The following report of the Lieutenant
of the 4 either Moline, is published as a part of the history of the war:
Jackson Miss., May 1, 1862.
In the absence of the Commanding officer
, it becomes my duty to inform you of the the Gen
. steamer McRae
stook in the recent at Forts Jackson
, and St. Philip
was at another in the stream, near the shore, and about three hundred yards above Fort St. Philip
At 3 A. M., of the 26th April, a large steamer was discovered between the Forts
, coming up. The ship being already cleared for action, the cable was slipped and we maintained our position in the steam until our portages more upon the advancing vessels of the enemy, when we opened fire.
At the tenth round our pivot gun exploded, wounding one man slightly.
At 3 50 we stood over to the opposite side of the river and engaged one of the enemy's gunboats; but, owing to his greater speed, he soon passed ahead of us. Our helm was put a port to enable our guns to bear on him, but just as out-vessel had begun to answer her helm, two large full rigged ships were discovered a short distance astern--one on each quarter — coming rapidly up.
Had the McRae
continued to turn, a collision with the ship on our starboard would have been inevitable.
Our helm was therefore righted, and all hands called to repel board are on both quarters.
But, contrary to our expectations both of the enemy's vessels passed us without firing a shot — evidently mistaking us for one of their gunboats.
As soon as they had cleared us, we cheered to port, and delivered our starboard broadside into one of the and cheering quickly the at Brookside
We across the river, and the enemy, discovering us, engaged with their starboard guns.
or their shells striking us forward, and exploding in the sail room, set the ship on fire.
The engine and deck pumps were immediately started; but owing to the combustible nature of the articles in the sail room, the fire burned fiercely.
The sail room was separated from the shell lockers by a third bulkhead — The commander directed the ship to be run close into the bank, and ordered me to inform when the fire should reach the shell locker bulkhead.
I repaired to the scene of fire, and succeeded in smothering and extinguishing it. Two large ships and three gunboats were now engaging us, at a distance of about three hundred yards. We backed off the bank with the intention of dropping down near the forts, when the Manassas
came to our relief.
She steered for the enemy's vessels, and as soon as they discovered her, they started up the river.
Just as we were backing off the bank, Lieutenant commanding T. B. Huger
fell severely wounded.
I now directed the course of the vessel across and up he river, firing the starboard guns as rapidly as possible, and, I think, with much accuracy.
We soon reached a position which furnished a view of the river around the first tend above the forts where I discovered eleven of the enemy, and not deeming it prudent to engage a force so vastly superior to my own, I determined to retire under the guns of the forts.
Having dropped a short distance, and getting into an eddy, I thought it best to turn and steam down, as the ship was turning, the tiller ropes parted.
The ship was instantly stopped and the engines reversed, but too late to avoid striking the bank.
I endeavored to back her off the shore, but could not succeed.
One of the river fleet, called the ‘"Resolute,"’ had been run ashore early in the morning, just above where we were now lying, and had a white flag flying I sent Lieut. Arnold
, with ten men on board of her, with orders to haul down the white flag and fight her guns as long as possible.
At 6.30 the enemy stood up the river — and as soon as our guns would no longer bear we ceased firing.
At 7 a tow-boat came up from the forts and hauted us off.
received three shots through her hull — all bear the water-line.
Most of the enemy's shell passed over us; every stay was carried away, and three fourths of the shrouds.
One shell passed through the smoke-stack — also, & number of grape.
The sides of the ship received a large number of grape and canister which did not pass through.
The enemy's firing, upon the whole, was very bad.
I enclose the Surgeon
's report, showing the number of killed and wounded.
I cannot speak too highly of the gallant bearing of all on board — and where all performed their duty so well, it is almost impossible to particularize; but I cannot refrain from mentioning the conduct of Acting Midships and P. State, in charge of the Powder Division
— by Whose coolness and promptness the ship was saved from being burnt; also, Lieut T. D. Fleter
, of the revenue service, who was a volunteer on board and behaved with much bravery.
Lieut. Thomas Arnold
, though wounded and bleeding freely remained at his quarters, encouraging his diesis on to fight courageously.
Much credit is due to Passed Asst. Surgeon Christian
, for his promptness in attending to the wounded.