Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    A General Describes How a Yankee Trick Cost the Confederacy an Ironclad. This wonderful letter written on March 10, 1863 from "Camp before Vicksburg/ Hd Qtrs 15th Army Corps" by Asst. Adjutant General John Henry Hammond (later Brevet Brig. General) to noted poet W. Cullen Bryant details a trick played by Admiral Porter on Confederate forces near Vicksburg that had unexpected consequences. It appears that one night the admiral floated a "dummy" ironclad down the Mississippi toward Confederate positions with the goal of making the Southerners expend ammunition needlessly. The plan worked even better than hoped, as the Confederates, thinking that "this monster" was aimed at re-capturing the Union gunboat Indianola, had their prize "blown to atoms" to prevent it from falling into the hands of Federal forces once again. No such thing, of course, had been intended but before Porter's ruse could be discovered, the Indianola had been destroyed. Hammond gleefully describes the sham, coal-tar covered "gunboat" in great detail ("smoke stacks of flour barrels with real fire inside") and then on the reverse adds the text from a copy of The Vicksburg Daily Whig, brought into camp by a deserter, which fumes at the needless destruction of a boat "that would have been worth a small army to us" and asking "Who is to blame for this piece of folly...?" The letter is clearly written in ink, measures about 10" x 8" and is signed "JHHammond/ AAGenl." A great firsthand story of a little known incident.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 769

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 April 11 Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search