Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/5

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

VOL. XXXIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1905

From the Sunday News^ Charleston, S. C., Nov. 12, 1905.



Her Achievements Unmatched in Naval Warfare. By Rev. John Johnson D. D., ( Major of Engineers C. 5. Army.)

The recent appearance of Volume 19, Series i, of "The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies," has given fresh impulse to the study of the short but brilliant career of the Confed- erate armored ram, "Arkansas." The scene of her engagements was on the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, near and at Vicksburg, and in the vicinity of Baton Rouge. The heroic fighting of four distinct actions within a week, viz: from the I5th to the 22nd of July, 1862, inclusive, by this single vessel, against the heaviest odds recorded in naval history, places her name in the same class as that occupied by the "Virginia" (Merrimac) in Hampton Roads, March, 1862, and by the "Tennessee" in Mobile Bay, August, 1864. But it is no disparagement of the gallant fighting on board of those last boats to say that the record of the "Arkansas" is sufficient to put her first of all, among the three armored rams. It is not too much to say that the "Arkansas" was the dread of the Union fleet on the Mississippi River; and that it was feared she might, clear the river between Vicksburg and New Orleans, recapturing the latter city for the Confederate cause. This she might have done, but for the hopeless breaking down of her engines and the destruction of the vessel by her own crew. It is easy now to see that she should not have been ordered to leave Vicksburg in the condition she was in at that time.


It was July, when the heat and malaria of midsummer had begun