Fighting Farragut below New Orleans.
Beverley Kennon, Lieutenant, C. S. N., Commander of the Governor Moore.
This narrative will be occupied with the operations of the State
and River Defense gunboats, and especially with the movements of my vessel, the Governor Moore
, and without particular reference to the forts.
No men ever endured greater hardships, privations, and sufferings than the garrison of Fort Jackson
during the eight days and nights of the bombardment, when more than fourteen hundred 13-inch shells struck within their fort.
When the “run by” took place, the garrisons of both forts left no stone unturned to stem the tide of battle, but to no purpose.
Nor shall I refer especially to the Louisiana
, and McRae
, of the regular C. S. Navy.
Of these I saw nothing after the battle began.
I did see and do know of the movements of all the other gun-boats, which, to avoid confounding with the regular navy vessels, I will refer to as “rams.”
was simply an iron floating battery.
She was in an unfinished state, and although officered from the regular navy, her crew was composed exclusively of volunteer soldiers, totally unused to ships and the handling of heavy guns.
Her ports were too small to admit of the elevation or depression of her guns, thereby almost entirely destroying their efficiency.
The responsibility for this was long since placed with Secretary Mallory
, who did not order the construction of the Louisiana
until four months before New Orleans fell, and after Stephenson
had fashioned that “pigmy monster” the Manassas
, and in a measure had tested her power.
was decked over, roofed, iron-plated, armed, and given engines which never propelled her. Commander McIntosh
, her “fighting captain,” was mortally wounded early in the action, and was succeeded by Lieutenant John Wilkinson
, and his brave officers and men did all in their power to beat back the enemy, but to little purpose, as fourteen of the enemy's seventeen vessels passed their vessel and the forts.
a small vessel mounting a battery of 1 9-inch and 6 32-pounders, lost her commander, T. B. Huger
, early in the battle, and as it happened, he was killed by a shot fired from the Iroquois
, the vessel on which he was serving when he resigned his commission in the United States Navy.
He was succeeded by Lieutenant Read
, who fought the ship gallantly until the end.
, commanded by Lieutenant Warley
, had previously done good service, and this time came to grief after two hours fighting, because every ship that neared her selected her thin, half-inch-iron roof and sides for a target.
In considering the responsibility for the fall of New Orleans, it should be remembered that Messrs. Benjamin
were better fitted for the law than to preside over the War
and Navy departments of a newly fledged government.
The vessel which I commanded was formerly the ocean-built wooden paddle steamship Charles Morgan
, of about nine hundred tons, and having a walking-beam engine.
When armed by the State of Louisiana
, she was named the Governor Moore
, and received 2 rifled 32-pounders (not banded and not sighted) and a complement of 93 persons.
She was not iron-plated in any manner whatever.
Her stem was like that of hundreds of other vessels, being faced its length on its edges above water, with two strips of old-fashioned flat railroad iron
, held in place by short straps of like kind at the top, at the water-line, and at three intermediate points.
These straps extended about two feet abaft the face of the stem, on each side, where they were bolted in place.
The other “rams” had their “noses” hardened in like manner.
All had the usual-shaped stems.
Not one had an iron beak or projecting plow under water.
All of them had their
boiler-houses, engines, and boilers protected by a bulkhead of cotton bales which extended from the floor of the hold to five feet or more above the spar-deck.
These and other such vessels were fitted out by the State
and the city of New Orleans
after the regular navy neglected to take them, and to Lieutenant-Colonel W. S. Lovell
United States Navy) is due the credit of their novel construction.
Of the other seven “rams” the General Quitman
was like my ship, but smaller.
The remaining six had been tug-boats, and were of wood, with walking-beam engines.
Each of them mounted one or two guns, had about 35 men, and measured not far from 150 tons.
These six “rams” were an independent command, and recognized no outside authority unless it suited their convenience; and it was expected that this “fleet” and its branch at Memphis
“would defend the upper
and lower Mississippi
, without aid from the regular navy.”
We lay at the head of the turn in the river just above the forts, the place of all others for all the Confederate vessels to have been.
