The killed and wounded on board the Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Gazette account.
Boston journal account.
The correspondent of the Boston Journal
gives the following interesting details of the bombardment of Fort Henry
When the rebels took possession of Columbus
, and made a stand at Bowling Green
, they saw the necessity of also shutting the two gates midway the two places, the Cumberland
and Tennessee Rivers
, which open into the heart of the seceded States.
Taking now the map, you will observe that the two rivers are very near together at the dividing line between Kentucky
. Two important points were selected on those rivers, near the State
line, strong natural positions, which military science and engineering had made, it was thought, impregnable to any attack by land or water.
The points selected are below the railroad which connects Memphis
with Bowling Green
, thus guarding against any interruption of communication, matter very important to the rebels, not only in subsisting their armies, but in enabling them to transfer troops from either division, as might be necessary to counteract our movements.
The point selected for fortification on the Tennessee
, is about ninety miles from the Ohio River
, at Pine Bluff Landing
, on the east side, where, in addition to the strong battery commanding the river, there was an entrenched camp, protected on both flanks by creeks and a pond, and on the river by felled trees, for a long distance.
The river at this point runs nearly due north.
A mile and a quarter below the Fort
is Panther Island
, heavily wooded.
The channel on the east side of the island is impassable at low water, the main channel being on the west side.
The rebel engineer, therefore, in constructing the work, arranged the angles and faces to command the main channel, but had taken into account the contingency of high water, and had planted torpedoes in the east passage, which were fished up by Commodore Foote
Three were first taken up, and all but one were found to be so moist that they would not have exploded.
The front face of the Fort
is about twenty feet above the water.
It contains four or five acres, and the intrenched camp about thirty acres.
You can obtain an idea of the relative positions by standing facing the north, and raising your right arm, half bent, till your hand is on a level with your face.
Your arm represents the river; the Fort
is at your elbow, in position to send a raking fire down toward your wrist.
between the wrist, and above the elbow, you are to locate the creeks, which will almost enclose the entrenched camp behind the Fort
Right in front of your face, you are to locate a high bluff, one hundred feet high, with a redan, which commands the Fort
on the opposite side of the river.
I do not know as this description may be intelligible, and I therefore give a diagram, such as your printer can set up with the types, lines and rules at his command:
1 2 3 4--Gunboats commencing attack.
1 1 1 1--Gunboats at time of surrender.
Distance from island to Fort, one and a quarter miles. River opposite Fort, three fourths of a mile wide.
Instead of a right angle, as in this diagram, let it be gentle curve or bend in the river, and you will have a general view of the locality.
The country around is much broken, and intersected by creeks, and covered with forests.
At one angle of the encampment there is a road which leads to the town of Dover
, on the Cumberland
, twelve miles distant. The magazine is in the centre of the work, and is well protected.
The Fort and the camp are both surrounded by ditches.
A combined plan of attack was agreed upon.
was to steam up the western or shallow channel, now containing water sufficient to float the boats over all obstructions, while the force under McClernand
should gain the rear of the camp.
At the same time Gen. Smith
was to move upon the other bank, and attack the redan.
A reconnoissance showed that the largest portion of the rebels were within their intrenchments, and that the force in the redan was comparatively small.
being aware of the condition of the roads, desired Gen. Grant
to move at an earlier hour than that assigned for the gunboats, but Gen. Grant
was confident his forces could reach their positions in time.
In this he was undoubtedly mistaken, as the sequel proved.
The distance was much greater than had been supposed, and the roads were mortar-beds after one regiment had passed.
did not accompany the column, but remained by the river.
assured him that the troops would be behind, informed him that he should proceed at the time fixed upon, and added: “I shall take it before you will get there with your forces.”
The gunboats were anchored four miles below the fort, opposite Gen. Grant
At half-past 10 o'clock a signal was made for them to get under way, and in a few minutes the fires which had been banked up were in full blast.
had prepared his instructions several days previously, and upon mature thought saw nothing to be changed.
They were brief and plain.
The three iron-clad boats were to keep in line with him, steadily advance, and keep bows on — to do just as he did. The three not clad were to follow at a proper distance in the rear, and throw shell over those in advance.
To the commanders and crews he said that in a battle it was very necessary to success that they should keep cool.
He desired them to fire with deliberate aim and not to attempt rapid firing, for three reasons, namely, that with rapid firing there was always a waste of ammunition; that their range would be wild; that the enemy would be encouraged unless the fire was effectual; that it was desirable not to heat the guns.
With these instructions he slowly led his fleet up the shallow channel under cover of the island, thus avoiding long-range shot from the rifled guns which it was known the enemy had in position to sweep the main channel.
He steamed slow to allow the troops time to gain their position.
The columns of troops were in motion.
At starting the bands enlivened the movement, till the horrible condition of the roads compelled them to cease.
