previous next

[474] of events which, although an eye-witness, he was not capable of comprehending. The same pardon cannot be extended, though, to a direct perversion of the truth, and of this he is certainly guilty when he says that the “great ram” retired to Fort Morgan, after failing to sink any of the flying fleet. The idea of retiring to Fort Morgan never entered Admiral Buchanan's mind, as his order to me, immediately after the fleet had passed into the bay, was to follow them, which was done with all the speed of which the vessel was capable, but in changing her course for this purpose it is not improbable that her head may momentarily have been pointed towards the Fort. The gunboat Gaines was run on the beach near the Fort early in the action to prevent her from sinking, having received several shots below her waterline, but she had done her duty nobly up to this moment. She was burned by her own crew soon afterward. The Morgan was placed at the wharf near the Fort to avoid the fate of the Gaines, and during the following night steamed up to Mobile, through the vessels of the fleet, while their crews slept upon their victory. The Selma was chased by two gunboats and captured a few miles up the bay.

When the Tennessee had approached a point within a mile of the fleet, the entire number of vessels composing it seemed to vie with each other in the rapidity of their firing, and in efforts to prove their efficiency at rams, by endeavoring to sink the devoted “Rebel,” who had failed to exhibit his qualities in this modern style of warfare, from lack of the important element of speed. It afterward appeared that in their zeal and haste some of the vessels of the fleet came near sinking their own flag ship, as she was rammed twice by the Lackawana.

The result of such a contest could not have been changed except by the miraculous destruction of the opposing fleet, and if, as Lieutenant Kinney states, there ever was a “moment when he hesitated (Farragut) the fortune of the day must have been against us.” I feel quite sure that were the distinguished officer to whom he refers now living, he would scout the idea of such a possibility having ever existed. The forts had virtually been passed without sustaining any injury, save the sinking of the Tecumseh by a torpedo, and nothing remained for the fleet to do but to capture or destroy three little hastily improvished wooden gun-boats and one iron-clad, with a force ten times their superior in every possible element, excepting only the daring and patriotism which impelled Buchanan with his single vessel of six guns and 170 men to attack such a fleet. Had he been enabled by any means in his power to change the fortunes of the day, he would certainly have been justly hailed by the civilized world as the greatest naval commander who

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fort Morgan (Alabama, United States) (2)
Mobile, Ala. (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Franklin Buchanan (2)
Kinney (1)
Farragut (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: