Porter, as acting rear-admiral, assumed command of the Mississippi squadron at the naval depot at Cairo, which was now the headquarters.
He received from Davis intact the squadron as it had come from Foote — the Benton, the seven Eads iron-clads, and the three Rodgers gun-boats.
He had also Ellet's nine rams and several very valuable captured vessels, including the Eastport, and Montgomery's rams captured at Memphis — the Bragg, Pillow, Price, and Little Rebel.
The only vesset point were such that no commander with less than Porter's indefatigable energy and audacious readiness to take risks that promised a bare chance of success, would have ventured on the expedition.
The flotilla, consisting of the remaining five Eads gun-boats, the Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, and Pittsburgh, started on the 14th of March, Porter commanding in person, while a cooperating detachment of troops under Sherman marched through the swamps.
After overcoming obstacle
ississippi flotilla.--Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, commanding; Commander A. M. Pennock, Fleet Captain, Naval Station, Cairo.
gun-boats.--Benton, Lieut.-Com. S. L. Phelps, Lieut.-Com. W. Gwin (Yazoo River, December, 1862), Lieut.-Com. J. A. Greer (Vicksburg, Grand Gulf), 16 guns; Essex, Com. W. D. Porter, Com. C. H. B. Caldwell (Port Hudson), Com. R. Townsend, 5 guns, 1 howitzer; July, 1862, 7 guns, 1 howitzer; June 10th, 1863, 8 guns, 2 howitzers; August 1st, 1863, 8 guns, 4 howitzers.
Eads iron-Clads.--St. Louis (Baron De Kalb), Lieut. W. McGunnegle (St. Charles), Lieut.-Com. J. G. Walker (Yazoo River, Arkansas Post, Yazoo Pass, Haynes's Bluff, Yazoo City), 13 guns (reduced to 7, May, 1863); Cairo, Lieut.-Com. T. O. Selfridge, 13 guns, 1 howitzer; Carondelet, Com. Henry Walke (action with Arkansas, July 15th, 1862), Lieut. J. M. Murphy (Steele's Bayou, Vicksburg, and Grand Gulf), 13 guns, 1 howitzer; May 15th, 1863, 11 guns; Cincinnati, Lieut.-Com. B. Wilson (Vicksburg, July, 1