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OUR FLEET ATTEMPTS TO PASS THE FORTS.
three largest ships—the Hartford, so swift, the night so heavy, that the Richmond, and Brooklyn-was to fleet advanced but four miles per keep near the western bank, fighting hour. Fort Jackson ; while Capt. Bailey, The silence was broken by our morwith the Cayuga, Pensacola, Missis- tars, whose gunners, prepared for the sippi, Oneida, Varuna, Katahdin, rapidest possible fire, at once filled Kineo, and Wissahickon, was to hug the air with their shells, and roared the eastern bank, exchanging com- out to the Rebels their warning that pliments with Fort St. Philip. Capt. the hour had come. As our ships Bell, with the third division-con- in their three lines closely followed sisting of the Scioto, Iroquois, Pinola, each other, Capt. Bailey, in the CaWinona, Itasca, and Kennebec—was yuga, was first observed and opened to keep the middle of the river, and, upon by both forts as he was passing disregarding the forts, to attack and through the breach in the barrier. vanquish the Rebel fleet in waiting Ile did not choose to give better diabove. Lieut. Weitzel had wisely rection to the enemy's fire by replysuggested that, as the guns of the ing; and, though their balls were forts had been fired at a high abundant, they mainly passed over elevation in order to reach their re- and around him. Approaching Fort mote assailants, and as the vessels St. Philip, he ran close under her would naturally be expected to keep guns, giving her broadsides of grape the middle of the river, the Rebel and canister as he passed; the Pengunners would be pretty sure to fire sacola, Mississippi, and Varuna, pressover them if they kept close to the ing closely in his wake, followed his respective shores. All being ready, commendable example. All of his Gen. Butler and his staff went on division passed the forts essentially board the Saxon; every naval officer uninjured. was at his post; and the silence was Capt. Bell's division was less foronly broken by an occasional fire tunate. The Pinola, Scioto, and from the mortar-sloops. At 11 P.M., Iroquois, ran the gauntlet of the forts a signal from the Itasca announced unharmed; but the Itasca, when dithat the opening in the cable was rectly opposite St. Philip, received a still unclosed. The night was dark volley of balls, one of which pierced and heavy; the moon-what there her boiler and compelled her to drift was of it-would rise at 3 A. M. down the river. The Winona recoil
At 1," all hands were called, steam ed from that fire, and failed to pass. got up, the last preparations made, The Kennebec was caught in the and at 2 the signal to weigh anchor cable; and, when liberated, lost her was given from the flag-ship. Half way in the dense smoke; finally rean hour later, Farragut's division was turning to her former anchorage beready. Capt. Bailey, a little slower, low the forts. was farther away; it was 34 before Capt. Farragut, in the fore rigging the latter was fairly abreast of Far- of the Hartford, anxiously watching ragut, when each division moved si- every visible movement through his lently up stream. The current was night-glass, had advanced within a mile and a quarter of Fort Jackson, silenced, and her garrison were seen when he was opened upon from that by our men in the tops of the BrookFort and repeatedly struck. Still lyn, by the fitful flashes of their steaming directly for the fort, and re- bursting shrapnel, running like sheep plying only from his two forecastle to their coverts. Thus passing the guns, when within half a mile he upper fort, Capt. Craven engaged sheered and gave them broadsides of several of the Rebel gunboats, at 60 grape and canister, which soon drove to 100 yards. He was an hour and every man from their barbette guns; a half under fire, lost 8 killed and 26 but those in the casemates rendered wounded, while his ship was badly full and quick returns for every vol- cut up by shot and shell; but she ley received. The Richmond, closely bore her full part in the attack on following, hurled grape and canister the Rebel batteries below New Orin profusion. The Brooklyn, bring- leans next morning. ing up the rear, ran over one of the The Cayuga, having saluted and hulks which had upheld the chain, passed Fort St. Philip at short range, during a hot fire from Fort St. Phil- still pushing on, encountered, when ip. Hardly had she been freed from just out of fire of the fort, the entire the hulk and her head turned up