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‘ [10] of sharpshooters and several batteries of field pieces, ranging from six-pounders to 24-pounders. I found it impossible, under these circumstances, to board the rebel boat, though such was my original intention. * * Seeing no hope of relief or assistance, I now concluded to run the gauntlet of the enemy's lower forts and seek an anchorage below the fleet.’

This charge of having no ‘relief or assistance’ was sharply resented by Porter's superiors. Flag Officer Farragut writes to Davis: ‘I regret to say to you how much I was disappointed and chagrined at the results of Porter's fight this morning. It appears that in the first place he missed striking the ram by their skilful management of her in loosening their shorefast, whereby Porter slipped by her and ran ashore.’ Then Flag Officer Davis writes Farragut:

I am also entirely dissapointed in the result of the morning's work, which last night seemed to me to promise very fair. I do not understand where the “Sumter” was this morning. Col. Ellet went down according to the plan and struck the ram in such a manner as to injure her, to what extent my observers cannot form an opinion until the sun falls upon her. Col. Ellet's ram ( “Queen of the West” ) is cut to pieces with round shot and grape, but, strange to say, though many persons in her small crew were struck, no one was killed and no one even seriously wounded. * * * I charge Commodore Porter, in his statement of the conduct of the “ Benton,” and other vessels of the squadron on that day, with a misstatement of facts, so well-known, so directly observed and actively participated in by hundreds of people, that this statement cannot be regarded as otherwise than deliberate; and I also charge him with calumniating his commander-in-chief.

A Confederate account of the action is as follows: A more opportune moment to destroy the ‘Arkansas’ could not have been chosen, as many of her officers and all but twenty-eight of her crew were ashore in the hospitals, and she lay helpless at anchor with a disabled engine. * * * In about half an hour after the firing had begun (the upper fleet engaging the land batteries) the large and formidable iron-clad ram, the “Essex” emerged from the smoke above and made directly for the “Arkansas.” Commander Brown received the attack at anchor, with a crew sufficient to work two guns, but with the aid of his officers he was able to man all the guns which could be brought to bear. When the muzzles of the guns were nearly touching each other, the broadside of the “Arkansas ” was exchanged for the bow guns of the “Essex.” As the latter

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