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[325] on the Harriet Lane, and sent a truce-boat to the Clifton, demanding the surrender1 of our fleet! Law repelled the suggestion, yet accompanied the Rebel officer to Renshaw on the Westfield, who rejected the proposal; ordering our vessels afloat to get out of harm's way so soon as might be, while he, despairing of getting the Westfield off, would blow her up, and escape with his crew on the transports Saxon and Boardman, lying near him. lie did blow her up, accordingly; but the explosion must have been premature, since Renshaw himself, with Lt. Zimmerman, Engineer Green, and ten or fifteen of his crew, perished with her.2 An eye-witness states that all had left her but Renshaw himself when she was fired (it was said by a drunkard) and blew up, killing eight or ten officers and men in the captain's gig beside her.

Meantime, our soldiers, left to their fate, and wholly without artillery, had been summoned by Gen. W. R. Scurry3 to surrender, and had done so. Two coal-barques — the Cavallo and the Elias Pike — were captured4 by the Rebel steamboat Carr--one of two or three that came down the bay some time after the Neptune and Bayou City. And Law, considering the Owasco his only efficient vessel, and she not equal in a fight to the Harriet Lane, precipitately abandoned the blockade, running off with the sad remains of our fleet to New Orleans; though hourly expecting a transport down from that city, which would almost inevitably run into the enemy's clutches if not warned of the changed condition of affairs.

Magruder reports his entire loss in this fight at 26 killed, 117 wounded, and the steamer Neptune--her crew and guns being saved. He says he captured (beside the Harriet Lane, with all her armament, the schooner and barques), “350 prisoners, beside officers ;” while our losses include the Westfield also, with her splendid battery of eight heavy rifled guns. He came very near entrapping the steamship Cambria,

1 There are all manner of conflicting statements concerning this truce: each party charging the other with violating it by acting while it lasted as if it had no existence. One Union writer says that the Rebels only demanded that our vessels should quit the harbor within three hours. This would render Renshaw's conduct with regard to his ship less mysterious. The Houston Telegraph of Jan. 5 had an account of the whole affair by an eye-witness, who makes the truce a Rebel trick from its inception. He says:

The propeller Owasco lay in the channel, about three-fourths of a mile from the Bayou City and Harriet Lane. As the Lane was boarded, the Owasco steamed up to within 200 or 300 yards of them, firing into both. The force of the collision drove tie Bayou City's stem so far into and under the wheel and gunwale of the Lane that she could not be got out. The Lane was also so careened that her guns could not be worked. and were consequently useless. They both lay, therefore, at the mercy of the Owasco. Herculean efforts were made to extricate them.

The Owasco, evidently fearing the Lane's guns, withdrew to a position about a mile distant. It became plainly evident that, unless the Bayou City and Harriet Lane could be separated, the enemy could escape if they wished. To gain time, therefore, a flag of truce was taken to the Owasco and Clifton, now lying close together. and a demand for a surrender. Time was asked to communicate with Com. Renshaw. who was on the Westfield. A truce of three hours was agreed upon. During the truce with the vessels, the unconditional surrender of these [Mass.] men was demanded and complied with.

2 Magruder, in his official report, unqualifiedly asserts that he had given Renshaw tree hours' truce, and that the latter had agreed to surrender--which is so irreconcilable with established facts that I can only credit it on the assumption that they had acted in concert throughout.

3 Formerly representative in Congress from Texas.

4 Magruder says a schooner also.

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