The fleet slowly gained the head of the island and came into the following position:
The distance from the head of the island to the Fort
is a mile and a quarter.
As soon as the four boats came into position, the Cincinnati
opened fire at thirty-four minutes past twelve o'clock, with an eight-inch Dahlgren
gun, throwing a shell with a fifteen-second fuse into the Fort
and the St. Louis
each gave the same kind of missile, while the Essex
threw an eighty-pound shell.
The rebels instantly replied, and the firing became general, though not at first rapid.
The commanders obeyed the instructions, kept their boats in a line with the Cincinnati
, and fired with deliberate aim. The consequence was, that almost every shell dropped in the right place.
As only the bow-guns were used, there were only twelve guns brought to bear upon the Fort
, and in return about the same number of guns were brought to bear by the rebels upon the boats.
As soon as the four boats were sufficiently advanced, the Lexington
, and Conestoga
reached the head of the island, elevated their guns and joined in the fight, taking deliberate aim and dropping their shells into the Fort
Steadily onward moved the boats, so nearly equal that at times they were almost in even line, throwing their shells as if practising at a target.
And now there was a visible commotion in the rebel camp.
The first shell from the Cincinnati
threw the troops into disorder, and at the fourth round, unable to stand the terrible hail which was bringing sure destruction, they broke and fled, leaving arms, ammunition, provisions, blankets, tents — everything, and poured out of the intrenchment a motley, panic-stricken rabble, taking the road toward Dover
A portion jumped on board a small steamboat which was lying in the creek above the Fort
, and escaped up the river.
A few shells from the boats would have stopped them, and doubtless would have caused terrible slaughter, but Com. Foote
had a definite purpose in view — the taking of the Fort
, and he was not to be swerved from that.
When the cannonade opened, the troops which were marching to gain the rear of the enemy, impeded by the swollen creeks, were not more than half-way to their designed positions, but with the first gun from the Cincinnati
they gave a loud hurrah, and of their own accord broke into the double-quick, fearing they would be too late to have a hand in it. Their fears were well grounded, and the promise of Com. Foote
to Gen. Grant
was fulfilled, as the sequel will show.
Straight onward moved the boats, swerving neither to the right nor the left.
As they neared the Fort
their fire became more and more destructive.
The sand-bags and gabions were knocked about, covering the guns and smothering those who served them.
At an early moment in the fight the rifled gun of the rebels burst, but they did not slacken fire or seem discouraged.
They fired with great accuracy, as will be hereafter seen, selecting the weakest spots of the gunboats, as their commander, Gen. Tilghman
, said, for their points of sight.
The gunboats were repeatedly hit, and those portions which were not plated with iron were badly riddled.
The fight had lasted fifty minutes with scarcely a casualty on our part, when a twenty-four pound shot entered the Essex
, passed through the thick oak planking surrounding the boilers and engines, and entered the starboard boiler, instantly disabling her, filling the entire boat with steam, and scalding a large portion of her crew.
She at once dropped behind, and floated down with the stream, till taken up by a tug and towed to the encampment.
The rebels were greatly encouraged.
They revived their flagging fire, and evidently felt that victory was still to be theirs.
But not for a moment faltered the fleet.
They kept right on, straight toward the batteries, as if nothing had happened.
They were now in close range.
Their shells tore up the embankments as they exploded directly over the guns.
One eighty-pound shell killed or wounded every person serving one of the guns, while the shots of the enemy which struck the iron plating glanced off, doing no harm.
There was no sign of backing out — none of stopping on the part of Com. Foote
--and those who beheld the fleet supposed from the indications that he was going to run straight on to the shore and pour in his fire at two rods' distance.
Such coolness, determination, and energy had not been counted on by the rebel general, and at forty-six minutes past one, or one hour and twelve minutes from the commencement of the fight, when the gunboats were within three or four hundred yards of the Fort
, the rebel flag came down by the run. In an instant all firing ceased.
The rebels had raised a white flag, signifying a desire for a truce, but the smoke hid it from view, and no one on board the fleet observed it, and the shells were pouring in at such a rate which would not admit of delay, after the thought had once taken possession of the rebels' minds that it was time to give in. Conditions were of minor consideration.
The St. Louis being nearest, immediately sent a boat on shore, and the Stars and Stripes went up with a wild huzzah from the crews.
, who commanded the rebels, asked for Commodore Foote
Word was sent from the Cincinnati
that Commodore Foote
would be happy to receive him on board that gunboat, and the Cincinnati
's gig was sent to the shore.
The rebel General entered it and soon stood before the Commodore
asked for terms.
“No, sir,” said the Commodore
, “your surrender must be unconditional.”
“Well, sir, if I must surrender, it gives me pleasure to surrender to so brave an officer as you.”
“You do perfectly right to surrender, sir; but I should not have surrendered on any condition.”
