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Langdon Cheves (search for this): chapter 6
n informed of the strength of the attacking force in guns and in material resistance, and the failure of many of the guns to operate when they were most needed. A part of the defences at that time consisted of seventy-six guns of large calibre, which bore over the area occupied for a time by the vessels attacking. H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 69, Thirty-eighth Congress, First Session, page 85 (Report on Armored Vessels), states: There was a cylinder torpedo off Fort Wagner under charge of Mr. Langdon Cheves, who endeavored to explode it for ten minutes. He could not have placed the Ironsides more directly over the torpedo, but the confounded thing, as is usual with them, would not go off when it was wanted. The character of the defences of Charleston and the ability of the attacking force will appear more fully in the closing pages relating to operations on that coast. The considerations that were operative in the mind of the flag-officer are given in his report of April 15th. He says:
April 16th (search for this): chapter 6
any considerable chance of success. But if prosecuted for a demonstration only, this must not be made public, or the whole effect will be lost. Once again before Charleston, do not leave till further orders from here. Of course this is not intended to force you to leave unduly exposed Hilton Head or other near points in your charge. Yours truly, A. Lincoln. General Hunter and Admiral Dupont. P. S.—Whoever receives this first, please send a copy to the other immediately. On April 16th, Rear-Admiral Dupont wrote to the Secretary of the Navy as follows: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning, by the Freeborn, of your communication of the 11th inst., directing the maintaining of a large force off Charleston, to menace the rebels and keep them in apprehension of a renewed attack in the event of our repulse. The Department will probably have known, on the 12th instant, the result of the attack In my despatch of the 11th instant, dated off Charleston,
April 15th (search for this): chapter 6
nt. He had alluded above only to Forts Sumter and Moultrie, but the vessels were also exposed to the fire of the batteries on Cummings Point, Mount Pleasant, the Redan, and Fort Beauregard. In a more detailed report to the Department, dated April 15th, Admiral Dupont gives with particularity the fire delivered by the vessels engaged and the injuries sustained by them, and adds, that in his belief any attempt to pass through the obstructions referred to would have entangled the vessels and hedefences of Charleston and the ability of the attacking force will appear more fully in the closing pages relating to operations on that coast. The considerations that were operative in the mind of the flag-officer are given in his report of April 15th. He says: I had hoped that the endurance of the ironclads would have enabled them to have borne any weight of fire to which they might have been exposed; but when I found that so large a portion of them were wholly or one-half disabled by less
December 15th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 6
for the detailed drawings of the [21] light-draught monitors, and for the calculations as to their displacement. It was expected that they would not draw over six and one-half feet of water, and be out of water amidships about fifteen inches. The contracts were made generally in the spring of 1863, and the vessels were to be furnished in the fall of that year. The Chimo, at Boston, was the first one finished. She was under the entire direction of Chief-Engineer Stimers. Instead of being fifteen inches out of water she was only three inches on an average, showing a miscalculation of one foot. The Department immediately removed Mr. Stimers from the position of general superintendent, and placed the question of what should be done to remedy the difficulties occasioned by his error in the hands of Rear-Admiral Gregory, Chief-Engineer Wood, and Captain Ericsson (letter of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, December 15, 1864, to Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, vol. 3, 1865).
