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[188] he has most imprudently ordered the pilot of the Era to direct the course of the Queen of the West. After proceeding for a short distance the smoke of several steamers engaged in getting up steam in order to make their escape is seen curling above the treetops: the Federal vessel cautiously doubles a winding turn in the river, hoping to be yet in time to surprise the enemy, but at the same moment he is saluted by a battery which rakes the whole length of his ship. Instead of obeying the orders of Ellet, who directs him to back out, the pilot runs the vessel aground in full sight of the enemy's guns. By this act of devotion to his cause, which might have cost him his life, this courageous man, named George Wood,1 delivers up the Queen of the West to the Confederates. Shortly after, the vessel, riddled with balls and unable to extricate herself, was abandoned by Ellet and a portion of the Federal sailors, who floated down the river on bales of cotton, and thus reached the gunboat De Soto and the Era, which had remained out of reach. They took with them George Wood, and, so far from doing him any harm, they made him pilot of the Era, which he soon tried to run aground as he had done with the other ship. Pursued by the Webb, Ellet met with the Indianola near Natchez, whose presence brought the Confederate vessels to a stop. But their number was soon increased by the Queen of the West, which had again been set afloat and speedily repaired. The roles were once more changed. The Indianola, leaving the mouths of the Red River, which it had blockaded until the 23d, was trying to gain the anchorage-ground below Vicksburg, in the hope of falling in with some other Federal ship, but her progress was delayed by two tenders loaded with coal fastened at her sides. The Confederates took advantage of this circumstance to give chase and attack her. On the evening of the 24th the Webb and the Queen of the West, escorted by two small vessels, come up with the Indianola, whose movements are embarrassed by the tenders, between Grand Gulf and Warrenton, and fire several shots into her. Her hull is soon staved in, leaks are sprung in every direction, and just as she is about to founder her commander hauls down the Federal flag. The Confederates, who

1 Ellet in his report to Porter, February 21, 1863, gives the pilot's name as Garvey.—Ed.

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