previous next

[291] the names of their comrades, who fell on the losing side, are not transmitted to history as rebels and traitors, but as patriots as true as the world ever saw, earnestly engaged in the defence of the right, ‘as God had given them to see the right.’

Great as was the disparity of numbers between the Federal and Confederate armies, between the navies it was far greater, if, indeed, we had anything worthy of the name; still a Confederate victory in Hampton Roads revolutionized the navies of the world, while in the fight on the Tennessee we suffered a defeat, Farragut might best describe in the language of Pyrrhus at his first encounter with the Romans: ‘another such victory would cost him his army.’

On the point of a narrow sand promontory of some little elevation, which juts far in between Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, stands Fort Morgan, commanding the eastern or main channel of the entrance to the Bay, five miles to the southwest. Fort Gaines guards the western entrance, only navigable for small vessels. Outside the fort, Farragut, with a numerous fleet, menaced an attack. Torpedoes and other obstructions were placed in the channel, leaving a narrow entrance for blockade runners. Fort Morgan was garrisoned by about four hundred men, under the command of General Richard L. (‘Ramrod’) Page. The Confederate naval squadron, consisting of the ironclad Tennessee, with four small wooden vessels, under the command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan, were anchored in the lower Bay.

At early dawn on the morning of the 5th of August, 1863, the officer on watch reported the Federal fleet with steam up, heading for the fort. All hands were called to quarters, and orders given to prepare the ship for action.

Now, sanding the decks to catch the blood yet unspilled was not a very assuring procedure, in view of the tremendous odds which confronted us. The Tennessee was a screw propeller, and went into commission with about one hundred men, a company of marines with the following officers: Franklin Buchanan, Admiral; James W. Johnston, Virginia, Captain; William L. Bradford, Alabama, Executive officer; Wharton and Benton, of Tennessee and Kentucky, First and Second Lieutenants; Perrin, of Louisiana, Master; Sinning, Chief Engineer; D. G. Raney, Marine Officer, of Florida; Conrad and Bowles, Surgeon and Assistant, of Virginia.

Her battery consisted of ten-inch rifle Brooke guns, two fore and aft, three broadside, eight in all; her armor was six inches of iron

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Farragut (2)
Franklin Buchanan (2)
Wharton (1)
Leonce Richard (1)
D. G. Raney (1)
Pyrrhus (1)
Perrin (1)
James W. Johnston (1)
Frank Conrad (1)
William L. Bradford (1)
R. C. Bowles (1)
Benton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
August 5th, 1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: