The Ponchartrain was one of only a few of the Confederate Mississippi River fleet gunboats to excape the Island No 10 and Memphis naval battles in early 1862. In fact she didn't take part in either of those fights. She was one of the strongest and most heavily armed Gunboat-Rams in the Confederate Fleet. And as far as I can tell was only bettered by such ships as the City Class Union Ironclads and the CSS Arkansas. So fully fitted out she would have been the equal of any single union gunboat other than the City Class Ironclads, and a prize of interest to the entire Union River Fleet including Adm Porter.
However, all of her 7 heavy guns were removed by the Confederates in Arkansas for use in river defence fortification such as Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post. Because of this some today seem to concider her as a non threat and that the Union Navy were not interested in her.
But I don't find that attitude to be creditable. She still retained her threat as a ram and was a fairly new boat, solidly constructed, in reasonable shape and known to be able to carry heavy loads. And at least 2 of her original guns could have been remounted on her for service.