Here they would have been less liable to be surprised; they would have been clear of the cross-fire from the forts and not exposed to the broadsides of the enemy when passing them, while both guns of each ram could have raked the enemy for over a mile as they approached; they would have been out of the smoke, and would have had extra time to raise steam, to prepare to fire and to ram; moreover, they would have been at a great advantage in ramming, since the advancing vessels
Map showing final disposition of the Confederate fleet.
From a drawing lent by Commander J. R. Bartlett.
1.--The Governor Moore ramming the Varuna.
2.--The Stonewall Jackson ramming the Varuna.
would have had to incline to the eastward on reaching them.
Not one of them to my knowledge, nor was it ever reported, availed itself of one of these advantages, for when they saw the enemy approaching, those having steam tried to escape, whilst others that did not have it were set afire where they lay, as I myself witnessed.
Not one of them made the feeblest offensive or defensive movement, excepting in the case of the Stonewall Jackson
nearly three hours after, as I shall relate.
Had they done their duty simply in firing, what might they not have accomplished!
Nearly every United States
ship reports firing into them, but not a single one reports having been rammed or fired at by one of them, with the exception of the Stonewall Jackson
and my ship.
As an act of fairness to the people on board the “rams” who so signally failed to cooperate with the forts and the regular war-ships, I must say it was attributable to their commander, Captain Stephenson
On the purchase by the Confederate Government of the Manassas
(which was his creation from the tug-boat Enoch Train
), the command of her was refused him; hence his insubordination and its evil results.
None of the men on the rains were wanting in courage.
They simply needed competent officers to command, lead, and instruct them, for they were totally “at sea” in their new vocation.
After the war, one of them said to me, “If the forts and you fellows could not prevent the enemy from reaching you, how could you expect us with a dozen guns to check their further advance?
I saw there was no use risking life for nothing, so I fired the vessel and skipped.”
The fault rests with those who kept them there.
Had regular naval officers, instead of being kept in the mud forts on the creeks in Virginia
, and in the woods of the Carolinas cutting timber to build iron-clads, been sent to these vessels, even at the eleventh hour, they would have proven very formidable.
The Confederates had in all thirteen vessels, and but fourteen of Farragut
's vessels passed the forts.
The former lost a fine opportunity here.
, in the minds of some officials, bore the same relation to the Confederacy
has ever done to France
; hence the delay for several months to prepare for the defense of New Orleans, whilst Richmond
was being fortified, and the mistake in not sending Commander John K. Mitchell
to the “three fleets,” near the forts, until three and a half days before the fight, and then with a vessel (the Louisiana
) which could simply float, but nothing more!
The Governor Moore
, which was anchored near Fort St. Philip
opposite Fort Jackson
, could not have been surprised at any time.
I slept for the most part only during the day, and but rarely at night.
At 8 P. M. four sentinels were always posted on the spar-deck and wheel-houses, and a quartermaster in the pilot-house; an anchor and engine-room watch was set; the chain was unshackled and the fires were banked; both guns were carefully pointed at the opening in the obstructions through which the enemy had to pass to reach us. The vessel being secured as firmly as if at a dock, effective firing of her guns was assured.
Every opening in the vessel's side through which a light might be seen was kept closed.
At dark the vessel's holds and decks and magazines were brightly lighted to save delay in the event of a sudden call to quarters.
Two guns' crews were ready for service, and the officer of the deck and myself were always at hand.
The evening previous to the battle I reported to General Duncan
, the commander of the two forts, my observations on the enemy's movements as seen by myself from the mast-head.
Yet to my knowledge no picket boat was sent down by us, or any means adopted to watch the enemy and guard against surprise.1
The result was they were abreast the forts before some of our vessels fired a shot.
In a few moments this space was filled with smoke from the guns and exploded shells, intensifying the darkness of the night.
A slackening of the fire on both sides was necessary, since neither could distinguish friend from foe. In some places no object was distinguishable until directly upon it, when it was as soon lost to view, yet the United States squadron steamed ahead, blindfolded, as it were, through the darkness and confusion, soon to find themselves in places of absolute safety and with comparatively few casualties.
