Jan. 31 st 1863.
ADMIRAL D. D. PORTER
COMD. G FLOTILLA,
Did one of the rams run the blockade last night ? I warned our batteries to be on the lookout for her and not to fire into her if she should come by.
I send you with this the result of yesterdays reconnaisance towards the city.
U. S. GRANT
ALS, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. At this time Act. Rear Admiral David D. Porter was preparing the U. S. ram Queen of the West to run the blockade to attack the C. S. A. steamboat City of Vicksburg. On Feb. 1, 1863, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman wrote to USG. "I am almost absolutely certain the Vicksburg is exactly where she was yesterday, for I have her watched by Commissioned officers and no Report of any Change in affairs has been made. I will send an aid Capt McCoy to see with his own eyes and to report to you on board the Magnolia. You would be safe in reporting as much to the Admiral adding that in two hours you will have the official Report of a responsible officer. I will myself ride round and give orders to my Batteries. Notify the Admiral the best place for his Ram [to] round to will be immediately in front of the Biggs House, where the Ferry boat lay when he visited her." ALS, PPRF. USG added an undated endorsement probably intended for Porter. "If the Vicksburg has changed position I will inform you of the fact as soon as it is ascertained. No further communication from me this afternoon will indicate this fact. Should your boat not run the blockade to-night I will have the position of the Vicksburg watched to-morrow and in case of any change will report the fact." AES, ibid. On Feb. 1, Porter wrote to USG. "I may be ready to night, to send down the Ram to destroy the Steamer 'Vicksburg,' in which case our Ram will be distinguished (after performing the duty, ) by three vertical lights. —She will come to, if she gets past, at or near our batteries, when she will have her lights down. —If you could ascertain if the Vicksburg is there at sunset, you would much oblige me—I am packing the Ram with cotton bales so that she cannot be injured—If she does not go to night, she certainly will tomorrow night. —" LS, DNA, RG 45, Correspondence of David D. Porter, Mississippi Squadron, General Letters (Press). O.R. (Navy), I, xxiv, 217. For reports of the ensuing engagement, see ibid., pp. 217-22. On Feb. 4, Porter wrote to USG. "In case the 'Queen of the West' shall come up the river from below Vicksburg at night she will carry three vertical lights. I mention this so that she will not be fired upon by our batteries—" LS, DNA, RG 45, Correspondence of