[Admiral Porter, Commander of the Federal Upper Mississippi Squadron]The Illustrated London News, vol. 42, no. 1197, p. 367.
April 4, 1863
Admiral Porter, commander of the Federal Upper Mississippi squadron, describes a singular trick he recently played the Confederates. Writing to a friend in New York, he says:--"During the time of the running the blockade by the Queen of the West and the Indianola, five of the guns in the forts at Vicksburg burst and were dismounted; therefore it was an object to make the enemy fire as much as possible. Finding that they could not be provoked to fire without an object, I thought of getting up an imitation Monitor. Ericsson saved the country with an iron one--why could I not save it with a wooden one? An old coal barge, picked up in the river, was the foundation to build on. It was built of old boards in twelve hours, with pork barrels on the top of each other for smokestacks, and two old canoes for quarter-boats; her furnaces were built of mud, and only intended to make black smoke and not steam. Without knowing that Brown was in peril, I let loose our Monitor. When it was descried by the light of the morn, never did the batteries of Vicksburg open with such a din; the earth fairly trembled, and the shot flew thick around the devoted Monitor. But she ran safely past all the batteries, though under fire for an hour, and drifted down to the lower mouth of the canal. She was a much better-looking vessel than the Indianola. When it was broad daylight they opened on her again with all the guns they could bring to bear, without a shot hitting her to do any harm, because they did not make her settle in the water, though going in at one side and out at another. She was already full of water. The soldiers of our Army shouted and laughed like mad."