At about 3:30 A. M. (April 24th, 1862) an unusual noise down the river attracted my attention.
As we expected to be attacked at any moment I descended the ladder to near the water, where I distinctly heard the paddles of a steamer (the ]Mississippi
). I saw nothing on reaching the deck, but instantly fired the after gun, the one forward being fired by the sentry there; at the same moment the water-batteries of Fort Jackson
and Fort St. Philip
let drive, followed in an instant by a general discharge from all the available guns in the forts, and both batteries of the advancing fleet, mounting 192 guns, and Commander Porter
's squadron of 7 vessels, mounting 53 guns,
which attacked Fort Jackson
's flank below the obstructions.
There was also a splendid practice from 19 Federal mortars, which fired their 13-inch shells at intervals (between the vessels) of 10 seconds.
The bursting of every description of shells quickly following their discharge, increased a hundred-fold the terrific noise and fearfully grand and magnificent pyrotechnic display which centered in a space of about 1200 yards in width.
The ball had not more than fairly opened before the enemy's ships were between the forts, and the Uncle Sam
of my earlier days had the key to the valley of the Mississippi
again in his breeches-pocket, for which he had to thank his gallant navy and the stupidity, tardiness, ignorance, and neglect of the authorities in Richmond
The first gun fired brought my crew to their stations.
We had steam within 3 minutes, it having been ordered by that hour; the cable was slipped, when we delayed a moment for Lieutenant Warley
to spring the Manassas
, then inside of us, across the channel.
A little tug-boat, the Belle Algerine,
now fouled us — to her mortal injury.
By the time we started, the space between the forts was filling up with the enemy's vessels, which fired upon us as they approached, giving us grape, canister, and shell.
My vessel being a large one, we had too little steam and elbow-room in the now limited and crowded space to gather sufficient headway to strike a mortal blow on ramming.
So rather than simply “squeeze” my adversary, I made haste slowly by moving close under the east bank to reach the bend above, where I would be able to turn down-stream ready for work.
I took this course also, to avoid being fired and run into by the Confederate rams moored above me; but the ground for this fear was soon removed, as, on getting near them, I saw that one had started for New Orleans, while the telegraph steamer Star,
, and one other had been set afire at their berths on the right bank, and deserted before any of the enemy had reached them, and were burning brightly.
They being in a clear space were in full view, and I was close to them.
Another reason for leaving our berth directly under Fort St. Philip
, where the Louisiana
, and Manassas
also lay, was to get clear of the cross-fire of the forts, and that of each ship of the enemy as they passed up close to us, for we sustained considerable damage and losses as we moved out into the stream.
When we were turning at the head of the reach we found ourselves close to the United States
10 guns with the United States
, 4 guns, on our port beam.
On being hailed with “What ship is that?”
I replied, “United States
,” to deceive, she being a side-wheel vessel also, but, seeing our distinguishing light, the Oneida
raked with her starboard broadside at a few feet distance; the Cayuga
delivered her fire thirty yards distant; the Pensacola
, 25 guns, a little farther from us, at one fire with shrapnel from the howitzers in her tops cleared out 12 men at our bow-gun.
Beyond her the firing of single guns in quick succession, as some vessel, unseen to any one, was moving rapidly up-stream, attracted my attention.
At the same instant the United States
, 5 guns, close to on our port quarter, delivered her fire,
killing 5 men in our bunkers.
This combined attack killed and wounded a large number of men, and cut the vessel up terribly.
Suddenly two, then one Confederate ram darted through the thick smoke from the right to the left bank of the river, passing close to all of us. They missed the channel for New Orleans, grounded on and around the point next above and close to Fort St. Philip
; one was fired and deserted, and blew up soon after as we passed her; the others were disabled and were soon after abandoned by their crews.
One (the Resolute
) was taken possession of later by men from the Confederate steamer McRae.
I do not know what became of the other, the smoke was so dense.
All this passed in a few moments.
Suddenly I saw between my vessel and the burning Quitman
, close to us on the west bank, a large, two-masted steamer rushing up-stream like a racer, belching “black smoke,” firing on each burning vessel as she passed, and flying her distinguishing white light at the mast-head and red light at the peak.
