the "Confederate Military History" Magazine has an excellent account of the maiden combat voyage of the CSS Arkansas. There are several web based articles on the web posted at various sites. I don't know if you aware, but a part of the CSS Arkansas is still in existence today. The Ensign (Naval Flag) of the CSS Arkansas is currently on display at the National War Museum in Columbus, Georgia.
To me the CSS Arkansas crew were brave men. at one point, She was docked for repairs (after her initial voyage running the gauntlet to enter Vicksburg), and the CSS Arkansas managed to repel the Ironclad "Essex", and the Ram "Queen of the West" on July 22, 1862. What is amazing this battle was the fact that the CSS Arkansas only had 41 men on board her at the time of the battle. She was outnumbered two to one.