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Engagement at Gaines's Landing.


Report of rear-admiral D. D. Porter.

flag-ship Black Hawk, Mississippi Squadron, Mound City, June 3, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a report of Acting Ensign H. B. O'Neill, commanding United States steamer Curlew, giving an account of an attack made upon that vessel, on the morning of May twenty-fifth, by a rebel battery of ten or twelve guns, opposite Gaines's Landing. It appears that, although taken somewhat by surprise, all were quickly at their stations, and behaved well during the engagement, which lasted about twenty minutes.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

David D. Porter, Rear-Admiral. Hon. Gideon Wells, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Report of Acting Ensign H. B. O'Neill.

United States steamer Curlew, May 24, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to report to you that at five o'clock this morning, when opposite Gaines's Landing, Arkansas, we were fired into from a battery on shore, consisting of ten, if not of twelve, guns. At least six full volleys were fired at us. One twelve-pound shell struck the casemate of this vessel, lodging upon the ground without exploding. Two six-pound solid shot went through the casemates about midships on port side, just above the deck, without doing any material injury. Shrapnel flew thick around, two or three small balls penetrating the cabin.

One of their guns evidently was of large calibre, as several shots went far over and beyond the vessel. No one on board was injured, although several of the crew had narrow escapes. Notwithstanding the crew was just turning out of their hammocks, and having been but little accustomed to such attacks, they acted with coolness and promptness during the engagement, which lasted about twenty minutes, working the guns with alacrity — firing twenty-eight rounds with a good degree of precision. Some of the shots from our gun were seen to strike in their midst.

The United States steamer Tyler being about two miles in advance of us, I blew the whistle to notify her that I was engaging a battery. Before she arrived they left the ground.

After consultation with the commander of the Tyler, it was deemed best, the battery having, left, to proceed on our way.

Some distance above we met the transport steamer Nicholas Longworth, when we were ordered by Lieutenant Commander James M. Prichett, of the Tyler, in company with the United States steamer Romeo, to return and convoy her below where the battery was, which we did, without meeting any further difficulty. This caused a delay in our arrival at Cairo of at least twelve hours.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. B. O'Neill, Acting Ensign, Commanding. Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.

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