Rebel flotilla, consisting of 18 gunstream, when the ram Manassas came boats, including the Manassas and butting into her starboard gangway, Louisiana. For a moment, her doom first opening her iron trap-door at seemed certain, as no supporting ship ten feet distance and firing at the was to be seen. By skillful steering, smoke-stack of the Brooklyn a heavy however, Capt. Bailey avoided all bolt, which was caught and stopped their attempts to butt and board, by the sand-bags protecting her and had already forced three of the steam-drum. A guard of chain less formidable to surrender, when armor, which had been woven over the Varuna and Oneida were seen her sides, shielded her from destruc- coming to the rescue. At early tion by the ram, which soon slid off dawn, perceiving a Rebel camp on and disappeared in the darkness. A the right bank of the river, Capt. few minutes later, while still under a Bailey anchored close beside it, and raking fire from Fort Jackson, the ordered the Rebels to pile their arms Brooklyn was attacked by a large on the bank and come on board as Rebel steamer, to which she gave a prisoners, which was obeyed. The broadside at 50 yards, setting it in- captives proved to be the Chalmette stantly on fire and putting an end to regiment, Col. Sysmanski. Their flag, its career.
13 April 24.
Still groping onward in tents, and camp equipage, formed a the thick darkness, Capt. Craven part of the spoils. soon found himself abreast of Fort The Varuna, having safely passed St. Philip, and so near that his leads- the forts, found herself“ amid a nest man reported 13 feet of water. Bring- of Rebel steamers," "* into which she ing all his guns to bear for a few mo- plunged, firing broadsides at each as ments, he poured in grape and canis- she passed it, exploding the boiler ter so that the fort was completely of the first, which appeared to be
** Commander Boggs's official report.
THE REBEL FLOTILLA VANQUISHED.
crowded with troops; when it driftedsel. The Oneida, seeing her sinking, ashore, a wreck. Three other ves- had rushed to her assistance; but sels, one of them a gunboat, were Boggs waved her on to the Morgan, likewise driven ashore and blown which, already in flames, surrenup. At 6 A. M., the Morgan, partially dered; she had lost over 50 of her iron-clad, commanded by Beverly crew killed and wounded, and was Kennon (late of our navy), attack- set on fire by her commander, who ed the Varuna, giving her a raking left his wounded to the flames. Fiffire along the port gangway, which teen minutes after she struck, the killed 4 and wounded 9 of her crew, Varuna was on the bottom, with then butted her on the quarter and only her top-gallant forecastle out of again on the starboard side, but with water. Her crew gained the shore, out sinking or disabling her. Mean- losing every thing but the clothes while, the Varuna had planted three they stood in. 8-inch shells in her assailant, abaft Our loss in this desperate fight, her armor, with several shot from not including 6 or 7 previously disaone of our rifled guns; when she bled on the mortar-boats, was redrifted out of the fight, partially dis- ported as only 30 killed and 119 abled. Ere this time, another Rebel wounded; the fleet surgeon adding iron-clad, with a beak under water, that several vessels had not yet made had struck the Varuna in the port their official return. . The Brooklyn, gangway, doing considerable damage, Pensacola, and Iroquois, had suffered while our shot glanced harmlessly most severely. from the armor of the Rebel boat. The enemy then backed off for an- Gen. Lovell, who had witnessed other blow, and struck again in the the combat of our fleet with his forts same place, crushing in the Varuna's and flotilla, and its triumph, hastened side; but she being under full head up to the city on horseback, narrowly way, her enemy's beak for a moment escaping capture on the way, and stuck fast in her side, and the ram gave orders to Gen. Smith, in comwas drawn around nearly beside our mand of the land defenses, to make steamer, which was thereby enabled all possible resistance at the earthto plow her with five 8-inch shells works below the town; but the high abaft her armor. This finished her stage of water, causing the guns of performance, and she drifted ashore, our vessels to command the eartha burning wreck; while the Varuna, works, rendered them untenable by now in a sinking condition, was run infantry. An attempt was made to into the bank by her commander, raise 1,000 