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Bailey, Report, April 26,
drove off one on the bow, while we prepared to CHAP. XV. repel boarders, so close was our remaining enemy. About this time Boggs [of the Varuna) and Lee [of the Oneida] came dashing in, and made a finish of the rebel boats - eleven in all.” But the victory also brought its injuries and losses. The ships were all more or less riddled by the small shot from the forts; and the Varuna, having in her eagerness run ahead of her companions, was set upon by two rebel gunboats which rammed her from opposite sides and sunk her.2
1 “A flash revealed the ram 2 “ We had passed nearly Manassas, gliding down our port through the fleet of the enemy's side below our guns, and passing gunboats when we discovered too close and swiftly, aided by one of them, then engaging the steam and the current, to enable Oneida, heading for us, apparus to bring our heavy guns to ently with the intention of runbear on her. Next came a gun. ning us down. Owing to the boat quite near, and, passing from small amount of steam we then the Fort Jackson to Fort St. had (seventeen pounds) he soon Philip side across our bow, ran began to come up with us, and into it with a full head of steam, finally struck us twice - once and cut it down with a loud crash abreast the mainmast and again on its starboard quarter. Clear abreast the smoke-stack. He did of our guns in a moment, it drifted not escape the second time withdown stream in the darkness. We out receiving the contents of the now slowed down and afterwards starboard broadside, which, as used the steam as necessary to the captain afterwards told me, get or keep position in fighting swept his decks of nearly every the gunboats, firing right and living object. Before striking us left into them as we could ascer- he fired his forward gun-a rifled tain (from other indications than thirty-two pounder—which raked black smoke, on account of the our decks, killing three men and Varuna) that we were not firing wounding several. Up to this into one of our steamers, forbore time we had passed the forts and to fire into those steamers that gunboats without having a single appeared to be river transports, man injured, although the ship and ceased firing into others when had been struck several times. they made no return. In this The steamer that first struck us, manner we fired into and passed I have since learned, was the several rebel boats on the right Governor Moore, iron-clad on the bank, leaving it for those who bow, and commanded by Bevercame after to pick up the prizes.” ly Kennon, formerly a lie ant -Lee, Report, April 26, 1862. in the United States service.
The “ Division of the Blue," following under Farragut, was not without its dangers and achievements. Three of the rear gunboats failed to pass the forts at all and returned, one of them with machinery disabled, to Porter's flotilla below. One of the large ships, the Brooklyn, became seriously entangled with the barrier of hulks and rafts; then she was "feebly butted” by the ram Manassas; afterwards, while yet under the fire of Fort Jackson, she was attacked by a large rebel steamer; but Captain T. T. Craven in his report says: “Our port broadside, at the short distance of only fifty or sixty yards, completely finished him, setting him on fire almost instantaneously.” Perhaps the most exciting incident of the passage happened to the Hartford. The enemy had on several occasions set adrift and sent down fire-rafts; but the efficient fire brigade, with boats, grapnels, and other appliances specially organized to meet them, had hitherto succeeded in towing them out of the way, to points where they would be harmless. It happened as the Hartford was passing Fort St. Philip, one of these fire-rafts came down, not merely drifting in the current but pushed and directed by a rebel tug-boat. The Hartford, swerving aside to avoid the encounter, ran aground; and the tug, perceiving the advantage, boldly pushed the blazing raft against the flag
Hardly had we recovered from the vessel afloat, and she was the shock of these two blows run ashore, and every effort made before we were struck on the to save the wounded and crew, port quarter by a vessel, the which I am happy to say was Stonewall Jackson, constructed accomplished, with the friendly for this purpose. We received aid of the boats of the vessels so much injury from this blow, then up with us."-Swasey, Exand we made so much water, ecutive Officer, Report, April 29, that it was impossible to keep 1862.
ship. In an instant the flames enveloped the whole CHAP. XV. ship's side and flashed aloft into the rigging. It was a critical and painful moment to Farragut: “My God !” he exclaimed, “is it to end in this way ?" But caution and good discipline triumphed. Only the dry paint was as yet ablaze, and a welldirected stream of water from the fire apparatus subdued the mounting flame. Most opportunely too the ship's engines were able to back her from her great peril, and she continued up the river silencing the guns of Fort St. Philip as she passed.
