Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/200
192 Southern Historical Society Papers.
sloops of war and other vessels steamed up near the city, and, in its front, delivering broadside after broadside in quick succession of shot, shell and grape, depending upon their distance; Farragut passing above the city with eight vessels, the few Confederate batteries replying, and the sharp-shooters along the banks keeping up an incessant fusillade. The scene on this occasion was grand beyond description, lasting two hours ; the roar of cannon was continuous and deafening. Loud explosions shook the city to its foundation. Shot and shell went hissing and tearing through the trees and walls, scattering fragments far and wide in their terrible flight. Men, women and children rushed into the streets; and amid the crash of falling houses, left the city for the country for safety.
Again, on July i5th occurred one of the most brilliant naval feats recorded in the annals of naval warfare. The Confederate iron -clad gunboat Arkansas, commanded by Capt. Isaac N. Brown, ran out of the mouth of the Yazoo river and single-handed attacked the whole Federal fleet, including Farragut' s squadron of eight vessels and Admiral Davies' gunboat fleet of twelve vessels, nearly every one of which carried heavier metal. The very audacity of the exploit con- founded the fleet. The Arkansas fought and butted its way through all the vessels under one of the most concentrated cannonades ever centered on a single vessel, and drew up at the wharf at Vicksburg under protection of its batteries, having lost one-half its crew. This brilliant act capped the climax, and necessitated immediate action on the part of the two fleets, above and below the city. At dark on the same day the vessels of Farragut' s fleet, eight vessels, which had passed up the river on the 28th of June, began their descent to strengthen the fleet south of the city. Again the cannonade was deafening and continuous, and these vessels in a passing of one hour poured broadside after broadside into the city and into the single Confederate gunboat at the wharf. This time, however, the broad- side of the Arkansas supplemented the land batteries. On JuJ/ i8th two of the Federal vessels steamed down the river to the Arkansas in front of the city and tried to cut her out or destroy her. It was a most gallant attempt, but failed, one of the attacking vessels being sunk.
This closed the first attempt to take Vicksburg, and the fleets dis- appeared July 26th for some time. Singular to say, only seven Con- federates were killed and fifteen wounded, and one lady killed (Mrs. Gamble), during the whole attack.