I thought of General Lovell
, not far ahead of her on board the passenger steamer Doubloon
, and quickly made a movement to follow this stranger in the hope of being able to delay or destroy her. Besides, the four or even more large ships so close to us, but obscured from view, needed but a little more room, and one good chance and a fair view of us, quickly to annihilate my old “tinder-box” of a ship.
I therefore slipped out in the smoke and darkness around us after the advancing stranger, which proved to be the Varuna
, Captain Charles S. Boggs
, mounting 8 8-inch guns and 2 30-pounder rifles, with a complement of
about 200 persons.
My whereabouts remained unknown to my former adversaries until all of them came to the Varuna
's assistance at 6:20 A. M., nine miles above, where she sank, and where parts of her wreck are yet to be seen (1885).
When I started after the Varuna
, I shot away our blue distinguishing light at the mast-head with a musket, as to have hauled it down would have attracted notice.
We could see her, as she was in a clear space, and her lights showed her position.
But she soon lost sight of us, for, besides being some-what in the smoke, there were back of us at this location moderately high trees thickly placed, the spaces filled with a luxuriant undergrowth, making a high dark wall or background on both sides of the river.
Until we got clear of this, there was nothing to attract attention toward us, the Varuna
being half a mile ahead, as shown by her lights.
Her engines were working finely and driving her rapidly on her “spurt.”
We too, by using oil on our coal, had all the steam we needed.
My old ship, shaking all over and fairly dancing through the water, was rapidly lessening the distance between uso
As soon as we reached an open space we hoisted a white light at our masthead and a red light at the peak.
This ruse worked successfully, as the sequel proves.
Since our existence depended upon closing with her before she made us out, I urged the men to resist the temptation to fire, and to be quiet and patient, otherwise we would soon be put under water from the effects of her broadsides.
We were now one and a half miles from the forts, and one mile from where we gave chase.
On our port bow and the Varuna
's port beam, close under the land, I saw the runaway ram Stonewall Jackson
making slow progress for want of steam, but working hard to get out of danger.
She did not notice us. The Varuna
could not have seen her or would have fired at her. We soon left the Stonewall Jackson
Four miles more and we were nearly abreast of Szymanski
's regiment at Chalmette
Still the Varuna
had not recognized us. I wanted assistance from that regiment, for I could now see that I had a far superior vessel to mine on my hands.
I hoped also for assistance from the ram Stonewall Jackson
, now a mile or two on our quarter, and from the Confederate States
, over one mile above us, serving as guard-boat at the quarantine station.
To secure all this assistance I had but to show our colors and make ourselves known.
The day was just dawning, and there was no smoke about us; so as a bid for help from the sources named, we hauled down the enemy's distinguishing lights and opened fire for the first time upon the Varuna
, distant about one hundred yards, and with a surprise to her people plainly to be seen.
This shot missed her!
She replied quickly with one or more guns, when a running fight commenced, she raking us with such guns as she could bring to bear, but not daring the risk of a sheer to deliver her broadside, as we were too close upon her. Her former great superiority was now reduced to a lower figure than that of our two guns, for we, having assumed the offensive, had the advantage and maintained it until she sank.
Our hoped — for and expected aid never came from any source.
So far from it the gun-boat Jackson
, lying at quarantine, slipped her cable when the fight commenced, firing two shots at both of us, believing us both enemies (one striking our foremast), and started with all haste for the head-waters of the Mississippi
, delaying at New Orleans long enough for her people with their baggage to be landed, when Lieutenant F. B. Renshaw
, her commander, burnt her at the levee!
The infantry at Chalmette
camp could not help us, and the “ram” Stonewall Jackson
, as it then seemed to us, would not!
Then I saw that we had to fight the Varuna
On finding our bow-gun useless because it was mounted too far abaft the knight-heads to admit of sufficient depression to hull the enemy, then close under our bows, and noting that every shell from the enemy struck us fair, raking the decks, killing former wounded and well men, and wounding others, I realized that something had to be done and that quickly.
