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[369] troops, remained the same. A diversion occurred on the 10th of May.

The ‘Montgomery Rams,’ of which four out of eight were fully armed and equipped, were induced by General Jeff. Thompson and his ‘jay-hawkers’—as the enemy called his men—to run into the Federal fleet, then besieging Fort Pillow. General Thompson took personal command of the movement—a decided and bold one—which would have resulted in the dispersion of the Federal fleet, had Commodore Pinckney, who now commanded the Confederate gunboats, co-operated in the attack, as it was his plain duty to do. Two of the enemy's gunboats, the Mound City and the Carondelet, were seriously crippled, and compelled to seek safety in shoal water. The mortar-boats—of which one was reported sunk—were towed out of range.

This is proof of what could be accomplished by our fleet, such as it was, when managed with determination and energy; and caused General Beauregard to regret still more the supineness of the naval commanders charged with the protection of that part of the Mississippi River. Small hope, however, could be entertained of a change for the better in these matters. For, on May 13th, and despite strenuous efforts on the part of General Beauregard, the two iron-clads on the stocks at Memphis were far from being finished. On that day (13th) he was informed by General Villepigue that Mr. Ellerson, of Memphis, offered to complete at once either of the two gunboats, if officially authorized, and properly assisted in doing so. General Beauregard immediately forwarded instructions to that effect, as is shown by the following telegrams:

1.

Yes, let him work day and night until finished.


2.

Corinth, May 14th, 1862.
General S. Cooper, A. and I. G., Richmond, Va.:
I have ordered the Memphis ram to the Yazoo for safe-keeping until finished. Have ordered every exertion made to finish it forthwith. It will be done in one week. May I request proper officers, crew, armament, and ammunition to be provided for it at once?


3.

See that steam-ram be properly guarded, and use every exertion to finish it forthwith.


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