I do not understand you.”
“Because I was fully determined to capture the Fort
or go to the bottom.”
The rebel General opened his eyes at this remark,
replied: “I thought I had you, Commodore
, but you were too much for me.”
“But how could you fight against the old flag?”
“Well, it did come hard at first; but if the North
had only let us alone, there would have been no trouble.
But they would not abide by the Constitution
assured him that he and all the South
The Essex was formerly a ferry-boat used at St. Louis
She was enlarged and fitted up for the gunboat service, but is very differently constructed from the other boats.
Her boilers are not below the water-line.
They are surrounded by stanchions of white oak plank.
When on board the Essex
, a few weeks ago, I remarked to Capt. Porter
that a shot entering one of the ports might be attended with unpleasant results.
He agreed with me, but said that that was a contingency they could not guard against.
The shot, however, which did the damage, did not come through one of the ports, but struck a few inches above, on the only spot at the bow where there was no plating!
Only one of the boats is wholly plated — the Benton
The others are plated at the bows and at the sides, in part.
The Essex had the least mail of all. It is singular that the ball which did so much damage should have struck at the only vulnerable place at the bows.
The flag-ship Cincinnati
fired one hundred and twelve shot; the St. Louis
one hundred and sixteen; the Carondelet
about one hundred; the Essex
fifty-five; the Conestoga
, a few each; making in all about four hundred shot.
The rebels replied spiritedly and with good aim, which is highly praised by Commodore Foote
They fired over three hundred shot.
The Cincinnati was struck thirty-one times, the St. Louis
seven, the Essex
, I believe, did not receive a shot.
remarked to Commodore Foote
, that “he knew the weak places of the boats, that he had accurate knowledge of their construction, and aimed accordingly.”
But notwithstanding this, all, with the exception of the Essex
, are ready for a fight to-day.
One of the one hundred and twenty-eight pound shots struck an angle of the pilot-house on the Cincinnati
with a force that jarred the entire boat from stem to stern, but did not penetrate the two and one half inch mail, beneath which, at the side of the pilot, stood the Commodore
, his head but a few inches from the place.
The boats have proved a success
When the rebel flag came down from the mast, the troops were a long distance from their assigned positions.
The fight was over, and they had not seen it, and, what was more galling, they had not been able to participate in achieving the victory.
evidently did not understand that Commodore Foote
was a man of his word, who believes in energetic action at close quarters.
In giving me these details, Commodore Foote
incidentally remarked that he was decidedly in favor of close action.
Under ordinary circumstances he should adopt the plan of Commodore Du Pont
, but in this case he was satisfied with the plan he had adopted, and which he had resolved to carry out, no matter what the events of the moment.
He was satisfied that while one casemated gun on shore was equal to five afloat, a gun behind an embankment merely was but little more than one on shipboard.
He received the surrendered property, and two hours later turned it all over to Gen. Grant
, and proceeded to make other arrangements.
The troops, if they had been in position as was designed, would doubtless have bagged the entire rebel force; but being behind time, the fleet-footed rebels were far on their way towards Dover
, when they got possession of the road in the rear of the intrenchments.
A portion of the force was immediately started in pursuit, while another portion was detailed to accompany the three gunboats sent by Commodore Foote
up the Tennessee River
to destroy the railroad at Clarksville
, and get possession of the three rebel gunboats afloat.
The Tyler, Lexington
, all of them fast boats, under the command of Lieut. Phelps
, were sent.
They are not iron-clad, but it is not known that there are any batteries upon the river.
I have upon former occasions made the readers of the Journal
somewhat acquainted with Commodore Foote
, with his personal appearance, his sterling qualities as a man and a Christian gentleman.
He has now shown that he is an able commander — not only able to plan, but to execute.
To him belongs in a great measure the credit ot organizing this formidable naval force, of creating it with scanty materials, and against great difficulties.
When he was informed that the rebels had ten to twenty thousand men in camp, he remarked that he was sorry for it, because if they stood their ground there must be a terrible slaughter, for he should take the Fort
, or his vessels would go to the bottom.
This evening, notwithstanding his onerous duties, he has found time to sit down and give me these details.
To him in particular are the readers of the Journal
indebted for this full account.
Aside from all these qualities of character, he is not afraid to have all men know that he recognises his obligations to his Divine Maker.
A. gentleman remarked to him that he was getting nervous, and was afraid he did not sleep well.
“I never slept better in my life than night before last, and I never prayed more fervently than on yesterday morning; but I couldn't sleep last night for thinking of those poor fellows on the Essex
,” was the reply.
No wonder that under such a commander the victory is ours.
He has done his duty from patriotic and conscientious motives, and a grateful people will reward him.
The other officers and men, one and all, did their duty nobly.
informed me that his instructions were obeyed to the letter.
St. Louis Democrat account.
Results of the victory.