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U. S. Steamer, Richmond, Mississippi river, July 18, 1862.
My Dear Joe,—On the morning of the 15th of July, about 7 o'clock, we were suddenly aroused, and, in my case, awakened by the sharp clicks of the rattle. The first words I heard were, ‘the Rebel ram Arkansas is coming down upon us.’ Throwing on a few clothes I hastened on deck to ascertain the state of things. Around us lay the combined power of Farragut's and Davis's fleets. Frigates, gunboats, iron-plated boats, wooden rams and iron-cased rams were anchored along the banks for a mile and a-half. And slowly steaming along the hollow of the bend in the river, just above us, was a long, low, dull, red, floating object. She showed neither flag, [mistake], nor sign of life. A couple of gunboats were anchored ahead of us, but being the first of the large ships, we all supposed we would be the first object of attack. Her course also seemed to indicate it. Two (one) of our gunboats now fired. The Arkansas answered, taking off one man's head and wounding three others. I saw her pass the gunboats. I looked for some vessel moving to attack her. Not one stirred; only one man had steam up on his vessel. We believe he could have sunk her, (bosh!) yet he did not move a finger, because he ‘didn't receive orders.’ Slowly, steadily, gallantly, the Rebel ram kept on her way, as though she belonged to us and was quietly choosing an anchorage. She was now approaching us, and, as all the rest of the crew had been at their quarters some time, I was obliged to go to mine. I sat down and ‘coolly’ awaited the blow I knew must sink us. In a few minutes our guns were fired in quick succession. I waited, but no crash followed. I went on deck and saw the ram slowly floating below uninjured. Our solid wrought iron shot had been shattered to pieces against her sides. (He did not know as much about that as we did.) The Benton, Hartford and gunboats below poured a perfect shower of balls upon her. But she was adamant. (He was frightened.) It did not even hasten her speed, and proudly she turned a point, disappeared from sight and anchored under the batteries at Vicksburg. I doubt whether such a feat was ever before accomplished, and whoever commanded her should be known and honored. (This from the enemy.) The morning she came out, the Carondelet, a gunboat (Tyler) and a ram (Queen of the West) went up the river to reconnoiter. They suddenly met the Arkansas; one was driven ashore (what says Mr. Walke?) and the others forced to retreat down the river with heavy

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