The Federals had been shelling the ironclad from long distance for days and, despite their reports of multiple hits, had done no real damage to the Arkansas. The railroad-iron sheathed gunboat intimidated the entire Federal fleet far more than the guns mounted on the bluffs of Vicksburg ever had or ever would.
They made one more attempt to destroy the Confederate warship on the morning of July 22, 1862, but things did not go well.
|USS Essex (Civil War Photo)|
|USS Queen of the West|
(Civil War Water Color)
The Arkansas dodged the Essex, which missed its target and ran aground under heavy fire from the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg. The Union ironclad did succeed in sending a shot through the armor of the Arkansas at close range, killing 6 Confederates and wounding 6 others. Having lost 1 killed and 3 wounded, the Essex worked its way out of the mud and steamed downstream and away from the battle.
The battle only succeeded to prove to Admiral David G. Farragut and other Union commanders that they would not be able to take Vicksburg using naval power alone. The CSS Arkansas, like the people of her namesake state, had proved herself to be strong, courageous and resilient. She had turned the tide of the first Battle of Vicksburg.
Farragut's attempt to end the city would end two days later.
To learn more about historic Vicksburg, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vicksburg1.