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‘ [14] “Cayuga” took in the affair.’ * * “It was precisely no fight at all. * * ‘As I was turning around to return down-stream I observed that the Arkansas seemed to be on fire. During this time the ‘Essex’ did not advance more than one-quarter of a mile nearer the enemy, and her fire was only occasional at that great distance.’ * * * Subsequently Captain Porter explained to me that he had intended to have the honor of destroying the Arkansas all to himself, but that on his approach to her she looked so formidable that he said he found that he had more than he could do, and required all the help he could get, and more, too.” Rear Admiral Farragut writes: ‘The Court on Fairfax did not elicit as much in the cross-examination as I hoped they would, but sufficient to satisfy themselves that there was no justification for the report of Commander Porter. * * They fully proved that he had determined to attack her alone, and only wanted Fairfax to be in supporting distance, but that he subsequently changed his mind and made signal “for close action,” while he was a mile and a half off, and by the time Fairfax got up with the “Essex,” the Arkansas was discovered to be on fire, and he then told them to return to Baton Rouge as he did not want them.’

In his official report of the operations at Vicksburg and Baton Rouge, dated September 9, 1862, Maj. Gen. Van Dorn says:

I think it due to the truth of history to correct the error, industriously spread by the official reports of the enemy, touching the destruction of the “Arkansas.” She was no trophy won by the “Essex” nor did she receive any injury at Baton Rouge from the hands of any of her adversaries. * * * With every gun shotted, our flag floating, and not a man on board, the Arkansas bore down upon the enemy and gave him battle * * It was beautiful—

said Lieut. Stevens while the tears stood in his eyes—
to see her, when abandoned by commander and crew, and dedicated to sacrifice, fighting the battle alone.

Had her former commander been present that day on deck he would have done the same thing as did Stevens. Indeed while convalescing, he wrote approvingly of his Lieutenant's conduct, adding generously that he ‘would always speak as highly of Lieut. Stevens as if he had captured the “ Essex ” and all the rest of them.’

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