command of the Confederate naval forces was Capt. John K. Mitchell
As mention has been made here of the vessels of our fleet it may be said, once for all—so valueless did they prove to be—that the unwarlike river steamers bore such martial names as the ‘Warrior,’ ‘Stonewall Jackson
,’ ‘Defiance,’ and ‘Resolute.’
These sponsors for success were belied by the facts of their brief and inglorious existence—the Defiance
being the only vessel saved out of the whole fleet.
Besides these, there were three Confederate rams, two of these with names of States and one of a Confederate victory.
More unfortunate than criminal, they have left their fame with us. Two formed the co-operative naval force; the third, more powerful than either, did not even see the enemy.
She is remembered as the Confederate States
Still on the ways at New Orleans, on April 24th, without guns or men, she was hastily taken up the river to avoid capture by the enemy, where she was burned before she had begun to act. Of the other two—the Manassas
and the Louisiana
, built for mischief—the Manassas
was lying just above Fort Jackson
On the opposite bank the Louisiana
was hugging the stream just above the water battery.
Good record had been looked for from both of them, and the Manassas
perished in trying to give it. Ill-starred as she was, her captain, Warley
, was neither careless nor remiss.
After gallantly attacking the Richmond
and pushing a fire-raft upon the Hartford
's own vessel, she rushed in the darkness of that historic night upon the Federal
She had but one gun, while the Mississippi
's guns were many and of the heaviest caliber.
One of her broadsides knocked away a smokestack from the Manassas
Thus rendered useless for offense, the ram was riddled and abandoned.
The kindly night refused to witness her discomfiture.
‘Shortly after daylight,’ writes General Duncan
, ‘the Manassas
was observed drifting down by ’