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[516] your despatches for Gen. Butler, returning with him yesterday afternoon.

Very respectfully,

Charles Boggs, Commander U. S. Navy.

The loss of the Varuna.

U. S. Steam gunboat Varuna, at sea, May 8, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith a duplicate of the report of Commander Boggs, late of the Varuna, and attached to my division of the attacking force. This gallant officer came up to my support when I had more of the enemy's steamers attacking me than I could well attend to. I afterward saw him in conflict with three of the enemy's steamers, and directed Commander Lee, of the Oneida, to go to his support, which he did in the most dashing manner. Commander Boggs's description of the loss of his vessel, I believe to be accurate. I saw him bravely fighting, his guns level with the water, as his vessel gradually sunk underneath, leaving her bow resting on the shore, and above water.

I have the honor to be

Your obedient servant,

T. Bailey, Captain.

Report of General Butler.

headquarters Department of the Gulf, Forts Jackson and Philip, April 29, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
sir: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to my instructions, I remained on the Mississippi River, with the troops named in my former despatch, awaiting the action of the fleet engaged in the bombardment of the Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

Failing to reduce them after six days of incessant fire, Flag-Officer Farragut determined to attempt their passage with his whole fleet, except that part thereof under the immediate command of Capt. Porter, known as the mortar-fleet.

On the morning of the twenty-fourth instant, the fleet got under weigh, and twelve vessels, including the four sloops-of-way, ran the gauntlet of fire of the Forts, and were safely above. Of the gallantry, courage, and conduct of this heroic action, unprecedented in naval warfare, considering the character of the works and the river, too much cannot be said. Of its casualties, and the details of its performance, the Flag-Officer will give an account to the proper department. I witnessed this daring exploit from a point about eight hundred yards from Fort Jackson, and unwittingly under its fire, and the sublimity of the scene can never be exceeded.

The fleet pressed on up the river to New-Orleans, leaving two gunboats to protect the Quarantine Station, five miles above.

In case the Forts were not reduced and a portion of the fleet got by them, it had been arranged between the Flag-Officer and myself, that I should make a landing from the Gulf side, in the rear of the Forts at the Quarantine, and from thence attempt Fort St. Philip by storm and assault, while the bombardment was continued by the fleet.

I immediately went to Sable Island with my transports, twelve miles in the rear of Fort St. Philip, the nearest point at which a sufficient depth of water could be found for them. Capt. Porter put at my disposal the Miami, drawing seven and one half feet, being the lightest draught vessel in the fleet, to take the troops from the ship as far in as the water would allow. We were delayed twenty-four hours by her running ashore at Pass a l'outre. The Twenty-sixth regiment Massachusetts volunteers, Col. Jones, were then put on board her, and carried within six miles of the Fort, where she again grounded.

Capt. Everett, of the Sixth Massachusetts battery, having very fully reconnoitred the waters and bayous in that vicinity, and foreseeing the necessity, i had collected and brought with me some thirty boats, into which the troops were again transhipped, and conveyed by a most fatiguing and laborious row some four and a half miles further, there being within one mile of the steamer, only two and a half feet of water.

A large portion of this passage was against a heavy current, through a bayou. At the entrance of Mameel's Canal, a mile and a half from the point of landing, rowing became impossible, as well from the narrowness of the canal as the strength of the current, which ran like a millrace. Through this the boats could only be impelled by dragging them singly, with the men up to their waists in water.

It is due to this fine regiment, and to a portion of the Fourth Wisconsin volunteers and Twenty-first Indiana, who landed under this hardship without a murmur, that their labors should be made known to the Department, as well as to account for the slowness of our operations.

The enemy evidently considered this mode of attack impossible, as they had taken no measures to oppose it, which might very easily have been successfully done.

We occupied at once both sides of the river, thus effectually cutting them off from all supplies, information, or succor, while we made our dispositions for the assault.

Meantime Capt. Porter had sent into the bayou, in the rear of Fort Jackson, two schooners of his mortar-fleet, to prevent the escape of the enemy from the Fort in that direction.

In the hurry and darkness of the passage of the Forts, the Flag-Officer had overlooked three of the ememy's gunboats and the iron-clad battery Louisiana, which were at anchor under the walls of the Fort. Supposing that all the rebel boats had been destroyed, (and a dozen or more had been,) he passed on to the city, leaving these in his rear. The iron steam-battery being very formidable, Capt. Porter deemed it prudent to withdraw his mortar-fleet some miles below, where he could have room to manoeuvre it if attacked by the iron monster, and the bombardment ceased.

I had got Brig.-Gen. Phelps in the river below

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