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[212] rushed toward them; they did not wait an instant for her approach, but fled under a full head of steam, exchanging a few cannon-shots from a distance with the foe. The Carondelet was soon compelled to seek refuge on some sand-banks, where her light draught sheltered her from the attacks of her adversary. The latter continued the chase; and suddenly the Federal fleet, which was at anchor between the mouth of the Yazoo and Vicksburg, saw the two gun-boats enter the river, followed close by the Arkansas. This appearance was a complete surprise to the fleet. Obliged to be sparing of its coal, which had become extremely scarce, the fires had long since been extinguished; and not being under steam, it could not manoeuvre for battle. Meanwhile, the Arkansas, whose sides rose but little above the surface of the water, being only surmounted by a chimney and a large Confederate flag, leisurely proceeded down the river; the fire of the whole fleet was soon concentrated upon her; she replied, and was immediately enveloped in a cloud of smoke. When this veil was torn asunder, the Confederate was seen continuing her progress despite a shower of missiles; and before the Federalships had time to set their engines in motion in order to bar her passage, she was already moored at the pier of Vicksburg under the protection of friendly batteries. This bold stroke cost her crew ten killed and fifteen wounded. The Federals suffered much more, the Carondelet alone having had thirty and the Tyler twenty-four men disabled. The situation of the Federal fleet below Vicksburg had become critical. There was, in fact, but one sloop-of-war, the Brooklyn, and a few gun-boats to protect the mortar-boats, unable to move of themselves, the numerous transports and all the depots of the Federals. The Arkansas had so well resisted the enemy's projectiles that this rich prey seemed to be at her mercy; and nothing could prevent her from afterward pursuing her course as far as New Orleans. But while these vessels were being put in a condition for defence, and David Porter was burning one of his mortar-boats, which it had been found impossible to remove, Farragut adopted without hesitation a bold resolution. He ordered the fleet to descend the river again, passing under the fire of Vicksburg, so as to close the lower Mississippi against the dangerous visitors who had just braved his power. Night came

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