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The first action of the Arkansas.

On the morning of July 15, 1862, the ‘Arkansas’ arrived at the mouth of Old River, and seeing three Federal gunboats lying off a point below, she was headed for them, and opened fire with her bow guns. (7 A. M.) They replied, one shot shattering the pilot house of the ‘Arkansas,’ mortally mounding Pilot John Hodges and slightly injuring by splinters Commander Brown and Pilot Shacklett; Midshipman Tyler, acting aid, was also shot in the forearm. Throughout the engagement of this day Commander Brown occupied a position on the wheel platform, (with his pilots,) situated forward on the gun deck, from whence he directed the movements of the vessel. Lieuts. Grimball and Gift commanded the two bow guns, and Lieut. Read the two stern 6-inch rifles, whilst the broadside guns were in charge, respectively, of Lieuts. Wharton and Barbot, Midshipmen Bacot, Scales and Talbott and Master's Mate Wilson. Two of the enemy, consisting of the wooden gunboat Tyler and iron-clad ram ‘Queen of the West,’ wore round and steamed down for the main fleet below, fighting their stern guns as they retreated. The third the iron-clad Carondelet, fought her bow guns until the ‘Arkansas ’ approached her at close quarters, when she also turned to follow her consorts. The ‘Arkansas’ ranged up alongside her and, pouring a broadside into her with her port guns, compelled the ‘ Carondelet’ to strike her colors and run ashore in a sinking and crippled condition.

Lieut Gift (in his interesting ‘story of the Arkansas’), furnishes [5] many more particulars of this fight than we have space to quote. ‘Talk about yelling and cheering,’ he writes, ‘You should have heard it at the moment on the deck of the ‘Arkansas’ to have appreciated it. In fifteen (thirty) minutes, without being checked in our progress, we had thrashed three of the enemy's vessels—one carrying arms as good as ours and two more guns than we; and one of the others was a famous ram, whilst the third, though of but little account, gave moral support to the others. * * * We now had no time to secure our prize, (the iron-clad “Carondelet” ), as the enemy would learn of our coming and swarm in the river like bees if we did not hurry. These fellows we have beaten were but skirmishers of a main army. Consequently we pushed down the river.’ Lieut. Commander Brown was twice wounded, though not disabled, in this action. Lieut. Gift also was wounded.

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W. Gift (3)
E. H. Brown (3)
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Carondelet (2)
A. D. Wharton (1)
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J. H. Shacklett (1)
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July 15th, 1862 AD (1)
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