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[371] in Old River, ten miles from the Federal anchorage, by the United States iron-clad Carondelet, the gunboat Tyler, and the ram Monarch. The Carondelet alone was superior in guns, armor, and speed to the Arkansas. Captain Brown promptly assailed this advance squadron, and, after an hour of close combat, disabled and silenced the iron-clad and drove the other two vessels to the shelter of the fleets, in the main river. Losing no time with the disabled Carondelet, the Confederate iron-clad proceeded down stream, and attacked the combined fleet of more than twenty men-of-war. She pushed through their double line of heavy ships, rams, mortar-boats, and six iron-clads, each one of which last, like her late antagonist, in Old River, was of greater force than herself. She received the fire of three hundred guns, which, at half cable's length, the lone Confederate ship returned with destructive effect, from bow, stern, and both broadside batteries. For more than an hour the combat of one to thirty lasted, until the Arkansas, cutting her way through the enemy's line of massive ships, destroying some and disabling others, passed, shattered, but unconquered, on her way to Vicksburg, virtually raising the siege of that hitherto closely blockaded city.

This combat, in its odds and results without a parallel in naval warfare, was attended with great loss to the Confederates in killed and wounded. The commander of the Arkansas, exposed on the shield deck, was three times wounded: once by a Minie-ball, touching him over the left temple; then by a contusion on the head and slight wound in the hand and shoulder; then, struck from the deck insensible, he was, for the moment, supposed to be killed, but he regained consciousness, and, dauntless as ever, resumed his place and command till the end of the battle. Among the wounded was Lieutenant G. W. Gift, who, with Grimball of South Carolina, the second lieutenant, ably commanded the bow-guns. Lieutenant Stevens, the executive officer, discharged with honor, both in preparation for and during the action, every duty of his responsible position. Barbot, Charles Reid, Wharton, and Dabney Scales, lieutenants who, like their commander, were recently from the United States navy, were alike distinguished for the bravery and precision with which they served their guns. Captains Harris and McDonald, of a Missouri regiment, with sixty of their men, volunteered for the naval service, and though they went on board only forty-eight hours before the battle, and were entirely

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Carondelet (2)
S. K. Wharton (1)
Walter H. Stevens (1)
Dabney Scales (1)
Charles Reid (1)
McDonald (1)
D. B. Harris (1)
Grimball (1)
G. W. Gift (1)
Isaac N. Brown (1)
Barbot (1)
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