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few, mainly from Pensacola, when than that actually incurred. But that place was abandoned ; and had the operations of Farragut, in and just begun to cast new ones, adapted about the passes, gave unmistakable to his necds, as also to provide him- indications of the real point of danself with iron-clads, when confronted ger; so that the Rebel General's by a military necessity for leaving forces and means of annoyance were that part of the country.
mainly concentrated in and around Lovell, knowing far better than Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which, our commanders the essential weak- from opposite banks, command the ness of his position, and early warned passage of the river, 75 miles below of his danger by the gathering of our New Orleans. Beside these respectforces on Ship Island, seems to have able and regularly constructed fortexerted himself to the utmost. He resses of brick and earth, abundantly had fortified and guarded all the supplied with smooth-bore 24 and land approaches to the city; so that, 32-pounders, and a few better guns, though Gen. Butler's army, had it Lovell and his naval compatriots, advanced otherwise than by the Mis- after blocking up most of the water sissippi, would probably have carried approaches to New Orleans from the it, the cost in time, effort, and blood, Gulf with strongly-braced piles, green would doubtless have been far greater I live-oaks, and other obstructions, and
REBEL DEFENSES BELOW NEW ORLEANS.
calling on the Governor of Louisi- net result was more formidable in ana for 10,000 militia--receiving for appearance than in reality. And answer that there were but 6,000, of still the river kept on rising, until whom half had just been sent to Ten- nearly all the adjacent country was nessee, upon the requisition of Gen. submerged, becoming temporarily a Beauregard—and placing his de- part of the Gulf of Mexico. Even partment under martial law,' turned the parade-plain and casemates of their attention almost entirely to the Fort Jackson were from 3 to 18 lower Mississippi. It was high tine. inches under water, and its maga
A great raft, or boom, composed zines were only kept dry by incessant of cypress-trees 40 feet long and 4 to pumping. 5 feet through, standing 3 feet apart, Hollins had been superseded as and fastened to two great 21-inch naval commandant by Commodore chain-cables, had been stretched Whittie, whose fleet consisted of the across the river just under the guns new iron-clad Louisiana, mounting of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and 16 guns, many of them large and exmade fast to large trees, immense cellent, with Hollins's ram Manassas anchors, timbers, &c., imbedded as and 13 gunboats—that is, commerfirmly as possible; but the annual cial steamboats, impressed or lent for flood in the Mississippi, which com- this service, and armed and manned mences early in the year, had, by the as well as might be—with a number first of March, brought its surface of old sailing craft fitted up as fireconsiderably above the country out- ships, and very dangerous to wooden side of its levees, and piled against vessels attacking from below, by reathe obstructions a large amount of son of the uniform strength of the drift-wood; softening the earth and current. strengthening the current, until the Gen. J. K. Duncan, who had been anchors and other hold-fasts gave appointed by Lovell to the command way, and the raft, with its chains of the coast defenses, and had there. snapped and its timbers swept down upon repaired' to Fort Jackson, had stream, ceased to be an impediment. been working the garrisons of both But for the delays and disappoint- forts night and day, covering their ments which so sorely taxed Gen. main magazines with sand-bags; Butler's patience, it is likely that our which had been barely completed fleet would have found this their when our fleet hove in sight. Two most formidable antagonist. Lovell gunboats had appeared, reconnoiterat once sent down Col. Higgins to ing, four days before. repair it, clothed with the amplest. Ournaval force consisted of 47 armpowers; but the Father of Waters ed vessels, 8 of them large and powerrefused to recognize them. A new ful steam sloops-of-war; 17 heavily obstruction was patched up, com armed steam gunboats, 2 sailing posed of parts of the old raft, with sloops-of-war, and 21 mortar-schoonschooners anchored in the interstices, ers, each throwing a 215-pound shell. and all fastened together with such The steam sloops carried from 9 to chains as could be procured; but the 23 guns; the gunboats, 5 to 6 guns • Feb. 25, 1862. March 15, 1862.
