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[202] the fire of the Confederates upon that vessel, which was attacked by two of their gun-boats, the Beauregard and the Price; the Monarch evaded them by a well-timed movement, and the Beauregard struck with full force the wheel–house of the Price, which, to avoid being sunk, was obliged to head for the shore. This first encounter decided the issue of the battle, but Montgomery's flotilla fell back in vain; it could not escape from its adversaries. Carried along by the current, the combatants passed pell mell under the eyes of the inhabitants of Memphis, and continued the struggle below the city. The Confederates defended themselves with energy. Only one vessel withdrew from the contest, the Van Dorn, which had a cargo of nearly fifty thousand pounds of powder, a real treasure that must be saved. The fire of the Federal gun-boats had greatly damaged the other, the boilers of which were not sufficiently protected, and Ellet's rams arrived in time to complete the work of destruction. The Beauregard, entirely disabled, soon sunk near the shore; the Little Rebel, carrying Montgomery's flag, and the Sumter reached the bank of the Arkansas, where their crews landed in great haste. The Jeff Thompson, likewise abandoned, caught fire and blew up; finally, the Bragg sunk before she had time to get out of deep water. The Confederate flotilla was annihilated. It had lost seven vessels out of eight. The Federals were chiefly indebted for their success to Ellet and his two rams, the Monarch and the Queen of the West, which had alone fought at close quarters and made terrible use of their beaks. Not a single man had been wounded on board the gun-boats.

The battle had ended at half-past 7 in the morning, sixteen kilometres below Memphis. The inhabitants had returned to their homes silent and dejected. The city was occupied during the day, and the Federal military authorities entered into an arrangement with the mayor, for the maintenance of public order and the protection of private property. Whatever party spirit may have had to say then, their rule was extremely mild. When the Federal soldiers took down the Confederate flag, which floated over the city hall, as it was their right and duty to do, a considerable crowd gathered around to insult them, hurrahing for Jefferson Davis; no one was molested on that account.

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