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Southwestern States (United States) (search for this): chapter 2.4
. Some of the captains thought it suicidal and believed that the whole fleet would be annihilated; others, that perhaps one or two vessels might get by, but they would be sunk by the rams. All this time Farragut maintained that it must and should be done, even if half the ships were lost. A final council was called on the afternoon of the 23d, and it was decided to attempt the passage that night. In July, 1861, I was on board the steam frigate Mississippi when she made a visit to the Southwest Pass, and having been sent to the Powhatan, commanded by Lieutenant D. D. Porter, near by, I walked up and down the quarter-deck with the commanding officer. He was very much exasperated that the department at Washington delayed sending vessels of proper draught to enter the river, and said that if he had half a dozen good vessels he would undertake to run by the forts and capture New Orleans. Admiral Porter has already recounted in this work the prominent part that he took in the openin
Mississippi (Mississippi, United States) (search for this): chapter 2.4
ing up with ammunition and coal. At last, on April 16th, Farragut steamed up with the fleet and anchored just below the point where Porter's mortar Admiral David D. Porter, in command of the mortar-fleet at forts Jackson and St. Philip. From a photograph. vessels, or, as the sailors used to call them, the bummers, had taken their position and had made ready to open fire upon the forts. Admiral Porter has described in this work the part taken by these vessels in the opening of the lower Mississippi. I can vouch for the accuracy of their aim, for I used to sit on the cross-trees all day, when not on duty, seeing the shells fall into the fort and witnessing the havoc they made in it. We had plenty of occupation while anchored below the forts, and as an accompaniment one of the mortars was fired every half minute all day. It was trying work for the poor fellows on the mortar-schooners, for when their mortar was fired, all of them were obliged to go aft and stand on tiptoe with o
Mobile, Ala. (Alabama, United States) (search for this): chapter 2.4
had the good fortune to be immediately associated with him seemed to worship him. He had determination and dash in execution, but in planning and organizing he appeared to want method. He showed me one day an old envelope containing memoranda, and said that that was all the record or books that he kept. He had, however, the good fortune to have on his staff two of the best organizers and administrators of detail in the service,--Captains Henry H. Bell at New Orleans and Percival Drayton at Mobile. On the 15th of March we began to congregate at the Head of the Passes, and at this time the energy and activity of the flag-officer made themselves felt. We lay here several weeks preparing our ships for the coming action, drilling the crews, firing at targets, and getting in provisions and coal. Farragut was about the fleet from early dawn until dark, and if any officers or men had not spontaneous enthusiasm he certainly infused it into them. I have been on the morning watch, from 4
tford, with a fire-raft alongside and with flames running up the rigging on the tarred rope to the mast-head. The tug Mosher was near by, but I did not see the ram Manassas. It was evidently Craven's intention when he saw Farragut's trouble to go to his rescue. As the engine stopped, the Brooklyn dropped down, her head swinging to starboard, until she was on a line between Fort Jackson and the Hartford. The Flag-ship Hartford attacked by a fire-raft, pushed by the Confederate tug-boat Mosher. Commander Albert Kautz, who was at this time lieutenant on the Hartford, in a letter to the Editors thus describes this memorable scene: no sooner had Farragut given the order hard-a-port, than the current gave the ship a broad sheer, and her bows went hard up on a mud bank. As the fire-raft came against the port side of the ship, it became enveloped in flames. We were so near to the shore that from the bowsprit we could reach the tops of the bushes, and such a short distance above
Thomas Hollins (search for this): chapter 2.4
ge while passing, but we were so close that the pow.--der scorched the faces and clothes of the men. A bullet entered the port of No. 1 gun and struck Lieutenant James O'Kane, who had charge of the first division, in the leg. He fell to the deck, but would not allow himself to be carried below until he had himself fired two of the broadside guns into Fort St. Philip. But the most uncomfortable position on board the ship, during this part of the engagement, was that of the quartermaster, Thomas Hollins, who stood in the starboard main chains, heaving the lead and calling out the soundings. The outside of the ship near him was completely peppered with bullets, and the flames from the enemy's guns seemed almost to reach him; still he stood coolly at his post, and when abreast of the fort he was heard calling out, Only thirteen feet, sir. As we passed clear of Fort St. Philip, Captain Craven gave orders to load Section of Fort St. Philip during the engagement. The details of the Fo
