nder M. B. Woolsey, at the capture of the forts at Donaldsonville, La.
During January, 1863, the harbor of Charleston was not occupied by the Federal squadron, but the vessels lay outside the bar, keeping a bright look-out.
Towards the end of the month two of the heaviest ships.
the Powhatan and Canandaigua, had to proceed to Port Royal for coal, leaving some lighter vessels to continue the blockade.
The Confederates had two ironclad rams, the Chicora and Palmetto State, under Commodore D. N. Ingraham, in Charleston Harbor, and on the 31st of January, about 4 A. M., they succeeded in crossing the bar unperceived in the darkness and attacked the Mercedita, Captain H. S. Stellwagen, which had just returned from the chase of a strange vessel.
The captain was below, and Lieutenant-Commander Abbott in charge of the deck, when the faint appearance of a vessel showing black smoke was seen through the gloom.
All the Federal vessels burned anthracite, while the Confederates and blocka