20 March 27.
each ; the whole number of guns and undistinguishable, save by close obmortars was 310, many of them very servation, from the dense woods that heavy and very good. Capt. Farra- skirted the river. Fourteen of them gut, our commander, had passed 52 were ranged in line close under the of his 63 years in the navy, having wooded bank, over which they were been a midshipman in the war of to throw their shells into Fort Jack1812; a Tennessean, his loyalty was son, at distances of two to three of that stern and sterling quality miles. Six were stationed near the whereof the best examples were fur- farther or eastern bank, in full view nished by the South. His time, and of both forts, but within range only that of his officers, had for weeks been well spent in providing and preparing every thing likely to be required in the intended combat; so that when, on the day after our fleet reached the vicinity of the forts," and before it had opened fire, a Rebel flat-boat, piled with wood saturated with tar and turpentine, and then cut adrift, came rushing down the heady current-a crackling, roaring, flaming volcano_into the midst of our thickly clustering vessels, a few shells were thrown into it from the gunboat Mississippi, without the designed effect of exploding and sinking it; when a row-boat from the Iroquois quietly tackled it, fixed three grappling-irons in its bow, and towed it obliquely to the river bank, where it was permitted to burn itself harmlessly away, while the fleet proceeded with its preparations for the morrow's bombardment. Axes, ropes, fire-buckets, and whatever else might be needed, were placed exactly where they would be at hand when wanted, and every thing made ready for business.
At daylight next morning, each of the small steamers took four of the schooners in tow and drew them slowly up the river, their decks and yards covered with great branches of trees, whose green foliage rendered them
" April 17.
POSITION OF MORTAR BOATS
POSITION OF MORTAR BOATS
FORTS JACKBOX AND ST. PHILIP. Explanations.-A, B, C, D, &c., aro points on the left bank, and 1, 2, 3, 4, &c., points on the right bank of the river, selected for placing the gunboats and inortars in position. The position of tho mortar-boats on the 18th was as follows: 6 mortars on the left bank, between G and J, 8,900 to 4.500 yards from Fort Jackson : 14 mortars on the right bank, from 1 to 3, distant 2.830 to 8.190 yards from Fort Jackson. On the 19th, they were all on the right bank, 8,010 to 4,100 yards from Fort Jackson, and remained nearly in tho same position through tho 20th and 21st. The largo steamers and gunboats wero placed from 1 to 14 miles below the mortar-boats. On the first day, the small steam sloops and gunboats went up to abreast of the smoke-stack, where they engaged the forts and the enemy's steamers.
BOMBARDMENT OF FORTS JACKSON AND ST. PHILIP. 89
of Jackson, distant 24 to three miles; | Fort Jackson not being extinguished all were under orders to concentrate till 2 next morning. But its batteries their fire on Fort Jackson, that being opened as lively as ever at sunrise, the larger and more important work, and at 11:30 one of their rifled bolts whose fall necessarily involved that crashed through one of our schooners, of Fort St. Philip.
sinking her in 20 minutes; while the At 9 A. M., before our mortar vessels Oneida, in our advance, was twice were ready, Fort Jackson opened fire; hit in the afternoon, two of her gunbut her balls struck the water 100 carriages smashed, and 9 of her men yards short of our gunboat Owasco, wounded. The fort had evidently which held the advance, and which suffered by the day's work; but the was first to reply. Capt. Porter, who fathomless mud of the Mississippi commanded the mortar fleet, watched seemed exactly constituted to absorb through his glass the effect of our our shells, with the least possible very deliberate fire, constantly giving harm to all around. Gen. Butler new directions, founded on his ob- and staff arrived during that afterservations, as to the elevation of noon, and went up in a small boat to pieces, length of fuse, and weight of take a look at the chain; which, it charge. By 10 A. M., both parties had begun by this time to be underhad closed their experiments, and stood, was badly in the way, and were firing steadily and heartily, must be subjected to an operation. though as yet with little visible The bombardment having been effect, save that the fish in the river, continued through a third day with. stunned and killed by the tremendous out encouraging result, Capt. Farraconcussions, had begun to float past gut called a council of captains in our anchored vessels. Soon, three the cabin of his flag-ship Hartford, more rafts are seen sweeping down and, having heard all opinions, defrom the new barrier of chains and cided on an attempt to force a pashulks, and, as they approach, are sage by the forts. To this end, it dealt with as their predecessor had was essential that the cable should been, without interrupting the fire first be broken ; and to Capt. Bell, of our guns. At 4 P, M., Gen. But with the gunboats Pinola and Itasca, ler's little dispatch steamer Saxon supported by the Iroquois, Kennebec, arrived, with news that the army and Winona, was assigned the conwas below, ready and waiting for ser- duct of this critical undertaking; vice, and that the Monitor had dis- which, the night being dark, it was abled the Merrimac in Hampton determined to attempt forthwith; Roads. At 5, flames were seen and, at 10 P. M., the Pinola and bursting from Fort Jackson, whose Itasca had set out on their perilous fire slackened; and it was manifest errand ; Capt. Porter, so soon as they that its wooden interior had been were out of range of his guns, openignited, like that of Fort Sumter in ing upon Fort Jackson a tremendous the initial bombardment of the war. fire from all his mortar-schooners, The Rebel forts ceased firing, as our under which the Pinola ran up boats did, an hour later, and the toward the cable near the western night passed silently; the flames in shore, directly under the guns of the
fort ; prehl, the stard, the
fort; and, nearing one of the hulks, water and down into the kindly Mr. Kræhl, the inventor of a new darkness; each vessel entirely unand powerful petard, threw it on harmed: and the opening thus made board; but it failed to explode, be in the barrier was speedily and concause the Pinola, having stopped her stantly enlarged by the current, so engine a moment too soon, was that a boat's crew from the Itasca. whirled away on the rushing current, pulling up in the thick darkness two snapping the wire hitherto connected nights later, found nothing to obwith the petard. The wind blowing struct the upward passage of our fiercely from the north, it was half fleet. A new and grander fire-raft was an hour before the Pinola was again sent down two hours after the chains minding her helm, with her bow to- were broken, only to be caught and ward the chain.
served as her predecessors had been. Meanwhile, the Itasca, Captain The bombardment was continued Caldwell, had steamed up to the two days farther; in part, because chain-supporting hulk next in order two of our gunboats had been so eastward, and, making fast to its much injured as to require assistance side, her men, who had boarded for their rapid repair. The morning the hulk, were studying in the dark of the 24th was fixed on for the grand ness the economy of the cable. A attempt, of which the Rebel officers rocket thrown up from Fort Jackson somehow had an intimation; so that, favored them with a fitful, transient throughout the preceding day, the light, to which a cannonade, instantly forts were silently preparing for the opened on them from both forts, eventful hour at hand, while our seemed to add very little ; but they bombardment was little more than steadily went on with their business; a formality. Meantime, Duncan reand in half an hour the great chain, ported from Fort Jackson that he vigorously plied with sledge and had suffered very little, though chisel, had been cut; the cables 25,000 13-inch shells had been fired by which the hulk was anchored at him, whereof 1,000 had fallen had been slipped; and now the within the fort. (We had actually hulk, still chained to the nearer fired 5,000 only.) “God is certainly shore, was swept resistlessly round protecting us,” was his assurance. by flood and wind until it Farragut's arrangements for passgrounded in the mud of the bank, ing the forts were completed at sunpulling the lashed Itasca along with set.” The mortar-boats, retaining it, and driving her fast aground their stations, were to cover the directly in the range of both forts. advance with their utmost possible By this time, however, the Pinola was fire. Six small steamers—the Ilar. ready to come to her rescue ; and, riet Lane, Westfield, Owasco, Clinafter an hour of earnest tugging, and ton, Miami, and Jackson, the last parting two 5-inch hawsers, she towing the Portsmouth-were to finally grappled her with an 11-inch engage the water battery below Fort cable, and, by help of steam and cur- Jackson, but not attempt to pass. rent, dragged her again into deep Capt. Farragut himself, with his
13 April 23.