The Confederates evidently expected much from the ram Manassas, of their flotilla, described as a converted tug-boat, covered with half-inch iron plating, carrying a thirty-two-pounder gun in her bow. No accurate description of her movements is reported, and during the fight she mysteriously appeared and disappeared in the darkness among the ships, though her efforts to inflict damage proved ineffectual. As the day dawned she was discovered following the vessels up the river, and Commander Melancton Smith, with the large side-wheel steamer Mississippi, turned back and attacked and captured her, though he was unable to take her in tow or spare a crew to man her. “I directed her to be set on fire,” reports Commander Smith, “and then so riddled her with shot that she was dislodged from the bank and drifted below the forts, where she blew
up and sank.” This incident appears to have 471862.26, closed the engagement. The vessels passed up the river and came temporarily to anchor at quarantine station, six miles above the forts. The combat had lasted about one and a half hours; the rebel flotilla, with the exception of three steamers, was destroyed;
Report, April 25,
CHAP. XV. the Union loss was, the Varuna, sunk, considerable Farragut,
miscellaneous damage to other ships, and a total of twenty-four killed and eighty-six wounded. A little more than six weeks from the day when the great naval battle between the Merrimac and Monitor, in Hampton Roads, filled the world with the new fame of ironclads, Farragut's victory at New Orleans revived the prestige of wooden ships when handled with courage and skill.
The Union fleet made but a short halt at quarantine. Farragut pushed on over the seventy-five miles of distance which lay between him and the main object and prize of his expedition. By ten o'clock of April 25, he was at the Chalmette batteries, three miles below the city. In ten minutes the ships had silenced the works; the fleet moved cautiously round the bend of the river, and New Orleans lay helpless under the Union guns. News of the hostile approach put its population of 150,000
souls into a dangerous ferment from opposing pas1962. W.R. sions of rage and fear. With only three thousand
Confederate troops, with but eighteen days' provisions for the people, with the certainty of siege and starvation if he remained, the Confederate general, Mansfield Lovell, resolved to evacuate the place and all its dependencies. To this end he hastily removed such arms and supplies as he could and ordered the destruction of the remaining Confederate war material and property. Cotton, coal, timber,
steamboats, and the unfinished ironclad Mississippi Farragut,
were burned. “The destruction of property was Randolph awful,” says Farragut. If the necessities of war 1962r1W. r. palliate such sacrifice, the same excuse cannot jus
tify the order of the Richmond authorities and the
Report, May 6, 1862.
fleeing Governor's proclamation to the planters of Chap. XV. that exposed interior, to burn their cotton, in obedience to which an infatuated zeal wrought the destruction of millions of private property, serving no end except to impoverish the community.
At noon of the 25th Farragut sent Captain Bailey, who commanded the “ Division of the Red,” to confer with the Mayor of New Orleans. It was an imprudent exposure of his most valuable officer; for, as Bailey with a single companion walked from the landing to the City Hall, they were followed by a noisy and insulting street rabble, cheering for Jefferson Davis and uttering wild threats of violence; the resolute and self-possessed bearing of the two officers alone saved them. Bailey demanded of Mayor John T. Monroe that he should surrender the city and raise the Union flag. The Mayor answered, that he had no military authority, and called in General Lovell who, on his part, refused to surrender, but announced that he would evacuate the city, " and then leave the civil authorities to act as they might deem proper." Bailey returned and reported these equivocal answers. On the following day, April 26, Farragut by letter again demanded of the Mayor “the unqualified surrender of the city,” the lowering of all hostile flags, "and that the emblem of sovereignty of the United States be hoisted over the City Hall, Mint, and Custom-House to Montoe, by meridian this day.” To this the Mayor replied on the same afternoon with a long letter of mixed grandiloquence and contumacy, that “General Lovell has evacuated it (the city] with his troops and restored back to me the administration of its government”; that “the city is without means of