The gunboat defeat at Port Hudson
, coming go quickly and crushingly on the heels of that at Fort McAllister
, must inspire even the Yankee Doodles
with distrust of their favorite warlike invention.--But their disaster at Port Hudson
was something worse than an ordinary gunboat defeat.
Some of the finest frigates and sloops of-war in the United States Navy stem to have been engaged in the battle, and to have suffered terribly.
The Mississippi, which is said to have been burned to the water's edge, was one of the largest and most powerful steam frigates in the old Navy, one which no American commander would have hesitated at one time in laying alongside any first class frigate in the British Navy
Such a loss would awake sober to frictions in a people who were not given over to hopeless madness.
They filled, when this contest began, that they were going to overthrow the old supremacy of forts over ships, and for a time it seemed they would be successful.
With the advantages of steam iron armor, and heavy armaments, it appeared that the old state of things would be revolutionized.
But the success of Com. Dupont
at Hilton Head
, and the failure of a far more formidable fleet at Fort McAllister
as well as other forts, show that we have learnt something from experience, and that land fortifications, if properly constructed and deficiently manned, retain their old superiority over ships.
The Yankee Navy has, in fact, lost reputation more rapidly in this war than the other branch of the service.
We had never had much confidence in their capacity as soldiers; but, often as they have been beaten, they have proved better soldiers than was anticipated.
Their Navy, however, though not at all deficient in pick and enterprise, has grinned few laurels since the war commenced.
Except the reduction of a few mudforts in the beginning of hostilities, it has done nothing to distinguish thief, and from the time the Virginia
sent the Cumberland
and the Congress
to the bottom, down to the capture of the Queen of the West
and the Indianola
, the Confederates
have thrown the Yankee Navy
completely in the shade by their superior daring and skill.
The achievement of Captain Semmes
surpass these of any commander of a single ship since the days of Paul Jones
, and it may be doubted whether any navy on the face of the globe can produce the equal of this Confederate Captain