A large proportion of the forces inside the Forts were Northern men, and there were also many foreigners. The party that seized the Fort early in 1861 was a company of German Yagers, and there were a number of Irish also. In all there were some six hundred or seven hundred men in the Fort about the time of the bombardment. The Northern men were mostly sent down at an early stage of the proceedings, and I imagine most of them volunteered, hoping in that way to avoid suspicion, and, perhaps, not have to fight against the Government after all. [Col. Higgins had no expectation of being attacked, that is, he thought no fleet could be brought against him sufficiently strong to risk an attack.] There was a company of sharpshooters attached to the forces, under the command of Capt. Mullen. They numbered about two hundred, and were largely recruited from the riff-raff of New-Orleans. They scouted as far down as eight or nine miles below the Forts, and brought nightly reports to Fort Jackson, travelling by the bayous and passages on the south-west side of the river. The main body, however, lay in the edge of the woods below Fort Jackson, about a mile and a half from it. From here they fired on a boat that pulled up under that shore on the fourteenth. The grape and canister-shot that the Owasco threw into the bushes made their berth uncomfortable, and they broke up their camp, came into the Fort, all wet and draggled, having thrown many of their arms away, and swore they would go to New-Orleans, and they went. My informant voluntarily gave the credit of reducing the Forts to the bomb flotilla. The Fort was so much shaken by this firing that it was feared the casemates would come down about their ears. The loss of life by the bombs was not great, as they could see them coming plainly, and get out of the way, but the effects of their fall and explosion on the Fort no skill could avert. About one shell in twenty failed to explode, even those that fell in the water going off as well as the others. It is well worth noting that the bombs that fell in the ditch, close to the walls of the Fort, and exploded there, shook the Fort much more severely than any of those that buried themselves in the solid ground. The firing was most destructive the first day, and the vessels lying on the north-east side of the river, which were in plain view of the Forts, made much the most effective shots. The bomb-vessels lying on the other side of the river, were at all times totally invisible, the best glasses failing to distinguish their bushed. tops from the trees around them. During the bombardment the only guns that were much used were the rifled guns, of which there were three, and the columbiad and Dahlgren guns, eight in number. The mortars fired occasionally. One of the rifled guns mounted on the Fort proper before the bombardment, was sent, two days before the fire opened, to Island Number10. One of the rifles in the water-battery was originally one of the barbette guns, a thirty-two-pounder. It was sent to New-Orleans to be rifled, and a week after a second one was sent, but the first, on trial, proving a failure, the second was not changed. The large columbiad in the waterbattery was made somewhere in Secessia, but exactly where my informant did not know. The Fort was in perfect order when the bombardment commenced, it always having been very strictly policed, and the dirt which now disfigures everything is the accumulation of a few days. The water did not enter the Fort until the levee had been broken, and during the summer of 1861, when the Mississippi was even higher, their parade-ground was entirely dry. There was very little sickness in the Fort, the water probably not having stood long enough to create a nuisance. The discipline in the Fort was very strict, but what seemed to be felt more than the strictness, was the bringing in of very young and entirely inexperienced officers, who were placed in command of others much their superiors in knowledge. Suspected men were closely watched, and the punishment for improper talk among them was to be a rope around the offenders, and let them float in the “stinking ditch.” The impression we derived from this part of the conversation, however, was that the Fort was very well governed, and that the man who was speaking had not often come under the displeasure of the authorities, for he was not eloquent on the subject of his wrongs. The chain, as first stretched across the river, was quite a formidable obstacle. The chain was brought from Pensacola, and was a very heavy one. It was supported by heavy logs, thirty feet long, only a few feet apart, to the under side of each of which the chain was pinned near the upstream end. The chain was kept from sagging down too far by seven heavy anchors, from which smaller chains ran to the main chain. These anchors was buoyed with can-buoys taken from Pilot Town. In a few months a raft formed on the upper side of this chain which reached up to the Forts, and its weight swept away the whole obstruction and went to sea, carrying the buoys with it. It was then replaced by the lighter chain, buoyed by hulks, which we found there three weeks ago. Two of the large can-buoys were placed in the magazine in the water-battery. The night that Flag-Officer Farragut's fleet passed up, Col. Higgins was so sure of destroying it that he allowed the first vessels to come up with the Fort before opening fire, fearing that they would be driven back prematurely and escape him. When they succeeded in passing, he remarked: “Our cake is all dough; we may as well give it up.” During this engagement, a Capt. Jones, from the back country, had charge of those casemate
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Doc . 2 .-fight at Port Royal, S. C. January 1 , 1862 .
Doc . 82 .-fight in Hampton roads , Va. , March 8th and 9th , 1862 .
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