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The U. S. S. “Richmond

Thus the crew was assembled the morning after that terrible night of fighting past Forts Jackson and St. Philip. The “Richmond” was the third vessel in line in the center division led by Farragut himself. Only two of her crew were killed and four injured, for Commander Alden had carefully prepared a splinter netting which caught the death-dealing pieces of plank and scantling, and prevented them from sweeping the gun-deck. Early in October, 1861, the “Richmond,” under Captain John Pope, led the blockading vessels up the delta of the Mississippi to the Head of the Passes, where the stream broadens into a deep bay two miles wide, giving ample room for maneuvers. The Federal vessels were not to remain here long unmolested. In the dim dawn of Oct. 12th, Captain George Nicholas Hollins, C. S. N., stole upon the fleet unobserved. With his ironclad “Manassas” he rammed the “Richmond.” A coal barge alongside the Federal vessel saved her from serious injury; the “Manassas,” whose boilers were damaged by the collision, limped off up-stream. Soon after, three immense fire-rafts were sighted coming down-stream, and Captain Pope gave the signal for retreat. Both the “Richmond” and the “Vincennes” grounded on the bar at the outlet of Southwest Pass and the Confederate vessels again advanced to attack them. But they were driven off by the heavy broadsides and the guns of the plucky little “Water Witch.” In command of Lieutenant Francis Winslow, she had not retreated with the other vessels, but .had come down to beg Captain Pope to return. After this inglorious affair no further attempt was made to hold the Head of the Passes. A Federal vessel was then stationed off the mouth of each pass.

Deck of the U. S. S. “Richmond” after she passed the forts the men at quarters commander James Alden on the bridge

Commander James Alden


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