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[467] She was in a nearly sinking condition at the close of the engagement, and was towed to the east bank of the river and there made fast. A lieutenant (of infantry, it is said), with a small detachment, was put in charge of her till repairs could be made. Her reappearance under the Confederate flag was so much dreaded by the Federals above Vicksburg, that they devised the following trick to secure her total destruction by her captors: A coal-barge was covered with timber and plank, and so painted as to resemble closely an iron-clad. Imitation guns were provided, and every means employed to give the imitation the character of a formidable verity. Thus prepared, it was turned adrift to float down near the Indianola. Its real character was detected by the batteries at Vicksburg, but it met with better success when it came near the inexperienced infantry officer in charge of the Indianola. Fearing an attack, the Lieutenant did just what the shrewd Federals had hoped — fired his boat and decamped.

I am glad to be able to adduce the testimony of an eye witness, who was throughly acquainted with the whole transaction, in the shape of a letter from Lieutenant William T. Patten, to Lieutenant John B. Rowan, of the Third Maryland artillery.

on board C. S. Ram, Queen of the West, Alexandria, La., March, 3d, 1863.
Dear Rowan,--The evening I left you we proceeded down the river. When we came to the Indianola she was still burning, having been fired by the officer in charge, on discovering the terrible iron-clad coal-barge which passed Vicksburg on Wednesday. We reached Natchez on Saturday morning, when the guards all got drunk, and we were detained two or three hours getting them on board, and even then, left behind a Lieutenant and four men. When we got started we had a grand time as they were still drinking and wanted to thrash the Captain for remonstrating with them. At the mouth of Red river I got off, and the boat went down to Port Hudson. On Saturday night I got on board the steamer Doubloon, bound up Red river. About 11 o'clock A. M., yesterday, I passed Fort Taylor where the Queen was taken. The Fort mounts three heavy guns which were casemated. They also have a raft to swing across the river to stop boats from passing. We arrived there last night about 9 o'clock, and, on coming on board, found our men enjoying a game of cards. They were glad to see me.

O'Connell and O'Brien are on the Webb, lying alongside. I can get them whenever we leave here. Edgar is on this boat. Jack Foley

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