Some of the vessels were struck once or twice. The Mackinaw had her boiler perforated with a shell, and ten or twelve persons were badly scalded. The Osceola was struck with a shell near her magazine, and was at one time in a sinking condition; but her efficient commander stopped up the leak, while the Mackinaw fought out the battle, notwithstanding the damage she received. The Yantic was the only vessel that left the line to report damages. Commander John Guest, at the east end of the line, showed his usual intelligence in selecting his position and directing his fire. Twice his guns cut down the flagstaff on the Mound battery, and he silenced the guns there in a very short time, the Keystone State and Quaker City cooperating effectively. Lieutenant Commander J. L. Davis, with both rudders disabled, got his vessel, the Sassacus, into close action, and assisted materially in silencing the works; and the Santiago de Cuba and Fort Jackson took such positions as they could get (owing to other vessels not forming proper lines and throwing them out of place), and fought their guns well. The taking of a new position while under fire, by the Brooklyn and Colorado, was a beautiful sight, and when they got into place both ships delivered a fire that nothing could withstand. The Brooklyn well sustained her proud name under her present commander, Captain James Alden; and the Colorado gave evidence that her commander, Commodore H. K. Thatcher, fully understood the duties of his position. The Susquehanna was most effective in her fire, and was fortunate enough to obtain the right position, though much bothered by a vessel near her that had not found her right place. The Mohican went into battle gallantly, and fired rapidly, and with effect; and when the Powhatan, Ticonderoga, and Shenandoah got into their positions they did good service. The Pawtuxet fell handsomely into line, and did good service with the rest, and the Vanderbilt took position near the Minnesota, and threw in a splendid fire. The firing of the monitors was excellent, and when their shells struck, great damage was done, and the little gunboats that covered them kept up a fire sufficient to disconcert the enemy's aim. The rebels fired no more after the vessels all opened on them, except a few shots from the Mound and upper batteries, which the Iosco and consorts soon silenced. Our men were at work at the guns five hours, and glad to get a little rest. They came out of action with rather a contempt for rebel batteries, and anxious to renew the battle in the morning. On the twenty-fifth (Christmas) all the transports had arrived, and General Butler sent General Weitzel to see me, and arrange the programme for the day. It was decided that we should attack the forts again, while the army landed and assaulted them, if possible, under our heavy fire. I sent seventeen gunboats, under command of Captain O. S. Glisson, to cover the troops and assist with their boats in landing the soldiers. Finding the smaller vessels kept too far from the beach, which was quite bold, I sent in the Brooklyn to set them an example, which that vessel did, relying, as every commander should, on the information I gave him in relation to the soundings. To this number were added all the small vessels that were covering the coast along; and finally I sent some eight or nine vessels that were acting under Commander Guest in endeavoring to find a way across the bar. This gave a hundred small boats to land the troops with. Besides those, the army was already provided with about twenty more. At seven A. M. on the twenty-fifth I made signal to get under way and form in line of battle, which was quickly done. The order to attack was given, and the Ironsides took position in her usual handsome style, the monitors following close after her. All the vessels followed according to order, and took position without a shot being fired at them, excepting a few shots fired at the four last vessels that got into line. The firing this day was slow, only sufficient to amuse the enemy while the army landed, which they were doing five miles to the eastward of the fleet. I suppose about three thousand men had landed when I was notified they were re embarking. I could see our soldiers near the forts reconnoitring and sharpshooting, and was in hopes an assault was deemed practicable. General Weitzel in person was making observations about six hundred yards off, and the troops were in and around the works. One gallant officer, whose name I do not know, went on the parapet and brought away the rebel flag we had knocked down. A soldier went into the works and led out a horse, killing the orderly mounted on him, and taking his despatches from the body. Another soldier fired his musket into the bomb-proof among the rebels, and eight or ten others who had ventured near the forts were wounded by our shells. As the ammunition gave out the vessels retired from action, and the iron-clads and Minnesota, Colorado, and Susquehanna were ordered to open rapidly, which they did with such effect that it seemed to tear the works to pieces. We drew off at sunset, leaving the iron-clads to fire through the night, expecting the troops would attack in the morning, when we would commence again. I received word from General Weitzel informing me that it was impracticable to assault, and I herewith enclose a letter from General Butler assigning his reasons for withdrawing the troops. I also enclose my answer. In the bombardment of the twenty-fifth the men were engaged firing slowly for seven
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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