With the first appearance of dawn on April 28th, a flag of truce went down to the enemy, bearing a written offer of surrender under the terms previously offered on the 27th.
In reply, the Harriet Lane
and three other gunboats came opposite the forts, with white flags at the fore.
In the forts, white flags were displayed from the yards of the flag-masts, while the Confederate
flag floated at the mast-head.
Negotiations were proceeding amicably on the Harriet Lane
, when on the Mississippi
—of late so rich in stately spectacles—appeared a portent as awful as it was mysterious, floating by to interrupt the proceedings on board.
It was the Louisiana
, once a powerful ironclad, but at this moment a helpless wreck, drifting and discharging her guns at random.
Butler on April 29th said, apparently with a covert smile, that Farragut
in the hurry and darkness had overlooked the Louisiana
, at anchor under the walls of the fort.
And now how worse than useless!
The fleet, which she had been specially armed to resist and to terrify, was lying at victorious peace in the river in front of New Orleans.
The mortar schooners which she might, if properly handled, have gripped hard and sunk with her powerful battery, were near the head of the Passes, warily watching her and the forts.
Hopeless to save her from the superior power bearing down on her from every side, her officers set her on fire, and sent her, with all her guns protruding, down the river.
Thus abandoned to her own terrible self, the luckless ironclad finally ended her career by blowing up—floating down in the presence of the guns and of the mortar fleet.
The clumsy mortars, as she drifted past, struggled to escape the blazing wreck, even in its ruin a menace.
In spite of the plans which had been wasted on the Louisiana
, and the hopes in her which went up like a sacrifice in the smoke of her unaimed guns, she scattered, in her blowing up near Fort St. Philip
, fragments everywhere within and around the fortifications.