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fan-tails, so as to prevent cutting there, and also heavy frames inclosing rudders, and ironed. Along the casemate, where the iron is light, I have had z-inch plate flanged and firmly bolted, to increase the strength of the angle at that vulnerable point. If we have time to secure the bows with 2-inch plates already here, we will be able to split any boat that hits us there.
“ Colonel Ellet is here now with some half-dozen rams. I am exceedingly glad that no naval officers were asked to take these same rams. They serve to count as it is; and if we can get among the rebel fleet, and by our fire prevent the use of their guns, these rams ought to be of service in sinking the rebel craft, which, on account of their being so stuffed with cotton, is a difficult thing to accomplish with shot alone. I have written this amid great confusion and many interruptions. I have been thinking how much I had reason to be thankful for in the fortune that has befallen me in this war. The success with the crazy Conestoga, the transfer to this fine command, with you as commander-in-chief, and now, in your temporary absence, with Commodore Davis in your place, is a series of good luck that I am fully sensible of, and, I trust, duly grateful for. Few, if any, have been so favored.
“Respectfully and very truly yours, S. L. PHELPS.”
Ellet's rams, according to the writer's testimony, did effective work a few days after this at the great fight at Memphis; but the following extract from a letter, dated June 4th, is very amusing:
“Our Ram Colonel is as crazy as our friend Sturges. He has been writing absurd things to the commodore, quoting his instructions from the War Department to prove that he is not under orders of the naval officer commanding; and he proposed running the fire of the fort and attacking the rebel fleet below. In his letters to the War Department, he styles his mode of warfare as peculiar, and not likely to be approved of by naval officers; and that, therefore, it is not possible that he should be restrained by their authority. The War Department is cautious in replying; but, upon the whole, desires that the naval commander should not interfere, unless the operations of the Ram Colonel would greatly interfere with the regular naval operations, or imperil public interests, or to that effect. The Ram Colonel wrote that he proposed immediately to proceed against the rebel fleet, passing the fire of Fort Pillow. The commodore replied that while he did not approve of the enterprise, he would offer no opposition, and wished him all luck. Two or three days after, sure enough, the Ram Colonel got under way in a rain-squall, and started down around Craighead Point, followed by the junior rams. Head ram had not passed from our view before a fire was opened from the fort, and ram's head came around double quick, and all the rams paddled back, followed by a sharp fire from the fort, though we could not in the rain judge of how the shot fell. A few minutes after our rams had come up, two rebel rams appeared round the Point, and, as plainly as rams ever talked, said, Come on, Yankee rams; we are here on neutral ground ready to butt our difficulties out;' but Yankee rams said not a word. The conclusion is, we shall hear no more from our Ram Colonel about running batteries.”
Paymaster Wise writes, May 25th : “ As long as you remain in Cleveland, we feel that you are get our dear flag-officer, only away for a short time; but if you go to New York, we fear they won't let you come back."
Quartermaster-General Meigs says at the close of a business letter:
"I regret that your wound should have compelled you to leave the flotilla, built up by your exertions, and led to victory, before its work was all completed by a junction with the fleet from below; but congratulate you upon the successes you were allowed to obtain, and upon the love and admiration which you have secured from all true Americans."
Although sick and weak, he seems during his stay at Clereland to have written much, especially in favor of the claims of certain naval officers, to obtain for them positions and commands which he thonght were deserved for past faithful services. He did not forget his friends; he followed up their claims with great persistency until he had secured the prize. They knew they could depend upon his practical support in the struggle for honorable advancement, and this knit him to them with hooks of steel. One of them says:
“ It is no fault of yours that I am not to be confirmed-indeed, you have labored hard for it; and if it should be so decided that we do not
meet again in the flotilla, accept my thanks for past kindnesses, with the assurance that I shall always entertain the strongest possible friendship and esteem for you."
At the May session of the Connecticut Legislature, the following vote of thanks was passed :
“STATE OF CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ,
May Session, A.D. 1862. “ Resolved, That the State of Connecticut has abundant reason to be proud of her heroes in the Army and Navy of this nation; and that while history can not fail to do justice to our fallen martyrs, we, without invidious motives, do now accord to Commodore Andrew H. Foote, of the Navy, our earnest and unqualified praise for the great energy, perseverance, and patience which he has exhibited while in command of the Federal flotilla on the Western rivers; and especially for the great bravery and skill with which he has fought and won his successive battles. And most cordially do we sympathize with him while suffering from wounds received in battling for the right.
“ Resolved, That as a testimonial of our kind regard for him, the clerks of this General Assembly be directed to prepare and transmit to him a copy of these resolutions."
The main features of the naval battle of Memphis have already been briefly mentioned; but the particulars of this combat are given in a letter of Phelps to Foote in a way that one could not give who had not been himself an actor:
“U. S. FLAG-STEAMER ‘BENTON,' MEMPHIS, 7
June 9, 1862. "Flag - OFFICER A. H. FOOTE, U. S. N., commanding Flotilla, Western
Waters, Cleveland, O.: “MY DEAR SIR,—I have been most anxious to write to you since our battle on the 6th instant, but must in justice to myself confess that I have hardly known whether I have been on my head or heels since that date. I had two days and nights of hard work and anxiety before the fight took place; have had prizes—war vessels and transports—to save, send off, repair, and provide with people, to say nothing of a thousand wants of the people of Memphis to look after.
"I sent you yesterday a copy of the Memphis Appeal, containing a really fair statement of the fight, which was witnessed by thousands on the bluff. The rebel boats insisted on remaining before the city, notwithstanding that we were an hour under way half a mile above, giving a fair opportunity for them to come up to the attack if they intended fighting away from the city, or to drop below where we could follow and attack them. The rebels forced us to fire on them without regard to the consequences to Memphis by opening upon us. We exchanged a number of shots, when Colonel Ellet, with the Ocean Queen and Monarch, dashed down at the enemy, we at the time turning one ' slow length' around for the same purpose. The rebels were evidently disconcerted by this move; and the Ocean Queen failing to hit the Beauregard, made a pass at the General Lovell, cutting her through; and that vessel sunk in a few minutes, many of her crew going down with her; and she is entirely out of sight. This is all the rams did, except the confusion created by them gave us better chances at the rebel craft. The Monarch missed the General Price, and the Beauregard, missing the Monarch, cut away entirely the port-wheel and wheel-house of the General Price. This ended the rams' doings, as rams, on either side. The Beauregard, in backing out from the General Price, gave me a broadside shot, at close range, with a 42-pounder, and I sent a shot into her boiler, blowing her up. Some fourteen of the scalded people are on our hands. How many were killed we do not know. The vessel soon sank, and has since gone to pieces. The Benton then, as throughout the action, was considerably in advance of the other vessels, seemingly the most speedy of them all, and pursued the now retreating rebels with an accuracy of fire and an execution really terrible. The Jeff. Thompson was disabled and set on fire by shells, and was destroyed in a splendid explosion. The Sumter was soon disabled, and then the Bragg-which vessel had been fired by one of our rifled shot bursting in her cotton protection. The Little Rebel received a shot in the boiler about the same time the Beauregard did, and her fate was sealed. Mr. Bishop has command of the General Bragg, Mr. Erben of the Sumter, and Mr. Hoel will have the Little Rebel. The General Van Dorn escaped, but was badly injured. If the rams had done their duty, she would have been captured also; but after the first dash we saw no more of them. Colonel Ellet was wounded by a pistol-shot in the leg, and his vessel was disabled. His dash was bold and well executed. There was some firing of small-arms from the woods, and at the same time cheers from the banks. This is a destruction of
their feet which there is no dodging. Fifteen thousand people witnessed it. I carried the demand for the surrender of the city to the mayor, and was saluted by a number of ladies; and passed through the immense crowd without molestation, or evidence of an exasperated or bitterly hating people, and saw no scowling women. The city is quiet, and things go on smoothly. I have been much distressed to hear of your continued ill-health. I had hoped that by this time you would have been entirely recovered and ready to return to your fleet; but I fear this is as remote in prospect as at any time heretofore. I have not heard from you since about the 27th ultimo. Do let me hear as frequently as you can. You must know that my anxiety to hear of your condition is very great, being bound to you alike by personal attachment and a grateful sense of continued kindness and assistance.
S. L. PHELPS."
When we think that the Benton, so powerful in fight, had been prepared by Commodore Foote especially for his own flag-steainer, we can not but imagine that these letters, recounting her force and success, must have gone home to the heart of the sick man laid aside almost hopelessly; while at the same time he rejoiced at his fleet's efficiency, thus making its way conqueringly down the river.
A letter from Captain Paymaster Wise brings into view another side of the flotilla—its needful but quiet hospital work:
“OFFICE OF THE NAVAL DÉPÔT, CAIRO, June 12, 1862. “MY DEAR COMMODORE,—Your letter of May 30, and your note, by Mr. Henriques, of the 5th of June, I duly received. We all regret that you do not improve more rapidly, and think that a little mountain air would help you.
* Mr. Henriques is here, and Paymaster Dunn and myself will do all we can to effect a speedy and proper settlement of his affairs. Mr. Henriques is improving in health. I will see that his pay accords with your wishes.
“I wish that you could see our hospital-boat, the Red Rover, with all her comforts for the sick and disabled seamen. She is decided to be the most complete thing of the kind that ever floated, and is every way a success. The Western Sanitary Association gave us in cost of articles $3500. The ice-box of the steamer holds three hundred tons; she has