Letter from Brigadier-General R. L. Page to rear-admiral D. G. Farragut.
Fort Morgan, August 6, 1864.sir: Your note of the fifth received. There is no objection to your burying your dead on shore. When they arrive near the wharf here, a point will be designated for the burial. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Report of Captain Percival Drayton.
flag-ship Hartford, Mobile Bay, Aug. 6, 1864.sir: I have the honor to offer the following report of the part which this vessel took in the action of yesterday: According to previous arrangement, the Metacomet lashed alongside of us at half-past 4 A. M., and at half-past 5 we got under way, following the Brooklyn, which led the line. After some little delay, which was required to allow of all the vessels getting into position, we moved on in the direction of Fort Morgan, which opened on us at about two miles distance at six minutes past seven. The enemy's fire was at once answered by our bow hundred-pounder rifle, the only gun that could be brought to bear, until about half-past 7, when we commenced firing the broadside guns with great rapidity, which was continued as long as they could be of use. About thirty-five minutes past seven, I heard the cry that a monitor was sinking, and looking on the starboard-bow, saw the turret of the Tecumseh just disappearing under the water, where an instant before I had seen this noble vessel pushing on gallantly in a straight line to attack the enemy's ram Tennessee, which had apparently moved out to give her an opportunity. As our boats could not be lowered, by your direction, one was sent which was towing astern of the Metacomet, the vessel lashed to us. The rapidity of our fire, together with the smoke, so completely disordered the enemy's aim, that we passed the Fort with no great injury or loss of life, a shell which came through the side and exploded a little abaft the mainmast, killing and wounding a large portion of number seven gun's crew, being the only one that caused much destruction. As we, however, were getting by the shore batteries, we came directly under the fire of the gunboats Selma, Morgan, and Gaines, and the ram Tennessee, and being only able to direct our fire on one of them at a time, the shots from the others were delivered with great deliberation and consequent effect, a single shot having killed ten and wounded five men at number one and two guns. The Tennessee also followed us for some distance, throwing an occasional shot, but finding that she did not come up, and we being now a mile ahead of the remainder of the fleet, she turned and ran down to them, not wishing, I suppose, to be entirely cut off from Fort Morgan. At this time, by your order, the Metacomet was cast off and directed to chase the Selma, which, keeping on our bow, had annoyed us excessively with her three stern guns, which we could not answer, owing to our rifle gun-carriage having been destroyed by a shell. She was just sheering off as the Metacomet was loosed from us, and being followed into shallow water was overtaken and captured by the latter vessel, after an exciting running fight of an hour. The other two gunboats, the Morgan and Gaines, also got into shallow water, and not being followed by any of our light-draft vessels, escaped to Fort Morgan, where one was run ashore and afterward burned; and the other, the Morgan, got into Mobile during the night by keeping close in shore. The fight appearing to be now over, we anchored and made signal to the fleet to do the same, supposing that as the Tennessee had got under Fort Morgan, she would remain there, when a quarter of an hour later it was reported that she had come out and was steering toward us. I could not, however, believe in such temerity at first, but its truth becoming soon evident, by your order, I commenced heaving up the anchor, and should have slipped had it not been for the jamming of a shackle-pin; but the ship was soon under way again, steering for the ram, which we struck with great force, although not on her beam, as she turned toward us as we approached. After striking we dropped close alongside, and delivered our broadside of solid nine-inch shot with thirteen pounds of powder, at a distance of perhaps not more than eight feet from her side, as I believe, however, from subsequent observation, without doing any injury. The ram at the time had only two guns in broadside. One missed fire several times, as we could distinctly hear; the shell from the other passed through our berth-deck and exploded just inside, killing and wounding a number of men, and the pieces broke through the spar and berthdecks, even going through the launch and into the hold where were the wounded. We then stood off, and were making another circuit to run into the ram again, when in mid career the Lackawanna struck us a little forward of the mizzenmast, cutting us completely down to within two feet of the water. This caused a detention of perhaps five minutes, but finding that we were not sinking, the ship was, by your order, pointed again for the ram, and we were going for her at full speed, when it was observed that a white flag was flying. This ended the action, and at ten minutes past ten we had again anchored at about four miles distant from Fort Morgan. I have now only to speak of the officers and crew. To Lieutenant Commander Kimberly, the executive officer, I am indebted, not only for the fine example of coolness and self-possession which he set to to those around him, but also for the excellent condition to which he had brought every thing belonging to the fighting department of the ship, in consequence of which there was