Table of Contents:
The naval victory at the mouth of the Mississippi.The New Orleans True Delta, of Sunday morning, gives the following particulars concerning the recent brilliant engagement off the mouth of the Mississippi: ‘ At midnight, last night, the steamer Calhoun arrived at the wharf foot of Bienville street, having on board Commodore Hollins. A dispatch to announce her arrival had been received from the fort, but few persons saw it, as it was not published. Nevertheless, a considerable crowd collected on the wharf about nine o'clock and waited a couple of hours, but when the Calhoun finally arrived there were not more than two dozen people present. These, however, sent up a hearty shout for the hero of the naval victory. ’ Commodore Hollins went ashore immediately and drove off to his home. He was excessively fatigued and worn out, and unable to furnish any details of the remarkable combat he had planned and executed; but from a gentleman who was all through the fight, we obtained the following particulars: The expedition started down the river from the forts at an early hour Saturday morning, the fire-boats ahead, and the gun-boats following. But the span of fire-boats could not be controlled by the tug that was attempting to guide it, and very soon it commenced to slew round, and then, despite every effort, it ran into the river bank. The plan of firing the fleet was immediately abandoned by Commodore Hollins on the occurrence of this accident, and he proceeded down the river with the gun-boats, for the purpose of making a legitimate attack upon them. The vessels of the enemy found lying at the head of the passes were the steam frigate Richmond, the sailing sloop-of-war Vincennes, the sailing sloop-of-war Preble, and the steam gun-boat Water Witch. They were taken completely by surprise and had not the steamers had steam up at the time, perhaps none of them would have escaped. As it was, their firing, manœuvres, and general conduct, showed that they were thunderstruck and frightened. The Manassas led the way of our little fleet, and, steering straight for one of the sloops-of- war, ran right into her. The force of the concussion was tremendous; so much so as to put the machinery of the Manassas out of gear, and render her perfectly useless, floating about in an unmanageable condition on the water. But the enemy were very quick in making their arrangements to move, and the two steamers each took one of the sloops-of-war in tow, and started down the river, making the best speed of which they were capable. They defended their retreat with every gun they could bring to bear upon their pursuers, but their aim was wild and showed that the gunners were terribly alarmed. The McRae, Ivy, and Tuscarora led our fleet, and were the boats that kept up the fire on the retreating vessels, and drove them down stream. The other vessels of our fleet followed on down as well as they could. The enemy's vessels took the Southwest Pass for their avenue of escape, but some of them got aground on the bar there. The boats of our fleet then came up with them, about 9 o'clock A. M., and firing now commenced in earnest. It being daylight, they discovered the weakness of our fleet, and they managed their guns in a far abler manner. For over an hour the duel was kept up, but at the end of that time Commodore Hollins signalled our boats to withdraw from so unequal a contest, in which nothing more was to be gained. At the time of leaving, they were taking the men off the sloop-of-war that had been run into by the Manassas, and she was settling in the water in a significant manner, so that there can be no doubt of her foundering and total loss. Our informant believes that this vessel was the Vincennes, and not the Preble, as was reported by Commodore Hollins. Our little fleet returned up the river and captured the cutter of the steam fri Richmond, which was full of cutlasses. What became of the men who had thrown down their cutlasses in such a hasty manner and abandoned their boat, is not known. Returning to the head of the passes, a detachment of men were landed, who set fire to all the lumber which the enemy had put ashore there after bringing it such a distance and at such great cost, and it was totally consumed. The Manassas was then taken in tow and all of the boats returned to the forts. Not one of our boats are injured in the slightest manner, except the slight disarrangement of the machinery in the Manassas; but are quite ready to repeat the affair should the enemy give them a chance. Not a single man on any of our boats was hurt in the least. It is believed that all of the enemy's vessels are somewhat injured, and that there must have been many casualties among their crews; but of this nothing can be known as yet. The Picayune, of Sunday, says in relation to the affair: ‘ This feat will rank with the most brilliant and daring achievements of the war. It was skillfully projected, and executed with an impetuous bravery which reflects new honors on the veteran sailor who was in command, and stamps the crews whom he led as men of the true metal when danger and duty call. The result of this dashing expedition shows what sort of a reception the marauding expeditions which are setting out from the North are likely to meet, when the proper preparations are made for encountering them. The advantages of flotillas, of gun-boats, and launches, issuing out of creeks and rivers, and supported by proper shore batteries, over any invading force afloat, are sufficiently demonstrable, and now sufficiently demonstrated, to show where our real defences lie, and to stimulate the authorities to place them everywhere where they may be needed to repel any serious attempt to penetrate into the country. Another such a reception, if Lincolnism is willing to encounter it again, would go far to extinguish finally the idea of attempting invasion from that quarter. The blow which has so crippled their force at the first encounter should be our inspiriting caution to redouble the preparations for resistance to any possible accumulation of attacking force, and thus satisfy the enemy of the uselessness of prosecuting a hopeless design. It is no Hatteras affair, where a Major-General, at the head of a Federal army, and a Commodore of a large Federal squadron, were feted about the Northern cities as famous conquerors, for having captured a petty sand-bank with half a regiment of men; but it was a naval fight in which superior forces were badly whipped, and the victors come to receive the plaudits of their fellow-citizens for the successful repulse of a powerful and insolent invader. By sea and by land the good cause flourishes, under the smiles of a benign Providence, by the strong arms and brave hearts of the soldiers and sailors of the South. So may it continue to be, until the invader is driven from our borders and our coasts, and our flag waves the uncontested symbol of our independence on the sea as upon the land! ’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.