When the battle opened, the Bayou City, which had huge steel grappling-hooks, run by the steam ‘nigger,’ with a chain around her capstan, managed to fasten this on the Harriet Lane, and hauled it taut with a view to prevent her escape while the soldiers boarded her. When the Harriet Lane saw the Clifton, Owasco and Sachem going out, in answer to the signal of Commodore Renshaw from the flagship Westfield, then aground at the east end of Pelican island; she started to follow. The Bayou City was being towed, as the grapples were fouled, and could not be cast off. A gun had just burst on her bows, killing the brave Captain Wier and others, and the remainder had no notion of being towed out by the Federal fleet. She seemed doomed when the situation was discovered by Captain Bowen, of the Neptune. He immediately rang the bells to go ahead, and halloed through the speaking trumpet to the engineer (Nelson Henry) to give all the steam she had, as the Yankees were trying to tow the Bayou City outside. He then pointed the bow of the Neptune right for the port wheel of the Harriet Lane, and in a few moments struck with a terrific impact, as she could not be slowed down in time. The shock tore a large section of the Harriet Lane's wheel out, but stove in the bows of the Neptune, so that she immediately began to fill. Captain Bowen saw this, and immediately turned her around, and headed for the flats so as to let her settle in shallow water. She became logged just before reaching the shallow water, sinking in about twelve feet of water, near where the upper (west)
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