I then depressed the bow-gun to a point inside our bow
and fired it, hoping to throw its shell into the engine-room or boiler of the chase.
It went through our deck all right but struck the hawse-pipe, was deflected and passed through the Varuna
It was soon fired again through this hole in our bows, the shell striking the Varuna
's pivot-gun, where it broke or burst, and killed and wounded several men. Until we had finished reloading, the Varuna
was undecided what to do, when suddenly and to my surprise she ported her helm.
Not wishing to avoid her fire any longer, being quite near to her, we put our helm to port and received the fire from her pivot-gun and rifles in our port bow, but as her shot struck us, under the cover of the smoke our helm was put hard to starboard,--she not righting hers quickly enough,--and before she could recover herself, we rammed her near the starboard gangway, receiving her starboard broadside and delivering our one shot as we struck her.
Her engines stopped suddenly.
We backed clear, gathered headway again, and rammed her a second time as near the same place as possible.3
Before separating, the two vessels dropped alongside each other for a couple of minutes and exchanged musket and pistol shots to some injury to their respective crews, but neither vessel fired a large gun. I expected to be boarded at this time and had had the after gun loaded with a light charge and three stand of canister, and pointed fore and aft ready for either gangway.
It was an opportunity for the Varuna
's two hundred men to make a second Paul Jones
of their commander, but it was not embraced.
As for ourselves, we had neither the men to board nor to repel boarders.
The vessels soon parted, hostilities between them ceased, and the Varuna
was beached to prevent her sinking in deep water.
Then and not until then did the Varuna's
people know that any other Confederate vessel than mine was within several miles of her. Suddenly the ram Stonewall Jackson
, having to pass the Varuna
to reach New Orleans, rammed deep into the latter's port gangway.4
When close upon her, the Varuna
delivered such of her port broadside guns as could be brought to bear.
The Stonewall Jackson
backed clear, steamed about four miles up the river, and was beached on the opposite bank, fired, and deserted.
Her wreck is there now. Having but one gun, and that mounted aft, she did not fire it. Soon after the Stonewall Jackson
struck the Varuna
the latter finished sinking, leaving her topgallant forecastle out of the water, and upon it her crew took refuge.
The United States
were now rapidly approaching and near at hand.
I started down-stream to meet and try to ram one of them.
On passing abreast the Varuna
some thoughtless man, knowing her forecastle rifle was loaded, fired it and killed and wounded five of our men, one officer included.
Had I returned the fire with our after gun, which was loaded with canister, at the crowd of people closely packed upon and near that little shelf, the damage to life and limb would have been fearful.
But not a shot did we fire at her after she was disabled.
We had proceeded down-stream but a short distance when Mr. Duke
, the first lieutenant
, then at the conn,7
where, though wounded, he had remained throughout the fight doing his duty like a brave man, exclaimed, “Why do this?
We have no men left; I'll be — if I stand here to be murdered,” so he slapped the helm hard-a-starboard.
As we came round, the enemy's ships, being near, fired a shower of heavy projectiles which struck the vessel in every part.
One gun was dismounted.
The boats had already been destroyed.
The wheel-ropes, the head of the rudder, the slide of the engine, and a large piece of the walking-beam were shot away; the latter fell on the cylinder
The “Pensacola” disabling the “Governor Moore.”
Captain H. W. Morris of the Pensacola says, in his report: “The ram [Governor Moore], after having struck the Varuna gun-boat, and forced her to run on shore to prevent sinking, advanced to attach this ship, coming down on us right ahead.
She was perceived by Lieutenant F. A. Roe just in tile to avoid her by sheering the ship, and she passed close on our starboard side, receiving, as she went by, a broadside from us.”
Until I read this, I thought the vessel that did us most damage was the Oneida, the other vessels being astern of her. Captain Lee of the Oneida in his report speaks of firing into the Governor Moore.--B. K.
head and cracked it and filled the engine-room with steam, driving every man out of it. The head of the jib was now hoisted, and with a strong current on the port bow, assisted by the headway left on the vessel, we succeeded in reaching the river-bank just above the Varuna's
wreck, where the anchor was let go to prevent drifting into deep water to sink, the last heavy firing having struck the vessel on and under her water-line.
