, distant 2 1/2 to three miles; all were under orders to concentrate their fire on Fort Jackson
, that being the larger and more important work, whose fall necessarily involved that of Fort St. Philip
At 9 A. M., before our mortar vessels were ready, Fort Jackson
opened fire; but her balls struck the water 100 yards short of our gunboat Owasco
, which held the advance, and which was first to reply.
, who commanded the mortar fleet, watched through his glass the effect of our very deliberate fire, constantly giving new directions, founded on his observations, as to the elevation of pieces, length of fuse, and weight of charge.
By 10 A. M., both parties had closed their experiments, and were firing steadily and heartily, though as yet with little visible effect, save that the fish in the river, stunned and killed by the tremendous concussions, had b:.gun to float past our anchored vessels.
Soon, three more rafts are seen sweeping down from the new barrier of chains and hulks, and, as they approach, are dealt with as their predecessor had been, without interrupting the fire of our guns.
At 4 P. M., Gen. Butler
's little dispatch steamer Saxon
arrived, with news that the army was below, ready and waiting for service, and that the Monitor
had disabled thle Merrimac
in Hampton Roads
At 5, flames were seen and, bursting from Fort Jackson
, whose fire slackened; and it was manifest that its wooden interior had been ignited, like that of Fort Sumter
in the initial bombardment of the war. The Rebel forts ceased firing, as our boats did, an hour later, and the night passed silently; the flames in Fort Jackson
not being extinguished till 2 next morning.
But its batteries opened as lively as ever at sunrise, and at 11:30 one of their rifled bolts crashed through one of our schooners, sinking her in 20 minutes; while the Oneida
, in our advance, was twice hit in the afternoon, two of her guncarriages smashed, and 9 of her men wounded.
The fort had evidently suffered by the day's work; but the fathomless mud of the Mississippi
seemed exactly constituted to absorb our shells, with the least possible harm to all around.
and staff arrived during that afternoon, and went upon a small boat to take a look at the chain; which, it had begun by this time to be understood, was badly in the way, and must be subjected to an operation.
The bombardment having been continued through a third day without encouraging result, Capt. Farragut
called a council of captains in the cabin of his flag-ship Hartford
, and, having heard all opinions, decided on an attempt to force a passage by the forts.
To this end, it was essential that the cable should first be broken; and to Capt. Bell
, with the gunboats Pinola
, supported by the Iroquois
, and Winona
, was assigned the conduct of this critical undertaking; which, the night being dark, it was determined to attempt forthwith; at 10 P. M., the Pinola
had set out on their perilous errand; Capt. Porter
, so soon as they were out of range of his guns, opening upon Fort Jackson
a tremendous fire from all his mortar-schooners, under which the Pinola
ran up toward the cable near the western shore, directly under the guns of the