desperate volunteers who her anchor let go, and her bow made would undertake to board and carry fast to the trees; her guns all the our vessels by assault; but only 100 time at work crippling the Morgan, could be found. In short, New Orwhich was making feeble efforts to leans was lost when our fleet had get up steam. When the water had passed the forts; and all her intellirisen over his gun-trucks, Commander gent Rebels knew it. Boggs turned his attention to getting Gen. Lovell, after consultation the wounded and crew out of his ves- with the municipal authorities, began at once to send off his munitions / work, he moved on. The Cayuga, and provisions by steamboat and rail- not having observed the signal for road, while the greater part of his close order, was considerably in adconscripted militia disbanded and vance, and so for 20 minutes exposed dispersed. What was left worth tak- alone to the fire of the Rebel bating was sent off to Camp Moore, 78 teries. But the Hartford now came miles above, on the Jackson Rail- up, dispensing liberal broadsides of road.
shell, shrapnel, and grape, the first The Rebel flotilla having been of which drove the Rebels on the mainly destroyed, Capt. Farragut, right bank from their guns; while the with his nine vessels that had safely fire of the Pensacola, the Brooklyn, run the gauntlet of Rebel forts, fire- and the residue of the fleet, which ships, rams, and gunboats, while came up in quick succession, very steaming slowly and cautiously up soon silenced the remaining forts, the river, had not yet. reached New and set their gunners in rapid motion Orleans when he was met by ample toward places of greater safety. No evidence that the city was virtually further obstacles nor perils but those in his hands. Cotton-loaded and presented by burning steamers, cotother valuable ships came floating ton-ships, rafts, &c., were encountered down the river wrapped in flames, the until, at 1 P. M., the squadron anmute but vivid witnesses of the chored, during a violent thunderenemy's despair. “I never witnessed storm, in front of New Orleans, such Vandalism in my life," he re- whose levee for miles afforded a magports, “as the destruction of prop- nificent but melancholy spectacle of erty: all the shipping, steamboats, burning cotton, sugar, and other &c., were set on fire and consumed.” staples of South-western commerce;
On reaching the English Turn, while the river in front was so full of six or seven miles below the city, he burning ships that great vigilance descried the new earthworks on both and skill were required to avoid banks, known as the Chalmette bat- them." teries; when, forming his fleet in two There was no attempt at resistance, lines, and allotting to each its proper but on shore anarchy and impotent 15 At 10:30 A. M. on the 25th.
consumed; the value of which would have been about a million and a half of dollars. The to
bacco stored in the city, being all held by for"No sooner had the Federal fleet turned the eign residents on foreign account, was not depoint, and come within sight of the city, than stroyed. The specie of the banks, to the amount the work of destruction of property commenced of twelve or fifteen millions, was removed from Vast columns of smoke ascended to the sky, the city and placed in a secure place; so were darkening the face of heaven and obscuring the nearly all the stores and movable property of noon-day sun; for five miles along the levee, the Confederate States. But other materials fierce flames darted through the lurid atmosphere, were embraced in the awful conflagration. their baleful glare struggling in rivalry with About a dozen large river steamboats, twelve or the sunlight; great ships and steamers, wrapped fifteen ships, some of them laden with cotton, a in fire, floated down the river, threatening the great floating battery, several unfinished gunFederal vessels with destruction by their fiery boats, the immense ram, the Mississippi, and contact. In front of the various presses, and at the docks on the other side of the river, were other points along the levee, the cotton had all embraced in the fiery sacrifice. The Missisbeen piled up and submitted to the torch. It sippi was an iron-clad frigate, a superior vessel was burned by order of the Governor of Louisi- of her class, and accounted to be by far the most ana and of the military commander of the Con- important naval structure the Confederate Gov. federate States. Fifteen thousand bales were ernment had yet undertaken.”
