- Blockade of the Mississippi river -- Ship Island -- Biloxi and Pass Christian -- fall of New Orleans -- First attack on Vicksburg -- exploits of the ram Arkansas -- battle of Baton Rouge.
The proclamation of blockade issued by President Lincoln April 19, 1861, was put in force for the Mississippi river in June, when the Powhatan and Brooklyn took position off the passes. Other war vessels were presently added to the blockading squadron. Following this the launches of the hostile ships began a series of marauding expeditions in Mississippi Sound, and to stop this an expedition was organized by Captain Higgins. With two lake steamers, armed with cannon, the Oregon under Capt. A. L. Myers, and the Swain under Lieut. A. F. Warley, he sailed out July 6th to the cruising ground of the enemy. Finding no hostile sails in sight he decided to occupy Ship Island, and landed the guns and men, the Swain remaining while the Oregon returned to New Orleans to obtain provisions and munitions. On her return she was accompanied by the Grey Cloud, and they found the little garrison under Lieutenant Warley gallantly defending themselves from an attack by the U. S. Steamer Massachusetts. The garrison had been eking out their supply of ammunition by digging out the enemy's round shot from the sand, and when more supplies were landed by the Oregon, gave the Massachusetts so warm a greeting that she hauled off to the Chandeleur Islands. Three companies, under Lieut.-Col. H. W. Allen, were brought over from Mississippi City, and fortification of the island was begun. This work was continued in a