Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/557

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enemy wrought havoc in that quarter, mortally wounding Chief-Pilot Hodges and disabling Shacklett, the Yazoo river pilot. James Brady, a Missourian, then took the wheel, and all went well until the Tyler, slowing up, came within gunshot and a minie ball struck Brown in the temple and momentarily rendered him unconscious. On recovering he resumed command and passing the Carondelet, which took refuge in shallow water, he drove the other two boats before him into the river.

On turning down the Mississippi toward Vicksburg, it was found that the temperature in the engine-room had run up to 130 degrees, so that the engines could only be tended by frequent relays of men and the connections between the furnaces and the smokestack had been shot away, so that only 20 pounds of steam were available, barely enough to turn the engines. This destroyed all hope of using the vessel as a ram in the conflict with the great Federal fleet which now lay before Brown and his men like a forest of masts and smokestacks. But they had no mind to do else than what in fact was the only thing they could do—go ahead with the current. Undauntedly they advanced to the attack of what Brown described as appearing like a whole navy, four or five ironclads, six or seven rams and the fleet of Farragut generally.

As the Arkansas neared the head of the line she opened with her bow guns on the Hartford, Farragut’s flagship at New Orleans, and soon all her guns were in action, The day was calm and the smoke settled down so that the gunners could only aim at the flashes of fire which encircled them on all sides. The shock of missiles was continuous on the sides of the gallant Arkansas, and the rain of shrapnel made it impossible to remain on the shield-deck. Still she replied with unceasing vigor, firing in every direction "without the fear of hitting a friend or missing an enemy." The approach of a ram at the stern was diverted by the powerful rifle guns. "Another ram