|The “Albatross” with the “Hartford,” the only ship that fought past Port Hudson While Porter had been fighting on the upper Mississippi, Farragut had been busy attending to his large command in the Gulf, but on the 14th of March, 1863, he appeared below Port Hudson. General Banks was to make a simultaneous land-attack upon that post and Farragut was to run the river batteries and join his vessels to those of Porter in an effectual blockade of the Red River, from which the Confederacy drew its trans-Mississippi supplies. The Federal vessels, lashed two and two together, started on their dangerous attempt at eleven o'clock at night, but the Port Hudson garrison discovered them. Lighting bonfires, the Confederates opened with their heavy guns from the bluff a hundred feet above. Lashed to the gallant old flagship “Hartford” was the “Albatross,” Lieutenant-Commander John E. Hart. Both vessels in the dense smoke that settled on the river were nearly carried ashore by the five-mile current. The “Hartford” actually did touch ground under the guns of one of the batteries, but with the assistance of the “Albatross” backed off and passed safely above the line of fire. Not so fortunate was the “Genesee,” the fastest boat of the squadron. She was lashed to the “Richmond,” the slowest boat, and just as they had reached the last battery a plunging shot penetrated to the engine-room of the “Richmond” and so damaged her safety-valves that her engines became useless. Not even with the aid of the “Genesee” could the “Richmond” longer stem the current, and the two had to proceed downstream again past the gauntlet of the Confederate batteries for the second time. Disaster overtook all the other vessels of the squadron, and the “Mississippi” grounded and blew up.|
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