S.—Whoever receives this first, please send a copy to the other immediately. On April 16th, Rear-Admiral Dupont wrote to the Secretary of the Navy as follows: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning, by the Freeborn, of your communication of the 11th inst., directing the maintaining of a large force off Charleston, to menace the rebels and keep them in apprehension of a renewed attack in the event of our repulse. The Department will probably have known, on the 12th instant, the result of the attack In my despatch of the 11th instant, dated off Charleston, the Department was made aware of my withdrawal with the ironclads, from the very insecure anchorage inside the bar, and just in time to save the monitors from an easterly gale, in which, in my opinion and that of their commanders, they would have been in great peril of being lost on Morris Island beach. Their ground-tackling has been found to be insufficient, and from time to time they have dragged even i
upont wrote to the Secretary of the Navy as follows: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this morning, by the Freeborn, of your communication of the 11th inst., directing the maintaining of a large force off Charleston, to menace the rebels and keep them in apprehension of a renewed attack in the event of our repulse. The Department will probably have known, on the 12th instant, the result of the attack In my despatch of the 11th instant, dated off Charleston, the Department was made aware of my withdrawal with the ironclads, from the very insecure anchorage inside the bar, and just in time to save the monitors from an easterly gale, in whic I have since been doing all in my power to push forward their repairs in order to send them to the Gulf, as directed, but I presume that your despatch of the 11th instant, and the telegraphic message from the President, revoke your previous order. I shall spare no exertions in repairing, as soon as possible, the serious injur
ret was disabled, and so many of the crew of the after gun wounded as to disable that gun. She was anchored out of range of the fire of the enemy and kept afloat during the night, as the water was smooth. At daylight the breeze sprung up, the leakage increased, and it was apparent the vessel must soon go down. Signal was made, assistance arrived, and an endeavor to get the head of the vessel around to tow her into shoaler water, but in that effort she filled rapidly and at 7.20 A. M. of the 8th sunk, her smokestack alone remaining partly above water. The wounded had been put on board of a tug a few minutes before the vessel sunk. The casualties were 16 seriously, and as many more slightly wounded. Commodore Turner, commanding the flag-ship, states that the pilot-house being insufficient to hold more persons than were required by the Admiral, he had taken personal charge of the battery of the Ironsides. By sounding it was found that the vessel at times was only one foot clear
smoke. The Montauk experienced difficulty in maneuvering in the narrow and uncertain channel, with the limited means of vision, under the rapid and concentrated fire of the enemy. The vessel was struck fourteen times without receiving material injury. She fired ten Xv-inch cored shot, sixteen solid Xi-inch shot, and one shell. The Patapsco opened fire with 150-pounder rifle when within thirteen hundred yards of Sumter, and when within eleven hundred yards with the Xv-inch gun. On the fifth discharge the cap-square bolts of the rifle gave way, disabling that gun for two hours. The Montauk, next ahead, following the head of the line, turned seaward. At that time several rows of buoys were observed above and near, and further within the harbor, a row of piles. Endeavoring to turn a step's length short of the Montauk's wake, the headway of the Patapsco ceased, and the vessel no longer obeyed the helm. She was backed, and got off, having been stationary long enough to afford
April 2nd (search for this): chapter 6
ly naval attack, and am admonished by the condition of the ironclads that a persistence in our efforts would end in disaster, and might cause us to leave some of our ironclads in the hands of the enemy, which would render it difficult to hold those parts of the coast that are yet in our possession. I have therefore determined to withdraw my vessels. The Department and the people of the North counted confidently on the fall of Charleston through the monitors, as is shown by the orders of April 2d, followed before the receipt of the news of the repulse on April 7th by a letter to the Admiral from the Secretary of the Navy, dated April 11th, as follows: It has been suggested to the Department by the President, in view of operations elsewhere, and especially by the Army of the Potomac, that you should retain a strong force off Charleston, even should you find it impossible to carry the place. You will continue to menace the rebels, keeping them in apprehension of a renewed attack, in
April 2nd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
Chapter 5: naval attack on Charleston. On April 2, 1863, the Rear-Admiral left Port Royal to join the ironclads, as the monitors were styled, at North Edisto, and on the morning of the 5th left for Charleston Bar with all of them in tow of suitable vessels. As previously arranged, on arrival, the Keokuk, aided by Captain Boutelle and Master Platt of the Coast Survey, sounded and buoyed the bar of the main ship channel, supported by the monitors Patapsco and Catskill. This was soon accomies sustained by the vessels in aggressive power restrained him, such as no loss of life, had it occurred, would have done. On the evening of the attack the flag-officer received a letter, as follows: Confidential. Navy Department, April 2, 1863. Sir—The exigencies of the public service are so pressing in the Gulf that the Department directs you to send all the ironclads that are in a fit condition to move, after your present attack upon Charleston, directly to New Orleans, reserv
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