At this place she was destroyed by fire, her colors burning at her peak.
The vessel was not disabled until this last attack upon her, although much cut up. By it no one on the Governor Moore
outside the cotton bulkhead protection to the engine, excepting those in the magazine and shell-room, escaped being struck by shot, bullets, or splinters.
Additional men were killed, several more of the wounded were killed, and others wounded.
It should be remembered that my vessel had been under a terrific fire for 3 hours, in a narrow river with unruffled surface, and at close quarters, from vessels [the Oneida
, and Varuna
] mounting in the aggregate over 30 of the heaviest guns afloat.
Out of 93 all told we lost 57 killed and 17 wounded, of whom 4 died in the hospital.8
Twenty-four years have now passed without any Confederate account of this fight being made public.
Now that “the fictions of hastily compiled histories of partisan writers” are being corrected, I add my mite as an act of justice to all interested, and to the gallant dead and those living, of the Governor Moore
The burning of my ship has ever been a source of regret to me, as it was done by my order, and by me individually, simply because I did not wish to
surrender her. Finding that the boats of the United States
ships were picking up the Varuna
's people, I ordered the uninjured of my crew to assist our wounded to our boat, and to the shore.
Many took hold, others did not. I saw several wounded men landed.
I aided several to leave the vessel, and called to men then standing in the water to help them, which they did. I placed life-preservers on others.
One man who was wounded in the arm was afraid to jump; he had on two life-preservers.
I shoved him overboard and saw him assisted to the shore.
When the boats reached the ship I tried to save my servant, he having had his leg shot clean off; but we had to leave him, because on moving him to the gangway his body broke open near the shattered thigh.
These two cases, in part, led to my being put in solitary confinement on board the Colorado
, and in close confinement on board the Rhode Island
, and at Fort Warren
--in all, three months. Some one had reported that “I had killed my steward because he had failed to call me at 3 o'clock in the morning, and that then I had thrown his half-dead body overboard.”
I did not depend upon any one to call me. Moreover, the steward and his eight-year-old boy, who was on a visit to him (and who was to have returned on the steamer Doubloon
), being in the magazine, were not touched.
They were made prisoners.
I set fire to the ladders leading to the magazine and shell-room, first pouring oil over them and over clothing hanging in some of the state-rooms to insure the ship's destruction.
I went then to the gangway, expecting to find what remained of one of our boats, into which I had ordered Lieutenants Haynes
(both wounded slightly) to place such of the wounded as were unable to move themselves.
I found those two had taken it alone,
and left the vessel.
As they were quite near, I “persuaded” the return of the boat, which the latter brought back, the former jumping overboard and being picked up by the Oneida
He was taken to Fort Warren
Into our boat I was preparing to lower some wounded men when the boats of the squadron came alongside, and took them and myself off the burning ship.
The “Governor Moore” in flames.
The Union ships in their order, beginning with the left, are the Oneida, the Pinola, the sunken Varuna, the Iroquois, and, in the foreground, the Pensacola.
[See note concerning the Pinola and the Iroquois, p. 84.]--Editors.
went to the gangway to see if any wounded had been placed in our boat, for I expected the boilers and the magazines to explode at any moment, I found the wounded men referred to, in the gangway.
They said, “Captain
, we stood by you; do not desert us now.
I told them I would not, and I remained with them until they left the vessel, and then I left in the Oneida
's boat, and not half a second too soon.
I was too much bruised to help any one overmuch, but I did all I could.
Had no uninjured man left the vessel until the wounded had been cared for, I could have escaped capture, like Lieutenants Duke
and the purser, the two former being wounded.
When the Oneida
's boat approached the Governor Moore
, one of its crew recognized me. The officer of the boat wished to know if there was danger of an explosion.
I replied, “You surely can come where I can stay; come and take off these wounded men.”
In a moment it was done.
One of the boat's crew asked, pointing to a room close by, “Is that your trunk?”
I no sooner said it was than he had it in the boat.
We soon reached the Oneida
, whose captain, S. P. Lee
, having known me from a child, received me kindly and entertained me most hospitably.
