This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 her progress, she soon reached Galveston, and took part in the combat in which the Sachem, Corypheus and Owasco were engaged. But the fear of injuring the prisoner-crew of the Harriet Lane prevented her from going to dispute the prize with the Bayou City. No effort, however, had yet succeeded in separating those two vessels, although it would only have required a little daring on the part of the Federals to destroy them together. In order to gain sufficient time to extricate them from this perilous situation, Major L. Smith, commanding the Confederate flotilla, tried a flag of truce, and sent an officer, with a prisoner from the Harriet Lane, on board the Clifton, to demand a capitulation. This clumsy stratagem proved a complete success. Lieutenant Law, commanding the Clifton, left his vessel to communicate the demand of the enemy to Renshaw; but instead of waiting for orders, he hoisted a white flag and suspended the battle. During his absence the Confederates succeeded in extricating the Harriet Lane; and taking advantage of the silence of the fleet, they surrounded the soldiers of the Forty-first Massachusetts, who up to this time had bravely defended themselves. Magruder, showing them the white flags just hoisted at the mast-heads of the vessels of both parties, and his own guns levelled at point-blank against them, persuaded them to surrender as prisoners, and immediately after planted his guns upon the pier, so as to be able to enfilade the decks of the Federal vessels at the first signal. Renshaw rejected the shameful conditions which his subordinate had the weakness to submit to him. But it was too late to recover the ground lost. Nothing remained but to save those vessels that had not fallen into the hands of the enemy with their crews. Whilst the Clifton, the Owasco, the Sachem and the Corypheus were steaming out of Galveston under Law's direction, Renshaw ordered the crew of the Westfield to be transferred to the Boardman, for no effort could avail to save that vessel, and nothing was left but to destroy her. The transfer was accomplished amid some confusion. When nearly completed, Renshaw applied the fifteen-minute match himself, the extreme end of which reached down into the powder-magazine, which was left open; near him was a barrel of turpentine, the head of which had been staved in; the yawl fastened to the vessel waited only for
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.