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monitors, was making preparations to attempt the passage of Forts Morgan and Gaines, situated on either side of the entrance to the bay, and to attack the Confederate squadron. Similar preparations were made by our vessels, which had been anchored just within the bay for nearly three months, in daily expectation of the impending encounter. During the night a blockade-runner entered the bay and was boarded by the executive officer of the Tennessee. At about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 5th, the fleet was discovered to be under way toward the bay, the monitors on the right and the wooden vessels lashed together two and two, each of the heavier ships having a gun-boat lashed alongside. All the light spars had been sent down, leaving only the lower and top masts standing, while the boats had been hauled upon the beach at Sand Island just within the bar, on the morning previous. All hands were immediately called on board the Confederate vessels, and after hurriedly taking coffe
miles up the river, down to Mobile. Time was precious, and the newspapers were beginning to express the impatience of the people to see the powerful ram of which so much was expected taken down the bay to attack the blockading fleet. The camels were being constructed with all possible dispatch, but just as they were nearly ready they were totally destroyed by fire. Undaunted by this calamity, Admiral Buchanan, with his usual energy and pluck, soon had them rebuilt, and about the middle of May the Tennessee, drawing less than nine feet of water, was towed over the bar by two steamboats, one of which contained her coal, and the other her ammunition. Her crew were employed during the passage down the bay in transferring these supplies, and by the time she reached a sufficient depth of water to float without the aid of the camels, she was quite prepared for action. But unfortunately it was now near midnight, and by the time the camels had been sent adrift, the tide had fallen so muc
el careen so suddenly as nearly to throw me off my feet. I discovered that the Hartford All the official reports show that the only contact between the Hartford and the ram was bows on, a glancing blow (see Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1864, pp. 402, 407, and 410). Captain Johnston undoubtedly mistook the Lackawanna for the Hartford. Admiral Farragut in his report (ibid., p. 402) says: The Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, was the next vessel to strike her, which she did at full speecasemate about two feet from the side. This is the only shot that penetrated the wooden backing of the casemate, although there are numerous places on the inside giving evidence of the effect of the shot. (Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1864, p. 455.) Her speed did not exceed six knots under full steam in slack water, owing to her heavy draught, which exceeded the original calculation by more than a foot. Her engine had been removed from an old Mississippi River steamboat and adapted
April 1st, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 7.53
s of exceedingly tough and malleable iron seven inches wide, two inches thick, and 21 feet long. Three layers of the 2-inch plates were bolted on the forward end of the shield as far as the after end of the pilot-house (which extended about two feet above the top of the shield), and from that point to the termination of the shield two plates of 2-inch and one of 1-inch were used. While this tedious work was progressing, the machinery and guns were placed in position, and about the 1st of April, 1864, the vessel was ready to receive her crew. As executive officer of the station under the admiral, I had superintended the completion of the vessel, and by his request I was now selected for the command, being immediately afterward promoted to the grade of commander. But as the draught of the vessel was over thirteen feet, and there were only nine feet of water on Dog River bar, at the mouth of the Mobile River, it became a serious problem to solve as to the means of floating her ov
August 4th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 7.53
engaged in exercising the crew at their guns. Having realized from the first that the running of the steering gear was very defective, I addressed a letter to the admiral soon after reaching our anchorage, suggesting certain necessary alterations therein, and he sent the naval constructor down from the city to make plans for the purpose; but before they could be perfected we were compelled to take the consequences of the defect, which proved to be disastrous. On the evening of the 4th of August, 1864, it was plainly to be seen that the blockading fleet, which had recently been augmented by the arrival of the heavier wooden vessels and the monitors, was making preparations to attempt the passage of Forts Morgan and Gaines, situated on either side of the entrance to the bay, and to attack the Confederate squadron. Similar preparations were made by our vessels, which had been anchored just within the bay for nearly three months, in daily expectation of the impending encounter. Durin
James Alden (search for this): chapter 7.53
t history will give him his just meed of praise. The casualties on board the Tennessee were two killed and nine wounded. Her armor was never penetrated, although she was under the heaviest fire for nearly four hours. One solid 15-inch shot struck her shield, at point-blank range, between two of the ports and caused an indentation of about twelve inches, but did not break the iron plating. The Board of Survey appointed by Admiral Farragut, and consisting of Captain T. A. Jenkins, Captain James Alden, Commander W. E. Le Roy, and Chief-Engineer Thomas Williamson, reported in part as follows on the injuries received in the action, by the Tennessee. On the port side of the casemate the armor is also badly damaged from shot. On that side nearly amidship of the casemate, and between the two broadside guns, a 15-inch solid shot knocked a hole through the armor and backing, leaving on the inside an undetached mass of oak and pine splinters, about three by four feet, and projecting i
John W. Bennett (search for this): chapter 7.53
ordered me to follow him up the bay; but meanwhile the lashings between each two vessels of the fleet had been cast off, and four gun-boats went immediately in pursuit of the three hastily improvised wooden vessels of our squadron. The Selma was speedily captured by one of these, the Metacomet, after a gallant resistance, during which seven of her crew and her executive officer were killed, and her commander, Lieutenant P. U. Murphy, was slightly wounded. The Gaines, commanded by Lieutenant John W. Bennett, which was run ashore near Fort Morgan to prevent her from sinking, had. received several shots below the water-line, and at night was burned by her own crew. The Morgan, Commander George W. Harrison, ran alongside the wharf at the fort to escape capture, and during the night passed safely through the enemy's fleet up to the city of Mobile. She afterward rendered good service in the defense of the city. While this sort of by-play was in progress the heavier ships of the fleet,
C. H. Bradford (search for this): chapter 7.53
ear to that occupied by Admiral Buchanan, and immediately adjoining that of Captain J. R. M. Mullany, who had commanded the steamer Oneida of the fleet, and had had the misfortune to have his left arm shot away during the action. I had known him long before the war, and called upon him at once to offer my condolence. After remaining in the hospital about three weeks I was placed on board a small ordnance steamer in company with Lieutenant-Commanding Murphy, late of the Selma, with Lieutenants Bradford and Wharton of the Tennessee, accompanied by my servant (whom Admiral Farragut had kindly allowed me to retain), for transportation to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We reached our destination after a pleasant passage of five or six days, and on arrival the commander of the steamer, Captain Tarbox, reported to Admiral Hiram Paulding, commandant of the yard. On returning to the steamer he informed me that he had obtained the admiral's permission to escort the party to the navy yard at Bosto
Franklin Buchanan (search for this): chapter 7.53
Admiral Farragut's attack was commanded by Admiral Franklin Buchanan, of Merrimac fame, and consisted of the ire was prepared for launching, I was ordered by Admiral Buchanan to charter two steamboats and proceed with theestroyed by fire. Undaunted by this calamity, Admiral Buchanan, with his usual energy and pluck, soon had thed wounded a large number of men. As soon as Admiral Buchanan realized that his enemy had escaped for the mo impossible to run the gun out for firing, and Admiral Buchanan, who superintended the battery during the enti, but gave all the honor due to its defense to Admiral Buchanan, who was the true hero of the battle; and when expected of it. After I left the Tennessee Admiral Buchanan was transferred to a small transport steamer aself placed in a room near to that occupied by Admiral Buchanan, and immediately adjoining that of Captain J. port for duty under Commodore Ebenezer Farrand, who had succeeded Admiral Buchanan in command of that station.
Benjamin F. Butler (search for this): chapter 7.53
wered by Assistant-Secretary Fox, who disavowed the act, but excused it on the ground of repeated attempts of prisoners to escape. An order for the exchange of all the prisoners in the fort had reached the commanding officer previous to our arrival, and after ten days we left for City Point on the steamer Assyrian. We naturally supposed that on our arrival at City Point we would be immediately forwarded to the landing on James River, at which exchanges were usually made. But when General B. F. Butler, whose lines were between us and that point, was advised of our presence he refused to allow us to pass through them, on account of President Davis's proclamation declaring him an outlaw. The Commissioner of Exchange informed General Grant of the fact, and he came alongside the Assyrian with his steamer, and informed us that we should be forwarded to Richmond on the following day. True to his promise, he had us landed near Dutch Gap the next morning, whence we were conveyed Command
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