pass over the bar, suddenly the enemy opened fire upon her with two heavy pieces, from Fort Point, an old battery, hitherto abandoned, but which the rebels had succeeded in remounting during the night. This compliment the Clifton answered, first with her bow-gun, then the rest of her armament, moving rapidly, and throwing shell continuously. Soon she had cleared the Point, and, losing one man by the Minie bullet of a sharp-shooter, held on her course toward the Harriet Lane and the thickest of the fight, which then became general both on land and water. The doomed vessel, her steam not up, unable to escape, was the centre of a perfectly infernal fire-dance. Seen from the Mary A. Boardman, the spectacle assumed an aspect at once grand and terrific. Overhead and around night. was slowly retiring before day; the dim light prevalent being rent by the frequent flashes of cannon, the soaring aloft of shell, and the omnipresent short-lived blaze of musketry, while the hellish discord beggars all description. Prominent amid it, one heard the sonorous boom of the eleven-inch gun of the Owasco, the bellowing of the batteries, and the volleys, shrieks, and detonations pervading the town. But our struggle is nearing its end. The rebel steamer and ram have closed at length, on either side of the Harriet Lane, boarded her, and a bloody struggle is raging on her deck. Her leaders, maddened it is said with whisky, fight like infuriate devils, precipitating themselves headlong on the guards, swarming fore and aft, and pouring an incessant hail of small arms from above and below upon the devoted crew. They contend with an enemy apparently unwilling either to give or take quarter. Sternly they are met, sternly resisted. Gallant Captain Wainwright is killed, and of his one hundred and thirty men, all but ten or twenty share his fate, and the Harriet Lane is captured by the enemy! The loss has occurred, but it is not, as yet, evident, indeed perceptible. Though her guns are silenced, the Owasco, the Clifton, the brave little Sachem still prolong the contest. Presently the former, seen in the gray light of the morning at about six o'clock stops firing, the others emulate her example. Everywhere the fire ceases or slackens, and on the opposite side of the island two rebel gunboats are descried, tranquilly looking on, and, in the remote distance, yet two others, only to be distinguished by the long line of black smoke proceeding from their chimneys. Turn we to the flag-ship Westfield, stranded at three miles' distance. The Mary A. Boardman has abandoned the task of endeavoring to deliver her, rendered the more hopeless by the rapidly-falling tide. A hawser has been discouragingly snapped asunder. Nobody on board of either vessel knows the result of the contest centring about the Harriet Lane, but the silence succeeding it seems ominous. Suddenly, at a little after six, the Owasco, the Clifton, and the Sachem, display their colors. Up to that moment, no flag, except one, fluttering idly at the bow of the Westfield, and another, a rebel one, the “stars and bars,” on the huge Mississippi steamer, have been visible. The Mary A. Boardman, with her anchor up, follows the example. It is a moment of doubt, of intense excitement. But the Harriet Lane does not respond. In five more, a boat puts off from her toward the Owasco, manned by a handful of rebels, conveying a paroled officer (it is asserted the only surviving one) bearing his white handkerchief tied to his sword as a flag of truce. He goes to request a suspension of hostilities, and, directly afterward, white flags are flying on the Owasco and the Clifton-but not upon the little Sachem! The best part of an hour passes in inaction. Then Commodore Renshaw sends a message and his pilot to the Mary A. Boardman, bidding her run up to the town to ascertain what has occurred, instructing Capt. Weir, if fired upon, to raise the white flag. Accordingly, taking the precaution to load her ten-pounder, she steams off from the Westfield, past Fort Point, but presently returns, finding her task anticipated. Capt. Law of the Clifton puts off in a gig from that vessel to Commodore Renshaw, with a message received from Gen. Magruder on shore. It gives the Union fleet until ten o'clock to leave Galveston on peril of destruction. Almost directly after the return of Capt. Law to his steamer, the second cutter of the Westfield reaches the Mary A. Boardman with orders for her to come as near as possible and lie to, as the Commodore has determined to transfer his men and then to blow up his own vessel. It is asserted — whether with truth I cannot pretend to decide — that he was advised to this course by Captain Law. The scene that ensued, consequent on the knowledge of Com. Renshaw's resolution, on board both vessels, was one scarcely to be paralleled in the experience of a lifetime. It might have been a quarter-past nine o'clock, hence very little time remained for the transfer of men and baggage — the Commodore, indeed, proposed to allow but fifteen minutes. Instantly, then, all was animation. The Westfield lay at about five hundred feet from the Mary A. Boardman, with all her portholes open and her guns run out, every body on board being promiscuously engaged in endeavoring to secure whatever came uppermost. Hammocks, officers' trunks, seamen's chests, cutlasses, swords, rifles, fowling-pieces, blankets, articles of clothing, even looking-glasses, were thrown pell-mell into the boats, hurriedly stowed away and rowed, each with its due proportion of men, to the Boardman, where all hands labored unceasingly to receive them. The three boats of the Westfield, the first and second cutter and gig, plied to and fro incessantly. In from fifteen to twenty minutes, one hundred and thirty men were transferred from one vessel to the other, Captain Weir superintending matters forward on the Mary A. Boardman, and Major Burt doing the same aft. To the admirable coolness and presence of mind exhibited by
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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