courageous intrepidity of the commanders and crews of the steamer McRae
, and the little ram, Manassas
, the other two vessels of Commodore Mitchell
The former, a small converted merchant steamer, and the latter originally, I think, a tug-boat, which was roofed over with iron, turtleback fashion, and used as a ram. The officers and crews of these two little vessels took them out to meet their powerful antagonists, and fought to the death the vessels of Admiral Farragut
's fleet without any regard to their strength and size, or to their own weakness.
The brave commander of the McRae
, fell mortally wounded, and was succeeded by his First Lieutenant
, C. W. Read
, who fought with desperate courage as long as he could reach an enemy and until the Federal fleet had passed beyond his power to get at them.
Her gallant crew suffered heavily.
She, after the action, was sent up under a flag of truce, to carry the wounded to New Orleans, where they could receive better treatment.
I think that she was there taken possession of by the Federals
The courageous Warley
, of the Manassas
, after fighting and ramming among the Federal fleet as long as he could, found that under the heavy ordnance of the enemy, his little craft was leaking and fast filling, and he had to scuttle and leave her, taking to the swamp.
I cannot believe that at any period of the world's history greater courage was ever displayed, or against such odds.
And now I come to the time of the surrender of the forts and the destruction of the Louisiana
I think it was on April 27th that Commodore Mitchell
was informed by General Duncan
that he had received a demand from Admiral Porter
to surrender, and offering terms of capitulation, and that he had peremptorily refused.
Our work was still going on, night and day, on our machinery.
The next morning we were to test the efficiency of it. At daylight, a note from General Duncan
came off to say that, during the night, a portion of his garrison had mutinied or deserted, and that, not knowing the extent of the disaffection, he had determined to accept the terms offered by Porter
was, of course, astonished, and jumping into a boat went on shore, and asked if the note was genuine.
The reply was, that it was.
He learned that a portion of the garrison of Fort Jackson
, from New Orleans, becoming uneasy about their families, had deserted.
He remonstrated and urged that the garrison of St. Philip
was true, as was the crew of the Louisiana
, but he was told that it was too late,