Our commander, Lieutenant Huger
, was what we all expected — cool and fearless, and handled the McRae
One of the enemy's shell, fired from one of the howitzers aloft, went through our decks and exploded in the sail-room, setting the ship on fire; and as there was only a pine bulkhead of 2-inch boards between the sail-room and magazine, we were in great danger of being blown up. Just then one of the large sloops-of-war ranged alongside and gave us a broadside of grape and canister, which mortally wounded our commander, wounded the pilot, carried away our wheel ropes and cut the signal halyards and took our flag overboard.
New tiller ropes were rove and soon we were at close quarters with a large steamer.
Just after daylight, being close into the west bank of the river, about three miles above Fort Jackson
, we found one of the Montgomery
rams, the “Resolute,” ashore, with a white flag flying.
I sent Lieutenant Arnold
, with twenty men, to take charge of her and to open fire with her two heavy rifle pivots.
At 7.30 A. M. we ceased firing, being at that time about four miles above the forts.
In going around, to return to the batteries, our wheel ropes were again shot away, and the ship ran into the bank before her headway could be checked.
sent one of the tugs to our assistance and we were soon afloat.
At 8.30 we anchored near the “Louisiana
While we were aground the ram “Manassas
” was discovered floating helplessly down the river.
I sent a boat to her, and ascertained that she was uninjured, but had her injection pipes cut, and that it would be impossible to save her.
It was afterwards ascertained that the enemy's fleet, consisting of twenty ships, under the command of Commodore Farragut
, had endeavored to run by the forts; only thirteen succeeded in passing.
The advance was made in two lines en echelon
, and the steamers passed through the gaps in the line of obstructions near each bank.
The guns of the forts, being mounted mostly in barbette
, were silenced as soon and as long as the gun-boats were in canister range.
The passages through which General Duncan
thought the enemy could not pass were the very ones Farragut
preferred; for, as his ships carried heavy guns, and plenty of them, it was his object to get within point-blank range, so as to drive the Confederates
away from the barbette guns by keeping a steady rain of canister on them.
Had the “Montgomery
rams” fought, or towed the fire rafts out into the current, it is very doubtful if any of the gun-boats would have passed.
One of the enemy's gun-boats, the Veruna