Our gun-boats ceased firing as the rams entered the fight; but they now reopened. With shot and shell the guns were rapidly served. The effect was soon apparent. One Rebel boat was disabled and abandoned, after grounding opposite Memphis. A second was grounded and blown up, and two others were disabled, abandoned, and captured.
It was a good morning’s work. The first gun was fired at forty minutes past five o’clock, and the last at forty-three minutes past six. The Rebels boasted they would whip us before breakfast. We had taken no breakfast when the fight began. After the battle was over we enjoyed our morning meal with a relish that does not usually accompany defeat.
The following shows the condition of the two fleets after the battle:—
General Beauregard, sunk. General Lovell, sunk. General Price, injured and captured. Little Rebel, " " " Sumter, " " " General Bragg, " " " Jeff. Thompson, burned. General Van Dorn, escaped.
THE NATIONAL FLEET.
Benton, unhurt. Carondelet, " St. Louis, " Louisville, " Cairo, " Monarch (ram), unhurt. Queen of the West (ram), disabled.
The captured vessels were refitted, and, without alteration of names, attached to the National fleet. The Sumter was lost a few months later, in consequence of running aground near the Rebel batteries in the vicinity of Bayou Sara. The Bragg was one of the best boats in the service in point of speed, and proved of much value as a dispatch-steamer on the lower portion of the river.
The people of Memphis rose at an early hour to witness the naval combat. It had been generally known during the previous night that the battle would begin about sunrise. The first gun brought a large crowd to the bluff overlooking the river, whence a full view of the fight was obtained. Some of the spectators were loyal, and wished success to the National fleet, but the great majority were animated by a strong hope and expectation of our defeat.
A gentleman, who was of the lookers-on, subsequently told me of the conduct of the populace. As a matter of course, the disloyalists had all the conversation their own way. While they expressed their wishes in the loudest tones, no one uttered a word in opposition. Many offered wagers on the success of their fleet, and expressed a readiness to give large odds. No one dared accept these offers, as their acceptance would have been an evidence of sympathy for the Yankees. Americans generally, but particularly in the South, make their wagers as they hope or wish. In the present instance no man was allowed to “copper” on the Rebel flotilla.
IN MEMPHIS AND UNDER THE FLAG