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 were sweeping the streets, and the utter darkness added to the horror and confusion of the battle. The Massachusetts soldiers defended themselves from behind their barricade in the hope of speedy relief. The Harriet Lane, not having steam up, could not draw near the scene of action, and confined herself to firing in the direction of the bridge; but the Sachem and the Corypheus, having drawn up close to the pier, threw shells into the streets, which soon compelled Magruder's artillery to beat a retreat. It was near daylight, and the Confederates, exposed to the fire of the whole hostile fleet, were beginning to despair of success, when the booming of cannon announced to them at last the arrival of the auxiliaries they had been impatiently expecting. The two vessels which carried the Confederate flag would have been unable to contend against Renshaw's fleet if the latter had been united and ready for the fight. But several of the Federal vessels were reduced to inactivity for want of steam, and were scattered in waters extremely difficult to navigate. The Harriet Lane was the first on the track followed by the assailants, who, having flat-bottomed vessels, could safely navigate among the shallows of the bay. Guided by the light produced by the discharge of their guns, they had directed their course toward that vessel in the midst of the darkness. Meanwhile, Captain Wainwright, who commanded her, had at last succeeded in starting his engines; and on perceiving the two hostile vessels, he steamed direct toward them. The combatants, being anxious to come together, only exchanged a few shots at a distance. Wainwright ran his vessel against the huge sides of the Bayou City, struck her obliquely, and carried off her paddlebox, without doing any other damage. The Neptune on her part, wishing to assist her mate, rushed against the fore part of the Harriet Lane, but was only injured herself by the shock; and the water rushing in in every direction, she was obliged to steam to the shore, near which she soon foundered. It was now the turn of the Bayou City to resume the offensive, and by a lucky manoeuvre she struck her adversary full amidships. Her prow was driven with such force under the paddle-box of the Federal gunboat that the latter was almost thrown upon her beam-ends. The timber-work of both vessels becoming entangled, they remained
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