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On the following day, with a view to protect the river near Vicksburg until the works in process of construction there could be sufficiently completed, he ordered the heaviest steam-rains down from Fort Pillow. His telegram to General Villepigue to that effect speaks for itself:

Have those heaviest steam-rams been sent to Vicksburg? If not, send them forthwith. Otherwise, may lose the river from below. We want a few days longer to finish the Arkansas.

On the 19th he asks General Smith, at Vicksburg, if it is true that more iron is needed for the Arkansas, and if ‘no work is being done on her,’ and on the 21st he telegraphs Hon. S. R. Mallory, as follows:

I want a general order to get what rope is necessary for this army. Steamram Arkansas reported, “cannot be got ready for one month.” Is it not, possible to expedite its construction? Safety of the river depends on it now.

These despatches invite us to give here the after-history of the Confederate iron-clad whose name has just been mentioned. The manner in which she was saved from destruction, completed, and officered has already been described. The feats she performed under her dauntless commander, Captain Isaac N. Brown, who, upon General Beauregard's demand for an able officer, was judiciously selected by the Hon. Mr. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, are deserving of enthusiastic praise; the more so, since Commodore Lynch, after inspection, said of her, she is ‘very inferior to the Merrimac in every particular; the iron with which she is covered is worn and indifferent, taken from a railroad track, and is poorly secured to the vessel; boiler iron on stern and counter; her smoke-stack of sheet iron.’1

Nevertheless, on the morning of the 15th of July, 1862, that Confederate iron-clad, the Arkansas, mounting ten guns, with a crew of two hundred men, descended the Yazoo River to attack, not one or two Federal gunboats, but the fleets of Admirals Farragut and Davis, then near Vicksburg. She was met at sunrise,

1 See Captain C. W. Reid's ‘Reminiscences of the Confederate States Navy,’ vol. i. No. 5 of the ‘Southern Historical Society Papers,’ for May, 1876. Captain Reid was one of the officers of the Arkansas, and it was he who, by order of Commodore Lynch, forwarded to the Secretary of War the despatch above, pronouncing the vessel inadequate for the service required of her.

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