“Seven gunboats and three transports ran the Vicksburg batteries last night.”

Apr 17 1863.  Adm. Porter has successfully run his fleet past the guns of Vicksburg with the loss of only one ship, the Henry Clay.  I received the following report from Gen. McClernand,

HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, In the Field, near New Carthage, La., April 17, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT:

GENERAL: At 7 o’clock this morning the wreck of the steamer Henry Clay was seen floating past New Carthage, on fire. At the same time three barges were seen passing. Without any other than small craft, I sent these into the stream, and succeeded in bringing to shore two of the largest, one partially laden with coal, the other lade with camp equipage, which had been put on board at Milliken’s Bend on the 15th instant. The THIRD barge, laden with coal, passed on, but was scuttled, it being out of my power to bring her in. Besides these, a number of sacks of grain, bales of hay, &c., were brought to.

About 12 m., eight gunboats, which had also run the blockade at Vicksburg, came to. Boarding the first arrival, I notified the commander, Captain Hoel, that there was a rebel camp at Perkins’ plantation, about 5 miles below Carthage, and requested him to push forward and shell it, while a detachment of my forces should pursue the fleeing enemy. He referred me to Rear-Admiral Porter, who, he said, would soon arrive in the gunboat Benton.

Soon after, Rear-Admiral Porter arrived on the Benton. I immediately called on him, and, requesting him to do so, he sent forward the gunboat Tuscumbia to shell the hostile camp, which was done. In the mean time General Osterhaus sent forward a detachment of the NINTH DIVISION to pursue and harass the enemy, but with what effect has not yet been reported. I also informed the admiral that a vessel, supposed to be a hostile one, was seen at Perkins’ plantation the evening before, and that it would be advisable to cruise the river for a distance below Carthage; and, pointing out to him the hulk of the Indianola, I suggested to him the importance of an examination, to ascertain whether she could not be raised and made seaworthy.

Your obedient servant,

JOHN A. McClernand.


I sent a telegram to Gen. Halleck in Washington informing him.

MEMPHIS, TENN., April 17, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,


Seven gunboats and three transports ran the Vicksburg batteries last night. The crew of the steamer Henry Clay, excepting the pilot, deserted soon after getting under fire. The boat took fire and burned up. One other transport slightly damaged. One man killed and 3 wounded on the Benton. No further casualties reported. A number of barges were also sent.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 82-3, 85

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 200-1

O.R., I, xxiv, part 1, p 30