Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford – From the Personal Journal of Wm. C. Holton

July 15th. Has changed the affairs of the fleet materially. Before daylight a firing of cannon had been heard up the river, and a gunboat had been dispatched to reconnoitre. As time passed, the firing neared us, and soon cannon balls could be seen dropping into the river below a-bend which hid objects from our view. The enemy proved to be the rebel ram Arkansas, which had chased our gunboat down the Yazoo river, and now came booming along, firing at our ships as she came. As no danger was apprehended, our ships were all lying without steam, and so near together that for one to fire endangered the rest.

All hands were called to quarters, and the ram came on and passed us, while each vessel which could fire upon her, did so, but we were not able to sink or disable her. Preparations were immediately made to follow her, and on the same evening our ships got under way, resolved to run down by the batteries and destroy the ram if possible. We commenced firing about dark, the ball being opened by Commodore Davis’s iron-clads, and in twenty minutes from the time of opening fire, we were in full blast. We passed slowly by the city, receiving fewer shots than formerly and being unable to discover the ram, which had been secreted behind a huge wharf-boat, and consequently we were unable in the darkness to harm her. We came to anchor below the city, and found our casualties to be, in killed three, and Captain Broome and Mr. Hoffman severely, and four of the crew slightly, wounded.


Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford–Wm. C. Holton

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