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Doc. 2.-fight on the Mississippi River.


Report of Lieut. R. B. Lowry.

United States steam sloop Brooklyn, off New-Orleans, April 25, 1862.
sir: I have to report, that in the action of the morning of the twenty-fourth instant, from four A. M. to half-past 5 A. M., against the rebel forts Jackson and St. Philip, masked and water-batteries, and some sixteen rebel gunboats, this ship engaged the enemy, at fifty minutes past three A. M., with shell, grape, and canister, of which one hundred and five rounds were fired from the nine-inch guns in broadside, at one time within one hundred and fifty yards of Fort St. Philip. Great difficulty was experienced in discharging the eighty-pounder Dahlgren rifle. This gun is defective in its vent.

The conduct of the men and officers was under your own eye. I can say with pride that they fully met my own expectation in their drill and efficiency; and although the action was fought mostly in total darkness, still nothing could exceed the rapid and precise firing, the prompt readiness to repair damages, and the care for the dead and wounded which was evinced by every person at the gun divisions.

I regret to report the loss of seven most valuable men, namely: Bernard Sands, signal quartermaster, [3] killed by your side; John Wade, captain after-guard; Thomas White, coxswain, captain of No. 9 gun; Andrew Rourke, seaman, first loader of pivot-gun; Daniel McEmory, boy, powder-boy of pivot-gun; Henry Roff, marine, of the marine-gun's crew No. 1; William Lanahan, marine, marine-gun's crew No. 2. Midshipman Anderson, your aid, was carried overboard early in the action, from the poop, by a round shot. No. 9 gun had, by the striking of a thirty-two-pound shot against the iron boat-davit on port-side, and breaking into fragments, immediately followed by a bursting shell in the same direction, first captain killed, second captain badly wounded, and nine men badly disabled, making eleven men out of the crew of seventeen. Still the remaining six fought the gun most gallantly until the end of the action.

Our wounded amount to thirty, as per surgeon's report. No. 1 gun-port was disabled by having the forward axletree shot away. We encountered the boom-chain, and broke it adrift by running over it and dislodging the anchored hulks; this close to Fort St. Philip. We also had an encounter with an iron-clad ram, which struck us in the starboard gangway, but the chain armor, to a great extent, received the blow and saved the frame of the ship. The ship was badly struck and cut up in various parts. A report from Mr. Toy, the carpenter, I herewith enclose. Both mainstays, several shrouds, lanyards, and jib-stays, and much of the running-gear, was cut by shot.

As your executive officer, it becomes my duty, as it is my pride, to call attention to the excellent bearing of every officer and man on board ship. The advancing and victorious squadron, in succession, ran down, sank, blew up, or fired by shells, eleven of the enemy's sixteen gunboats. One, the Warrior, a three-masted propeller, placed herself under the port broadside of the Brooklyn, when eleven five-second shells were exploded in her, actually driving her on the bank, and instantly setting her on fire.

A second three-masted propeller escaped annihilation from our starboard battery, from her resemblance to the Iroquois, which caused us to hold our fire until the current had drifted her down astern of us, when her true character was ascertained, but too late for us to destroy her. Mr. O'Kane, acting second lieutenant, in charge of the forward divisions, was wounded in the middle of the action and disabled, after most gallant service. I ordered Midshipman Bartlett to take charge of his battery, which he did promptly and efficiently.

In conclusion, I, without hesitation, assert that the attack of our squadron upon two strong and garrisoned forts, coming within grape and canister range, and to a great extent silencing their fire, and afterwards overtaking and destroying nearly all of the enemy's fleet, is not to my knowledge surpassed, if equalled, on the record of any navy in the world. In the action of this morning against the batteries near the city, we engaged at close canister and grape range, and following closely the Scioto, which gunboat dashed gallantly into close quarters with the battery on the right bank, but between us and the battery, so that we had to hold our fire, we finished her work by a sweeping discharge of grape and canister, driving the rebels pell-mell out of their works.

Midshipman Bartlett fought the eighty-pounder pivot very skilfully, firing twenty-one shots into the battery on the left bank with great rapidity and precision, and in a great measure redeemed the character of the gun. I am happy to state that, though we were struck a number of times in the hull, and some rigging cut, we had no loss of life or blood. One man, Dennis Leary, ordinary seaman, fell overboard, by his own carelessness, and was drowned.

The howitzers in the fore and maintops were well served by Coxswain Hamilton and Captain maintop Williams, throwing shrapnel and canister very effectively into the enemy on both banks, without officers to command them. The crews of these guns are worthy of special notice.

I have to thank you, sir, for the splendid example you gave us of coolness and masterly handling of this vessel in both actions, and I close this hasty report by recommending to especial notice Quartermaster Buck, who, on the first morning, though wounded, stood bravely at the wheel for seven hours, and to-day again took his post and steered the ship from early daylight until half-past 1 P. M., over eight hours.

note.--The engine, berth-deck, and powder-divisions were well served by their respective officers and men stationed there, and everything connected with them was kept in perfect order.

Third Assistant-Engineer Morgan stood at the bell, and executed your orders promptly and efficiently.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. B. Lowry, Lieut. United States Navy. To Captain Thomas T. Craven, Commanding United States Steamship Brooklyn, Off New-Orleans, La.

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