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[151]

The Ellet rams.

After the “General Price” became a Federal gunboat, the pilot-house was protected and moved forward and other alterations were made. The Ellet rams continued their useful work. Charles Rivers Ellet took the first vessel past the batteries at Vicksburg after Grant had determined upon his venturesome movement upon the city from the south. Admiral Farragut, who had come up from the Red River, requested General Alfred W. Ellet to let him have two of the ram fleet to run the batteries in order to augment the blockade of the Red River. On March 25, 1863, Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Ellet, in command of the “Lancaster,” with his nephew, Charles Rivers Ellet, in command of the “Switzer-land,” chose a time near daylight for the attempt. “These Ellets were all brave fellows and were full of the spirit of adventure,” said Admiral Porter. Scorning the cover of darkness, they got abreast of the batteries, which promptly opened on them in a thundering chorus. A shell exploded the boilers of the “Lancaster” and she went to pieces and sank almost immediately. The “Switzerland” had her boilers perforated by a plunging shot and received other injuries, but she got through; and in her and in other of the Ellet rams, Charles Rivers Ellet performed other distinguished services.

The “General Price,” a captive by the Ellet rams

Charles Rivers Ellet


 

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