The wounded of my vessel were attentively cared for on the Oneida
and other United States
They ultimately went to the city hospital.
The uninjured prisoners of my crew (eighteen men) were transferred to the Hartford
, where I saw them.
I do not think any of my wounded were burned.
If they were, it was because they were stowed out of sight, and I was left alone (as is well known) to care for them.
As to the fate of the thirteen Confederate vessels, Commander Porter
in his official report states that “the Louisiana
and ram Defiance,
with the Burton
both river passenger boats, which had been used by the Louisiana
, close to which they lay, to berth her officers and crew, were still at the forts flying their colors two days after the battle.”
, 2 guns, escaped before daylight to New Orleans from Quarantine Station, 6 miles above the forts, without being seen by any other United States
vessel than the Varuna
, disabled by the Mississippi
aided by other vessels, was destroyed by her commander, who swam to the Louisiana
with his crew and was made prisoner with her people two days after.
The Stonewall Jackson
, seen in the distance only, excepting by the Varuna
's and Governor Moore
's people, was destroyed by her officers about 13 miles above the forts, and out of gun-shot of the enemy; and my ship was destroyed by my own hand about 9 miles above them.
and another gun-boat, with the telegraph steamer Star
, were fired on the report of the first gun. They were blazing when my ship reached them.
I have already described the fate of the Resolute
and one other ram. The passenger boat Doubloon
reached New Orleans all right.
My vessel ran over the little tug Belle Algerine.
was destroyed when taking a fire-raft alongside the Hartford
Of the little tug Music
and three of the rams I know nothing beyond seeing them burn and explode their magazines after being deserted.
My old classmates and messmates among the officers, and shipmates among the crews of the United States
ships at New Orleans, treated me with great kindness.
To mention a few, Captain Lee
shared his cabin with me; Lieutenant J. S. Thornton
gave me his room on board the Hartford
, and with Lieutenant Albert Kautz
made it possible for me to extend some hospitality to friends who called upon me. Lieutenant-Commanding Crosby
on receiving me on board the Pinola
gave me the freedom of the cabin.
When taking me to the Colorado Lieutenants Kidder Breese
and Phil Johnson
, both my classmates, came with offers of money and clothes, as did Acting Master Furber
When on board the Oneida
, anchored close to the levee at the city, I slept from choice under a shelter aft — not a poop deck exactly — which was under the orderly's eye. Near daylight something called him away.
An old sailor who had been on several ships with me, and who by my evidence in his favor was once rescued from much discomfort and trouble, suddenly jumped to my cot, saying, “The preparations are made, lose no time, out of the port by the line there ready for you,” and, handing a paper inclosing several gold pieces
, was off as suddenly as he came.
I watched my opportunity and returned his money to him rolled up in a tobacco wrapper, saying in as few words as possible why I would not betray the confidence placed in me.
When General Butler
came on board the Cayuga
he asked of Lieutenant-Commanding Harrison
, pointing with his thumb over his shoulder at me as he walked aft, “Where did you catch him?”
Loud enough for Butler
to hear I replied, “Where you were not on hand, or your army either.”
I was to have been paroled, but the burning of my vessel and the reported killing of the steward and reported burning of my wounded, changed my
destination to Fort Warren
, where, although I was denied the freedom enjoyed by the other prisoners, I was treated with much consideration by Colonel Justin Dimick
, who made fast friends of every prisoner under his charge for his kindness to them.
The war has long been over with me, and the most “uncompromising” on both sides must acknowledge the creation of a new, richer, happier, and better South and mightier common country as the result of the unhappy strife.
My old antagonists have ever been kind to me, and to many others of their old ante-bellum companions and friends.
In 1867 a Union man gave me the command of a vessel he owned.
In 1868 a Boston company offered me the position of first mate of one of their new iron steamships.
In 1869 the colonel of a New York regiment and a rear-admiral of the United States Navy secured my appointment as Colonel
of Coast Defenses in the Egyptian Army
; and I am now holding positions for which I was recommended by an officer whose ship fought mine below New Orleans.