Grand Era was armed and outfitted with cotton-cladding for use as a tender in the Red River area. She was a unit of the Confederate squadron under Maj. J. L. Brent, CSA, that included the rams Queen of the West, and Webb, and the boarding ship Dr. Beatty, ordered to attack USS Indianola. In the evening of 24 February 1863 the battle was joined near New Carthage, Miss. Tender Grand, Era came down carrying troops for boarding but they proved unnecessary to the success of the mission. When the Union crew wisely allowed the heavily damaged Indianola to fill with water and sink, Grand Era received prisoners on board.
Confederate interest in raising and restoring the valuable Indianola, was demonstrated in feverish efforts, joined by Grand Era, but a clever Union ruse foiled the project. The Federals floated a barge, disguised as a gunboat, down near the site where work was proceeding. The working party at once abandoned the effort and departed in the ships present. They later returned only to eventually destroy their valuable prize.