New-York world account.
Memphis appeal account.
A correspondent of the Appeal
, writing on the fifteenth, furnishes the subjoined details of the
engagement at Port Hudson
, between the batteries and Admiral Farragut
Yesterday, (Sunday, fourteenth,) a number of the enemy's vessels came within sight and anchored off the point at the head of Prophet's Island, about four miles down the river.
The iron-clad battery Essex and a number of mortarboats anchored close up behind the point.
Having calculated the range of our batteries, as accurately as might be under the circumstances, about three o'clock in the afternoon the mortarboats and the Essex
commenced practice, throwing shells for an hour and a half, but without any damage or alarm on our side.
All was then quiet, and the fleet awaited the hour of midniglit for their surprise visit.
. . . . . . . . .
Shortly before midnight, the boats having formed the line of battle as described, their decks cleared for action, and the men at their quarters, the Hartford
led the way and the others promptly followed her direction.
At the moment of their discovery a rocket was to be sent up from the Admiral
's flag-ship, as the signal for the Essex
and her accompanying mortar-boats to commence work.
Although there has been no indication of such a determined night-attack by Farragut
, the usual vigilant precautions were in force at our batteries.
Every gun was ready for action, and around each piece slept a detachment of gunners.
So dark was the night, however, and so silently had the armed craft nosed their way up, that the flag-ship had passed some of our guns and all the fleet were within easy range before their approach was known.
Almost at the same time a rocket from our signal corps, and the discharge of muskets by an infantry picket, aroused the line.
Quick as a flash, while the falling fire of our alarm rocket was yet unextinguished, there shot up into the sky from the Hartford
's deck another.
Then came one grand, long, deafening roar that rent the atmosphere with its mighty thunder, shaking both land and water, and causing the high battery-crowned cliffs to tremble as if with fear and wonder.
Every gun on the fleet, and every mortar at the point joined in one simultaneous discharge. . . . . . . The batteries on the long line of bluff, but a moment before silent as the churchyard, now resound to the hurrying tread of men, while the quick, stern tones of command are heard above the awful din, and the furtively glancing rays of light from the battle-lanterns, reveal the huge instruments of death and destruction, and show the half-covered way to magazines.
. . . The sheets of flame that poured from the sides of the sloops at each discharge lit up nearly the whole stretch of river, placing each craft in strong relief against the black sky. The noise was stunning to the ear, but they knew not yet the position of our batteries, and the shot and shell, fired at random, had no material effect.
Minute after minute passed away, each driven to eternity distracted by the maddening roar of so many cannon, and the fleet kept its unchecked course up the stream.
Amazement seized the Yankee
officers and men. Where were the long talked of batteries the rebels had been constructing with which to hold the Mississippi
Had they been abandoned in a panic caused by the bombardment of the fleets?
The marine officer of the Mississippi
, now a prisoner, tells me the query was seriously propounded whether the rebels had not evacuated their stronghold and thus cheated the brave Yankee tars out of the glory they were expecting to reap.
Only too soon did the enemy discover that we were but waiting to bring the whole fleet irretrievably under our guns before we went to work.
For fifteen minutes had they plied at their monster cannon, and now they were commencing to relax, from sheer vexation, when a flash of light from the crest of the cliff lights the way for a shell to go plunging through the hartford's deck.
This was the monitor, and once the enemy saw a cordon of vivid light as long as their own.
Now commenced the battle in all its terrible earnestness.
Outntumbered in guns and out-weighed in metal, our volleys were as quickly repeated, and the majority of them unerring in their aim. As soon as the enemy thus discovered our batteries, they opened on them with grape and canister, which was more accurately thrown than their shells, and threw clouds of dirt upon the guns and gunners.
The shells went over them in every conceivable direction but the right one.
, a very fast ship, now made straight for up the river, making her best time, and trying to divert the aim of our gunners by her incessant and deafening broadsides.
She soon outstripped the balance of the fleet.
Shot after shot struck her, riddling her through and through, but still she kept on her way.
Every craft now looking out for itself and bound to make its very best time to get by the fleet, lost its orderly line of battle, and got so mixed up it was difficult, and sometimes impossible, to distinguish one from another.
It was speedily apparent to the enemy that the fire was a great deal hotter than had been expected, and the Captains
of the two gunboats and of the Monongahela
, doubtless resolved quickly that it would be madness to attempt to run such a terrible gauntlet of iron hail.
Whether the commanders of the Richmond
had already arrived at the same determination, or come to it soon after, is not known, but they all, except the Hartford
, undertook to put about and return the way they caine.
For this purpose the Richmond
sheered in to the left bank, under the batteries, and then circled round, her course reaching nearly up to the opposite point.
In executing this manoeuvre she gave our batteries, successively, a raking position, and they took excellent advantage of it, ripping her from stern to stem.
From the crashing of timbers, plainly heard during every brief interval of the din, and from the view had of shots that struck her, it was evident that her doom was sealed.
Instead of making a run for it down tho
river, hugging the opposite shore, she again turned her prow toward our batteries, and ran right in under them.
As she got this position, a voice from on board of her cried out: “Now let me see you strike me from those hills, G — d d — n you.”
As if in answer to his blasphemous appeals, a battery above and below got his range, and while a shell crashed through his forecastle, a double charge of grape swept his decks from the mizzen-mast forward.
It must have done fearful execution, and the same voice, which just before rung out an oath and a defiance, now exclaimed in piteous accents: “For God's sake, don't shoot any more!
We are sinking!”
It was reported among a crowd of observers on the bluff, that a voice from her deck had called out: “We surrender!
If this was said, it was not probably spoken by her commander, who, however, appealed to our batteries to cease firing upon her, as the ship was sinking. . . . . .
Whether she sank I do not as yet know.
Her commander may have used a Yankee artifice to escape by the mistaken humanity of the victors, but if she is not seriously disabled, then many experienced eyes were greatly deceived.
The Mississippi undertook to execute the same manoeuvre of turning round and making her escape back to the point she started from.
She had rounded and just turned down-stream, when one of our shots tore off her rudder, and another went crashing through her machinery.
Immediately after came the rushing sound of steam escaping from some broken pipe, and the now unmanageable vessel drifted aground directly opposite our crescent line of batteries.
Her range was quickly gained, and she was being rapidly torn to pieces by our missiles, when the commander gave the order for all hands to save themselves the best way they could.
At the same time fire broke out in two places.
The prisoners we have taken were of opinion she was set on fire by her own officers, but it is as likely that it was caused by our red-hot shot, which was being poured into her uninterruptedly.
At this time her decks were strewn with the dead and wounded, according to one of her crew with whom I have conversed, who thought that one half of her complement of men were included in the list of casualties. . . . . .
Such are the particulars of this morning's fight at Port Hudson
For the time it lasted it was one of the most desperately contested engagements of the war.