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The three gun-boats engaged were the ‘Sachem,’ a canal-boat in appearance, and about as effective, selected, because of her light draft, to precede the ‘fleet.’ Her value was demonstrated by the fact that the first shot fired at her exploded her boiler and totally disabled her, scalding almost every man on board, and causing her to surrender without—if my memory serves me—firing a gun. The second gun-boat was a Staten Island ferry-boat, called the ‘Clifton,’ which grounded before reaching the earth-work, and at the third or fourth shot from the Confederates had her steam-chest struck, which not only disabled her, but was the cause of the scalding of many of her crew. The third gun-boat was the ‘Granite State,’ which drew too much water to get within effective distance, and she was not engaged. Distributed between the ‘Sachem’ and ‘Clifton’ were seventy-five infantry, who were blinded and scalded by the escaping steam, and did not fire a shot.

The balance of the Federal forces, owing to the heavy draft of the vessels, could not get within less than two miles of the fort; the nearest point at which any other vessel, than those named, succeeded in getting during the entire engagement was the Mississippi-river steamer Laurel Hill, which drew eight feet of water, and the ‘R. W. Thomas,’ another Mississippi-river steamer, drawing a little more water. These vessels had about two thousand men on board, who, if a landing could have been effected, would have made short work of the ‘forty bravest men of the Confederacy.’ But as the ‘Clifton,’ drawing less water, ran aground before reaching the earth-work, and was rendered a helpless wreck by about three shots from the Confederate guns, the chances were that the Mississippi-river boats, with their exposed boilers and machinery, would suffer a similar fate, and at no time were they within such a distance of the earth-work that they could be fairly said to be a menace to the heroic garrison. On the other hand, a force of Confederate infantry, estimated by the number and crowded condition of the boats, by us at four thousand, arrived during the engagement, to reinforce the forty braves. A storm coming on during the night, the fleet, mostly composed of cockle-shells, was forced to run for shelter, and thus ended the demonstration in which forty men won imperishable honors. Of course it was a defeat for the Federals, whose object was to capture Sabine Pass, a feat which would have occasioned no very great difficulty if there had been found any spot where the army could have effected a landing, or the navy could have got one respectably constructed and equipped vessel within range. Such was not, however, the case, and it is as unfair

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