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[203] loosening some plates of armor, but received the fire of the guns from the rear casemates. One shot carried away a dozen bales of cotton on the right side; the other, a shell, entered the forward porthole and exploded, killing six men and disabling two fieldpieces. Again the Webb followed the Queen, struck near the same spot, pushing aside the iron plates and crushing timbers. Voices from the Indianola announced the surrender, and that she was sinking. The river here sweeps the western shore, and there was deep water up to the bank. General Grant's army was on the west side of the river, and, for either or both of these reasons, Major Brent towed the Indianola to the opposite side, where she sank on a bar, her gun-deck above water. Both boats were much shattered in the conflict, and Major Brent returned to the Red River to repair them. A tender accompanied the Queen and the Webb, and a frail river boat without protection for her boilers, which was met on the river, turned back and followed them, but, like the tender, could be of no service in the battle. For these particulars I am indebted to General Richard Taylor's book Destruction and Reconstruction, pages 123-125.

The ram Arkansas, which had been previously noticed as being under construction at Memphis, was removed before she was finished to the Yazoo River, events on the river above having rendered this necessary for her security. After she was supposed to be ready for service, Commander Brown, then as previously in charge of her, went down the Yazoo to enter the Mississippi and proceed to Vicksburg. The enemy's fleet of some twelve or thirteen rams, gunboats, and sloops of war, were in the river above Vicksburg, and below the point where the Yazoo enters the Mississippi. Anticipating the descent of the Arkansas, a detachment had been made from this fleet to prevent her exit. The annexed letter of Commander Brown describes what occurred in the Yazoo River:

steamer Arkansas, July 15, 1862.
General: The Benton, or whatever ironclad we disabled, was left with colors down, evidently aground to prevent sinking, about one mile and a half above the mouth of the Yazoo (in Old River), on the right-hand bank, or bank across from Vicksburg.

I wish it to be remembered that we whipped this vessel, made it run out of the fight and haul down colors, with two less guns than they had; and at the same time fought two rams, which were firing at us with great guns and small-arms; this, too, with our miscellaneous crew, who had never, for the most part, been on board a ship, or at big guns.

I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. N. Brown, Lieutenant commanding. To Brigadier-General M. L. Smith, commanding defenses at Vicksburg.

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