each; the whole number of guns and mortars was 310, many of them very heavy and very good.
, our commander, had passed 52 of his 63 years in the navy, having been a midshipman in the war of 1812; a Tennessean, his loyalty was of that stern and sterling quality whereof the best examples were furnished by the South
His time, and that of his officers, had for weeks been well spent in providing and preparing every thing likely to be required in the intended combat; so that when, on the day after our fleet reached the vicinity of the forts,1
and before it had opened fire, a Rebel flat-boat, piled with wood saturated with tar and turpentine, and then cut adrift, came rushing down the heady current — a crackling, roaring, flaming volcano — into the midst of our thickly clustering vessels, a few shells were thrown into it from the gunboat Mississippi
, without the designed effect of exploding and sinking it; when a row-boat from the Iroquois
quietly tackled it, fixed three grappling-irons in its bow, and towed it obliquely to the river bank, where it was permitted to burn itself harmlessly away, while the fleet proceeded with its preparations for the morrow's bombardment.
Axes, ropes, fire-buckets, and whatever else might be needed, were placed exactly where they would be at hand when wanted, and every thing made ready for business.
At daylight next morning, each of the small steamers took four of the schooners in tow and drew them slowly up the river, their decks and yards covered with great branches of trees, whose green foliage rendered them undistinguishable, save by close observation, from the dense woods that skirted the river.
Fourteen of them were ranged in line close under the wooded bank, over which they were to throw their shells into Fort Jackson
, at distances of two to three miles. Six were stationed near the farther or eastern bank, in full view of both forts, but within range only
Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
Explanations.--A, B, C. D, &c., are points on the left bank, and l, 2, 3, 4, &c., points on the right bank of the river, selected for placing the gunboats and mortars in position.
The position of the mortar-boats on the 18th was as follows: 6 mortars on the left bank, between G and J, 3,900 to 4.500 yards from Fort Jackson ; 14 mortars on the right bank, from 1 to 5, distant 2,000 to 3,190 yards from Fort Jackson.
On the 19th, they were all on the right bank, 3,010 to 4,100 yards from Fort Jackson, and remained nearly in the same position through the 20th and 21st.
The large steamers and gunboats were placed from 1/4 to 1 1/4 miles below the mortar-boats.
On the first day, the small steam sloops and gunboats went up to abreast of the smoke-stack, where they engaged the forts and the enemy's steamers.|