I didn’t find a picture of the Mound City, but The Late Great Unpleasantness has one.
A dispatch published in the New York Times, along with a news item, tell the story of the Union capture of batteries at St. Charles, Arkansas, on the White River. The capture helped interdict confederate shipping of supplies from the trans-Mississippi, but at a considerable cost. A single cannon shot pierced the boiler of the gunboat Mound City, killing most of the crew in the resulting steam explosion.
U.S. FLAG STEAMER BENTON,
MEMPHIS, June 19
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
The gunboat Conestoga, returning from the White River, reports the capture of two batteries, mounting seven guns, at St. Charles, eighty miles from the mouth. The attack was commenced by Capt. KELLY is the gunboats, who silenced the first battery. The second battery was gallantly carried by Col. G.N. FITCH, at the head of the Forty-sixth Indiana volunteers. A shot caused the explosion of the steam-draw of the Mound City, by which the greater part of her officers and crew were killed and wounded. I write by to-day’s mail.
C.H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer.
An expedition composed of the gunboats St. Louis, Lexington, Conestoga and Mound City, accompanied by transports carrying the Forty-third and Forty-sixth Indiana Regiments, under Gen. FITCH, was sent from here some days since for the purpose of removing the obstructions in the White River.
On the 17th the expedition reached St. Charles. 85 miles above the mouth of the river, where the rebels had erected a battery. An engagement ensued, lasting an hour and a half.
While the gunboats engaged the battery the troops under Col. FITCH landed a short distance below, and proceeded to storm the place.
During the cannonading a ball entered the boiler of the Mound City, causing a fearful explosion and loss of life. The crew consisted of 175 men, of whom nearly 125 were killed and wounded.
The following officers are among the killed: John Kinzie, James Kinzie, James Scoville, John Green, Henry R. Brown, Joseph Nixon and John Knox.
Capt. KELTY, Flag-Officer, was badly scalded, but it is thought that he will recover.
Col. FITCH’s charge upon the battery was a perfect success, driving the enemy out at the point of the bayonet.
The rebel loss is 125 killed and wounded, and 90 prisoners. Col. FITCH’s loss is small.
Gen. HALLECK has occupied Holly Springs.