hour's mutual cannonade, a 24-pound shot from the fort pierced the Essex
at an unguarded spot, and, tearing through her thick oak planking as though it had been cheese, penetrated her starboard boiler, instantly filling her from stein to stern with burning steam, killing both her pilots at their post of duty, and severely scalding Capt. W. D. Porter
and nearly 40 of his gunners and crew.
Thus completely disabled, the Essex
drifted out of the action, to the great joy of the Rebels
, who for a moment thought the victory their own; but her consorts kept on firing and nearing for twenty minutes more, when they were within 600 yards of the Rebel
guns, whereof all but four had by this time been silenced: one having burst, disabling every man who served it, while the vent of the great 10-inch columbiad had been closed.
rendering it useless; while our fire at short range grew hotter and hotter.
, as Com. Foote
had apprehended, had not yet worked his way through the miry woods and over the difficult trails he was obliged to traverse in order to reach and occupy the main road from Henry
Had he been directed to start at 6 instead of 11 that morning, he would probably have intercepted and captured Tilghman
's entire force.
As it was, the latter says he ordered all but the hundred or so inside the fort, and employed ill working its guns, to take the road to Donelson
, under Col. Heiman
, his second in command; and that order was obeyed with great promptness and celerity.
remained himself with the handful in the fort; and, at 1:45 P. M., seeing further defense alike impotent and hopeless, and being urged by his officers to surrender, he, intending to negotiate for terms, raised a flag of truce, which, being unperceived, amid the dense smoke, had no effect on the fire of the fleet.
Five minutes later, by the advice of his officers, he, having ceased firing, lowered his flag., thereby surrendering