unused to the exercise of great guns, formed an effective portion of the Arkansas's
It is but a just tribute to the brave men who figured in this engagement to add, that they did so, knowing the odds against them, and with the resolution, inspired by a short address of their commander, as the fight was about to begin, to succeed in their work or perish.
The conflict here so briefly sketched took place in close proximity to the Federal
army encamped on the west bank of the river, but not in view of the city of Vicksburg
The solitary Confederate ship was thus within hearing, but not within reach of aid from her friends.
The subsequent history of the Arkansas
may be given in a few words.
On the evening of the 15th (July), the day of the double battle above Vicksburg
, she engaged the fleet of Admiral Farragut
, passing Vicksburg
, and, in the latter action, had both her armor and machinery further damaged, suffering also severely in killed and wounded among men and officers.
A week later, when the crew of the Arkansas
had been reduced to twenty-eight men, by sickness and the detachment of the Missouri
volunteers, the ironclad Essex
, aided by the strongest ram of the Federal fleet, attacked her. Both assailing vessels, though running into the Arkansas
, were repulsed, but with a loss to the latter of half her crew, killed by the cannon-shot of the Essex
. Not daring to make another attack, the Union
forces abandoned the blockade, some going down and others up the river.
Unfortunately the damaged condition of the Arkansas
would not allow pursuit.
Of admirals and naval commanders who have achieved exalted fame, none accomplished a more fearless feat, with a better result, than the commander of the Confederate iron-clad Arkansas
. His name, and, coupled with it, the names of his brave officers, merit lasting honor at the hands of the South
Nor are the men who formed that matchless crew, because their names are unchronicled, entitled to less applause.
On the 20th and 22d of May, General Villepigue
informed General Beauregard
that the enemy had sent to Fort Pillow
two hundred prisoners, most of whom were sick with smallpox, and who had been received, without his authority, by the second officer in command.
Believing, as did also General Villepigue
, that this would result in communicating that terrible disease to the garrison, and thereby destroy its effectiveness, General Beauregard