all the vessels got under way, and remained so until daylight, when they proceeded up the river toward New Orleans. At 6 o'clock we passed a large vessel loaded with cotton on fire, and at 7:30 passed two more in the same condition. Arrived at Chalmette, four miles below the city, we found that batteries had been erected on both banks, armed with field-pieces. A few broadsides made the troops leave their guns and disperse into the country. The Brooklyn fired 21 shells from the 80-pound Dahlgren into the battery on the left bank and a couple of broadsides into that on the right. The fleet steamed on to the city, passing close to the levees, which were swarming with people. They were simply a howling mob. The Confederate flags were flying about the city, and we passed so close — not more than two hundred feet from the bank — that the people called out abusive names and shouted at us in derision. In the French quarter there was apparently some disturbance, and a body of troops w
David Glasgow Farragut (search for this): chapter 2.4
r was always the same,--Up the river, sir! Days and weeks went by, and the smoke came no nearer. Once only, on February 24th, it came out of the river, and we had an exciting chase of a blockade-runner, following her for miles, with an officer aloft conning the ship by the smoke seen above the fog; we captured the chase, which proved to be the steamer Magnolia with 1200 bales of cotton. At last the spell was broken, for on the 7th of March the Hartford and Pensacola arrived with Captain D. G. Farragut, then flag-officer commanding the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, and we learned that we were going to open the Mississippi River. I had never met Farragut, but had heard of him from officers who were with him in the Brooklyn on her previous cruise. He had been represented as a man of most determined will and character — a man who would assume any responsibility to accomplish necessary ends. I saw a great deal of him at the Head of the Passes and after we passed the forts. Often
Melancton Smith (search for this): chapter 2.4
r steamer coming down on us, crowded with men on her forward deck, as if ready to board. The order had The Brooklyn attacked by the Confederate ram Manassas. The Manassas was described by her commander, Lieutenant Warley, as a tug-boat that had been converted into a ram, covered with half-inch iron, and had a 32-pounder carronade; her crew consisted of thirty-five persons, officers and men. She was perforated in the fight by shot and shell as if she had been made of paper. Admiral Melancton Smith thus describes his encounter with the ram: Having discovered the Manassas stealing up along the St. Philip side of the river behind me, I signaled Farragut for permission to attack, which was given. The Mississippi turned in mid-stream and tried to run down the ram, barely missing her, but driving her ashore, when her crew escaped, fired at by the Kineo, which had not yet anchored. The ram's engines were found to be still in motion, but the approach of a burning wreck compelled me
Commander D. D. Porter (search for this): chapter 2.4
and thence carried to the surgeon in the forehold. A howitzer was placed in the foretop and one in the maintop. A large kedge-anchor was hung to the main brace bumkin on each quarter, with a hawser attached, to be used whenever it became necessary to turn the ship suddenly. There was considerable delay in getting the larger vessels over the bar and in filling up with ammunition and coal. At last, on April 16th, Farragut steamed up with the fleet and anchored just below the point where Porter's mortar Admiral David D. Porter, in command of the mortar-fleet at forts Jackson and St. Philip. From a photograph. vessels, or, as the sailors used to call them, the bummers, had taken their position and had made ready to open fire upon the forts. Admiral Porter has described in this work the part taken by these vessels in the opening of the lower Mississippi. I can vouch for the accuracy of their aim, for I used to sit on the cross-trees all day, when not on duty, seeing the shells
Henry H. Bell (search for this): chapter 2.4
ng old until he was unable to do it. The officers who had the good fortune to be immediately associated with him seemed to worship him. He had determination and dash in execution, but in planning and organizing he appeared to want method. He showed me one day an old envelope containing memoranda, and said that that was all the record or books that he kept. He had, however, the good fortune to have on his staff two of the best organizers and administrators of detail in the service,--Captains Henry H. Bell at New Orleans and Percival Drayton at Mobile. On the 15th of March we began to congregate at the Head of the Passes, and at this time the energy and activity of the flag-officer made themselves felt. We lay here several weeks preparing our ships for the coming action, drilling the crews, firing at targets, and getting in provisions and coal. Farragut was about the fleet from early dawn until dark, and if any officers or men had not spontaneous enthusiasm he certainly infused it
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