These boats opened fire upon Fort Jackson at five P. M., which was continued for an hour and a half, the enemy, under our fire, retiring behind the point of woods. One fire-barge sent down successfully against the enemy at four o'clock A. M., which drifted in among his vessels and was fired upon by them, creating considerable movement and perturbation. During the day Captains Renshaw, Kennon, Seant, Stephenson, and Hooper passed in turn with their boats below the raft, now very much disconnected and scattered, and exchanged a few shots with the hostile gunboats and mortar-boats. Two more abortive attempts were made to send down fire-barges against the enemy during the night.
April 18.At nine o'clock A. M., the enemy opened upon Fort Jackson with his entire mortar-fleet of twenty-one vessels, and with rifled guns from his gunboats. Fifteen of them were concealed behind the point of woods, and the other six hauled out in the stream at an angle with them (see diagram), just at the extreme range of our heaviest guns. Our fire disabled one gunboat and one mortar-boat, causing those in the stream to retire behind the cover of the woods. Generally our shots fell short for lack of elevation, and in conseqence of the inferiority of our powder compared to that of the enemy. Even our nearest gun — a ten-inch seacoast mortar — would not reach his boats with the heaviest charges. The enemy ceased firing at seven o'clock P. M., having fired this day two thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven mortar shells. The quarters in the bastions were fired and burned down early in the day, as well as the quarters immediately without the fort. The citadel was set on fire and extinguished several times during the first part of the day; but later it became impossible to put out the flames, so that when the enemy ceased firing it was one burning mass, greatly endangering the magazines, which, at the time, were reported to be on fire. Many of the men, and most of the officers, lost their bedding and clothing by these fires, which greatly added to the discomforts of the overflow. The mortar fire was accurate and terrible, many of the shells falling everywhere within the fort, and disabling some of our best guns. I endeavored to get the naval forces to carry down fire-barges against the enemy so as to disperse it, but they were all let go above the raft, and with such a lack of judgment that they only lodged under the forts and did not reach the enemy. (See attached document C.) None of the boats acted as a guard-boat below the raft at night, so that in consequence the enemy sent up two launches to examine the character of the raft obstructing the river.
April 19.The mortar-fleet again opened at half-past 6 o'clock A. M., and the fire was constantly kept up throughout the day. Gunboats constantly came above the point during the day to engage the forts, but were as constantly driven back by our fire. One of them we crippled, which was towed behind the point of woods. The enemy's fire was excellent, a large portion of his shells falling within Fort Jackson. The terre-plain, parade-plain, parapets, and platforms were very much cut up, as well as much damage done to the casemates. The magazines were considerably threatened, and one shell passed through into the casemates containing fixed ammunition. One ten-inch and one eight-inch columbiad, one thirty-two and one twenty-four pounder, and one ten-inch siege mortar, were disabled in the main work. Also two thirty-two-pounders in the water battery. Bombardment continued very regularly and accurately all night. Failures again made in sending down fire-barges.
April 20.Some rain in the morning. Bombardment constant throughout the day, with occasional shots from the gunboats around the point. Wind very high. No fire-barges sent down to light up the river or distract the attention of the enemy at night. In consequence, between eleven and twelve o'clock P, M., under cover of the heaviest shelling during the bombardment thus far, one of the enemy's gunboats came up in tire darkness and attempted to cut the chains of the raft and drag off the schooners. A heavy fire was opened upon her, which caused her to retire, but not until she had partially accomplished her purpose. The raft after this could not be regarded as an obstruction. The fire continued uninterruptedly all night.
April 21.Firing continued all day and all night without interruption. Several guns disabled. Disabled guns were repaired, as far as practicable, as often as accidents happened to them or their platforms. Fort Jackson by this time was in need of extensive repairs almost everywhere, and it was with extreme pleasure that we learned of the arrival, during the night, of the iron-clad steamer Louisiana, under the cover of whose heavy guns we expected to make the necessary repairs.
April 22.By the direction of the Major-General commanding the department, everything afloat, including the towboats, and the entire control of the fire-barges, was turned over to Captain John K. Mitchell, C. S. Navy, commanding the C S. Naval Forces, Lower Mississippi River. I also gave Captain Mitchell one hundred and fifty of our best men from Forts Jackson and St. Philip, under Lieutenants Dixon and Gaudy, and Captain Ryan, to serve a portion of the guns of the Louisiana, and to act as sharpshooters on the same vessel. In an interview with Captain Mitchell, on the morning of this date, I learned that the motive power of the Louisiana was not likely to be completed within any reasonable