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[165] but he had paid dear for his audacity, for no less than forty-two cannon-balls had struck his ship. The Pensacola and the Mississippi had in their turn been brought into action. Farragut came to their assistance, but he was attacked at the same time by the Manassas and the fire-ship; in trying to avoid them the Hartford ran aground, and was set on fire by the fire-ship. Fortunately, the flames were soon extinguished; the flag-ship got once more afloat, and while the Manassas was disappearing in the darkness it opened so well sustained a fire within short range, upon the batteries of Fort St. Philip, that nearly all the Confederate cannoneers abandoned their guns. The Brooklyn had followed in her wake, but her progress was delayed by the bar, and she had only succeeded in effecting a passage by sinking one of the hulls moored in the river, at the risk of becoming herself a wreck. This sloop encountered the Manassas in her turn. The Confederate ram fired her solitary gun at her at a distance of three metres; fortunately for the Brooklyn, the ball lodged in the sandbags placed around her engine, and did it no damage. The Manassas then tried to run into her adversary; but not having sufficient space to back, in order to acquire the necessary impetus, the force of her thrust was broken against the chains that hung over the sides of the Federal vessel. The latter had taken the place of the Hartford in front of Fort Jackson, when another foe, one of the Confederate gun-boats, came to attack her. A single broadside, fired at fifty metres, sufficed to disable this new adversary, which caught fire, and the burning of which lighted up for an instant the scene of this desperate combat.

While each vessel was directing its fire by the flash of the enemy's guns, the Union gun-boats had passed the forts; and the Confederate cannon having been almost silenced, the sloops also succeeded in ascending the river, so that, when daylight rendered the combatants visible, fourteen of the Federal ships found themselves above the forts. The others were disabled, but none of them had been lost. The most difficult part of Farragut's undertaking had been accomplished in less than an hour; the battle, however, was not yet won. Through a fortunate chance for the Federals, the Louisiana, which had reached Fort Jackson on the 20th, had sustained some injury to her machinery, and Mitchell

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