After running past the Vicksburg batteries, the Union steamer Queen of the West continued down the Mississippi River, destroying the civilian boats along the shore. Charles Ellet, her commander, proceeded as ordered up the Red River. Hearing of three boats lying thirty miles up river at a place called Gordon's Landing, Ellet set out to try capture them. He reached the place at dusk on February 14, 150 years ago today. The steamer pulled forward slowly, and encountered the rebel Fort DeRussy, a battery of four guns in a fine position. After several shots, Ellet ordered the pilot to pull the ship back up the channel, but either accidentally or through malice, he instead ran the ship aground.
|Queen of the West abandoned|
Quickly getting the range, the battery opened up with a hot fire. Nearly every shot crashed through the ship. She took heavy damage, and filled with steam when a pipe was severed by a shell. Knowing that it was of no use to remain on the ship, pounded as she was by Confederate guns, Ellet gave the order to abandon ship. She was not burnt because of the wounded inside which could not be removed. The Confederates secured and repaired her, and put her in action as the CSS Queen of the West.