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[566] as a messenger had been despatched. Commodore Mitchell returned to the Louisiana.

Admiral Porter's fleet, led by the flag-ship, Harriet Lane, was then seen coming up under a flag of truce, in reply to a flag of truce on Fort Jackson.

A consultation was called by Commodore Mitchell. The decision was, that with an enemy above—an enemy below soon to be in possession of our forts — with limited supplies—no reliable motive power —to destroy the vessel.

An orderly but rapid transfer to the unarmed tender ‘Landis’ was made; the magazines and charges in our guns were drowned as far as practicable. Commodore Mitchell, Lieutenants Wilkinson, Ward and I were the last to leave the Louisiana after firing her effectually. Commodore Mitchell then called me to him and told me to go in a boat, indicated, to Commodore Porter's flag-ship, then anchored off Fort Jackson, distant about a mile, and say to him, with his compliments, that he had fired the ‘Louisiana,’ and drowned, as far as he could, the magazines and charges in the guns, but that she was secured to the banks with rope fasts, which might burn; and as he was indisposed to do him any damage while under a flag of truce in answer to a similar flag from the forts, he notified him in case his burning ship should drift down among his fleet. I started down in the boat, two men pulling; when I got about one third of the distance, I felt the boat tremble, and, looking around, saw that the Louisiana had blown up at or near the spot where I left her. I went on, however, and, going alongside of the Harriet Lane, was received by my old naval academy school-mate, Edward Lea, who was on deck. I asked for Commodore Porter, and was told that he was below. A messenger was sent down to him. The reply came back that he was arranging the terms of capitulation of the forts.

In a short time he came up. I delivered the message of Commodore Mitchell. He said, ‘Where is the Louisiana?’ A strange question from one who had been ‘fairly shaken from his seat,’ and whose flag-ship had been ‘thrown on her side.’ I replied that she had blown up.

I returned to the ‘Landis,’ which was up the river just above Fort Jackson, at which point she was awaiting the approach of Porter to demand our surrender.

In a short time the Harriet Lane steamed up towards us. As our flag was still flying, she fired a gun as a signal, demanding our surrender.

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