex” was always in the thick of the fight. One of the “Essex's” most important services came in the action of July 15, 1862. On Aug. 7 the “Arkansas” and two gunboats were lying above Baton Rouge ready to cooperate with the Confederate troops in a combined attack on that place. The troops with the aid of the Federal gunboats were defeated. Then Commander W. D. Porter started up-stream with the “Essex.” As he approached the “Arkansas,” a few well-directed shots disabled her so that she became unmanageable. Porter, seeing his advantage, loaded with incendiary shells, but at the first discharge the “Arkansas” was seen to be already ablaze. Porter and his men redoubled their efforts. The “Arkansas” managed to get near enough in-shore to make fast but her cable burnt away, and drifting again into the current she blew up. The “Essex” had accomplished the destruction of the last Confederate ram operating on the Mississippi River.

William young, gunner's mate of the “Essex

Four picked men gunners' crew of the “Essex


 

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Essex (8)
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