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BOMBARDMENT OF FORTS JACKSON AND ST. PHILIP. 89
of Jackson, distant 24 to three miles; Fort Jackson not being extinguished all were under orders to concentrate till 2 next morning. But its batteries their fire on Fort Jackson, that being opened as lively as ever at sunrise, the larger and more important work, and at 11:30 one of their rifled bolts whose fall necessarily involved that crashed through one of our schooners, of Fort St. Philip..
sinking her in 20 minutes; while the At 9 A. M., before our mortar vessels Oneida, in our advance, was twice were ready, Fort Jackson opened fire; hit in the afternoon, two of her gunbut her balls struck the water 100 carriages smashed, and 9 of her men yards short of our gunboat Owasco, wounded. The fort had evidently which held the advance, and which suffered by the day's work; but the was first to reply. Capt. Porter, who fathomless mud of the Mississippi commanded the mortar fleet, watched seemed exactly constituted to absorb through his glass the effect of our our shells, with the least possible very deliberate fire, constantly giving harm to all around. Gen. Butler new directions, founded on his ob- and staff arrived during that afterservations, as to the elevation of noon, and went up in a small boat to pieces, length of fuse, and weight of take a look at the chain; which, it charge. By 10 A. M., both parties had begun by this time to be underhad closed their experiments, and stood, was badly in the way, and were firing steadily and heartily, must be subjected to an operation. though as yet with little visible The bombardment having been effect, save that the fish in the river, continued through a third day withstunned and killed by the tremendous out encouraging result, Capt. Farraconcussions, had begun to float past gut called a council of captains in our anchored vessels. Soon, three the cabin of his flag-ship Hartford, more rafts are seen sweeping down and, having heard all opinions, defrom the new barrier of chains and cided on an attempt to force a pashulks, and, as they approach, are sage by the forts. To this end, it dealt with as their predecessor had was essential that the cable should been, without interrupting the fire first be broken; and to Capt. Bell, of our guns. At 4 P. M., Gen. But with the gunboats Pinola and Itasca, ler's little dispatch steamer Saxon supported by the Iroquois, Kennebec, arrived, with news that the army and Winona, was assigned the conwas below, ready and waiting for ser- duct of this critical undertaking ; vice, and that the Monitor had dis- which, the night being dark, it was abled the Merrimac in Hampton determined to attempt forthwith; Roads. At 5, flames were seen and, at 10 P. M., the Pinola and bursting from Fort Jackson, whose Itasca had set out on their perilous fire slackened, and it was manifest errand; Capt. Porter, so soon as they that its wooden interior had been were out of range of his guns, openignited, like that of Fort Sumter in ing upon Fort Jackson a tremendous the initial bombardment of the war. fire from all his mortar-schooners, The Rebel forts ceased firing, as our under which the Pinola ran up boats did, an hour later, and the toward the cable near the western night passed silently; the flames in shore, directly under the guns of the
fort; and, nearing one of the hulks, / water and down into the kindly Mr. Kræhl, the inventor of a new darkness; each vessel entirely uniand powerful petard, threw it on harmed: and the opening thus made board; but it failed to explode, be- in the barrier was speedily and concause the Pinola, having stopped her stantly enlarged by the current, so engine a moment too soon, was that a boat's crew from the Itasca, whirled away on the rushing current, pulling up in the thick darkness two snapping the wire hitherto connected nights later, found nothing to obwith the petard. The wind blowing struct the upward passage of our fiercely from the north, it was half fleet. A new and grander fire-raft was an hour before the Pinola was again sent down two hours after the chains minding her helm, with her bow to- were broken, only to be caught and ward the chain.
served as her predecessors had been. Meanwhile, the Itasca, Captain The bombardment was continued Caldwell, had steamed up to the two days farther; in part, because chain-supporting hulk next in order two of our gunboats had been so eastward, and, making fast to its much injured as to require assistance side, her men, who had boarded for their rapid repair. The morning the hulk, were studying in the dark- of the 24th was fixed on for the grand ness the economy of the cable. A attempt, of which the Rebel officers rocket thrown up from Fort Jackson somehow had an intimation; so that, favored them with a fitful, transient throughout the preceding day, the light, to which a cannonade, instantly forts were silently preparing for the opened on them from both forts, eventful hour at hand, while our seemed to add very little; but they bombardment was little more than steadily went on with their business; a formality. Meantime, Duncan reand in half an hour the great chain, ported from Fort Jackson that he vigorously plied with sledge and had suffered very little, though chisel, had been cut; the cables 25,000 13-inch shells had been fired by which the hulk was anchored at him, whereof 1,000 had fallen had been slipped; and now the within the fort. (We had actually hulk, still chained to the nearer fired 5,000 only.) “God is certainly shore, was swept resistlessly round protecting us," was his assurance. by flood and wind until it Farragut’s arrangements for passgrounded in the mud of the bank, ing the forts were completed at sunpulling the lashed Itasca along with set. The mortar-boats, retaining it, and driving her fast aground their stations, were to cover the directly in the range of both forts. advance with their utmost possible By this time, however, the Pinola was fire. Six small steamers—the Harready to come to her rescue; and, riet Lane, Westfield, Owasco, Clinafter an hour of earnest tugging, and ton, Miami, and Jackson, the last parting two 5-inch hawsers, she towing the Portsmouth-were to finally grappled her with an 11-inch engage the water battery below Fort cable, and, by help of steam and cur- Jackson, but not attempt to pass. rent, dragged her again into deep Capt. Farragut himself, with his
12 April 23.
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 Kennebecấwas 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 He 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 1,18 all hands were called, steam ed from that fire, and failed to pass. göt 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 31 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
13 April 24.
re to the ing closetble examples
ingles which had upheld that. Phil still pushing of the fort, the enti
mile and a quarter of Fort Jackson, 1 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
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. 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," it 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
14 Commander Boggs's official report.
crowded with troops; when it drifted sel. 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