northwest front for the purpose of making a diversion, and the other divisions were ordered to close up and wait to advance on the southeast front.
It was intended to wait until the full benefit of the diversion was attained, ‘but mistaking his movement, doubtless, as intended for a general one, and in that spirit of gallantry and emulation which characterizes the service, many of the other boats dashed on. Finding it too late to restrain them, the order was given to advance.’
The boats, on approaching the fort, were met with a fire of musketry, hand-grenades, lighted shells, and grape and canister, and simultaneously, at a signal from the fort, all of the enemy's batteries, with one of their gunboats and rams, opened fire.
Several of the boats effected a landing, ‘but the evidences of preparation were so apparent, and the impossibility of effecting a general landing or scaling the walls so certain, that orders were given to withdraw.’
All who landed were either killed or taken prisoners.
They were, in fact, entirely helpless, and when they agreed to surrender were taken around to another face, and helped to get within the fort.
There was a period of comparative quiet until the 5th of October, when a second attempt was made to blow up the Ironsides
by a torpedo boat.
At 9.15 P. M. a small object was seen by a sentinel and hailed.
No answer was received and the sentry fired; the ship almost immediately thereafter received a very severe blow from an explosion which threw a column of water upon the spar deck and into the engine-room.
The object was afterward known to be a torpedo boat, “shaped like a cigar, 50 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, and so submerged that the only portion visible was the coaming of her hatch, two feet above the water surface, and about 10 feet in length.”