16 Pollard says:
MAYOR MONROE ON EXHIBITION.
rage strove for the mastery. As our | Bailey that he had already evacuated squadron neared the levee, our sailors the city, which he now formally gave a cheer, to which some few in turned over to the municipal authothe adjacent crowd responded, pro- rities, leaving them to act as they voking thereby pistol-shots from should see fit. Capt. Bailey now rethe irate Rebels surrounding them. turned to the fleet to await such After a brief delay, Capt. Bailey was action; and the Mayor, refusing to sent ashore to demand the surrender haul down the State flag from the of the city; when the valorous mob City Hall, sent to the Common received him with groans, hootings, Council, which was in session, a mesand threats of violence, which did sage recommending that an answer not prevent his proceeding, under the be returned to Capt. Farragut, statescort of more considerate citizens, to ing that the city, being incapable of the Mayor's office; the mob that fol- offering further resistance, yielded to lowed him contenting itself with physical force alone, without giving assaults on such citizens as were sus- up its allegiance to the Confederate pected of Unionism. On reaching Government, while it had no authe City Hall, he made his demand, thority over the Custom-House, Postrequiring that the Federal flag be Office, and Mint, and would do displayed from the public edifices; nothing with regard to them. This to which the Mayor responded, dis- undignified and ridiculous betrayal claiming any authority to comply. of spite and chagrin was reiterated A messenger was thereupon sent to by the Mayor in a letter to Capt. Gen. Lovell, who informed Capt. Farragut, which was tersely and fitly
17 " MAYOR'S OFFICE, CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, place, held, as this is, at the mercy of your gun.
“CITY HALL, April 26, 1862. ners and your mortars. To surrender such a place “ Flaz. Officer D. G. FARRAGUT, United States were an idle and unmeaning ceremony. The flag-ship Hartford :
city yours by the power of brutal force, not "SIR-In pursuance of a resolution which we by my choice or the consent of its inhabitants. thought proper to take, out of regard for the It is for you to determine what will be the fate lives of the women and children who still crowd that awaits us here. As to hoisting any flag not the metropolis, General Lovell has evacuated it of our own adoption and allegiance, let me say with his troops, and restored back to me the ad- to you that the man lives not in our midst whose ministration of its government and the custody hand and heart would not be paralyzed at the of its honor. I have, in council with the City mere thought of such an act; nor could I findin Fathers, considered the demand you made of me my entire constituency so desperate and wretched yesterday of an unconditional surrender of the a renegade as would dare to profane with his city, coupled with a requisition to hoist the flag hand the sacred emblem of our aspirations. of the United States on the public edifices, and “Sir, you have manifested sentiments which haul down the flag that still floats upon the would become one engaged in a better cause breeze from the dome of this Hall. It becomes than that to which you have devoted your my duty to transmit to you an answer which is sword. I doubt not that they spring from a nothe universal sentiment of my constituents no ble though deluded nature; and I know how to less than the promptings of my own heart on appreciate the emotions which inspired them. this sad and solemn occasion. The city is with | You have a gallant people to administrate during oat the means of defense; and is utterly destitute your occupancy of this city-a people sensitive of the force and material that might enable it to to all that can in the least affect their dignity resist an overpowering armament displayed in and self-respect. Pray, Sir, do not fail to regard sight of it.
their susceptibilities. The obligations which I "I am no military man, and possess no au- shall assume in their name shail be religiously thority beyond that of executing the municipal complied with. You may trust their honor, laws of the city of New Orleans. It would be though you might not count on their submission presumptuous in me to attempt to lead an army to unmerited wrong. in the field, if I had one at command; and I "In conclusion, I beg you to understand that know still less how to surrender an undefended the people of New Orleans, while unable to re