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few, mainly from Pensacola, when that place was abandoned; and had just begun to cast new ones, adapted to his needs, as also to provide himself with iron-clads, when confronted by a military necessity for leaving that part of the country.

Lovell, knowing far better than our commanders the essential weakness of his position, and early warned of his danger by the gathering of our forces on Ship Island, seems to have exerted himself to the utmost. He had fortified and guarded all the land approaches to the city; so that, though Gen. Diitler's army, had it advanced otherwise than by the Mississippi, would probably have carried it, the cost in time, effort, and blood, would doubtless have been far greater

than that actually incurred. But the operations of Farragut, in and about the passes, gave unmistakable indications of the real point of danger; so that the Rebel General's forces and means of annoyance were mainly concentrated in and around Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which, from opposite banks, command the passage of the river, 75 miles below New Orleans. Beside these respectable and regularly constructed fortresses of brick and earth, abundantly supplied with smooth-bore 21 and 32-pounder3, and a few better guii3, Lovell and his naval compatriot', after blocking up most of the water approaches to New Orleans from tin* Gulf with strongly-braced piles, green live-oaks, and other obstructions, and

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calling' on the Governor of Louisiana for 10,000 militia—receiving for answer that there were but 6,000, of whom half had just been sent to Tennessee, upon the requisition of Gen. Beauregard—and placing his department under martial law,' turned their attention almost entirely to the lower Mississippi. It was high time.

A great raft, or boom, composed of cypress-trees 40 feet long and 4 to 5 feet through, standing 3 feet apart, and fastened to two great 2£-inch chain-cables, had been stretched across the river just under the guns of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and made fast to large trees, immense anchors, timbers, &c, imbedded as firmly as possible; but the annual flood in the Mississippi, which commences early in the year, had, by the first of March, brought its surface considerably above the country outside of its levees, and piled against the obstructions a large amount of drift-wood; softening the earth and strengthening the current, until the anchors and other hold-fasts gave way, and the raft, with its chains snapped and its timbers swept down stream, ceased to be an impediment. But for the delays and disappointments which so sorely taxed Gen. Butlers patience, it is likely that our fleet would have found this their most formidable antagonist. Lovell at once sent down Col. Iliggins to repair it, clothed with the amplest powers; but the Father of Waters refused to recognize them. A new obstruction was patched up, composed of parts of the old raft, with schooners anchored in the interstices, and all fastened together with such chains as could be procured; but the

net result was more formidable in appearance than in reality. And still the river kept on rising, until nearly all the adjacent country was submerged, becoming temporarily a part of the Gulf of Mexico. Even the parade-plain and casemates of Fort Jackson were from 3 to 18 inches under water, and its magazines were only kept dry by incessant pumping.

Ilollins had been superseded as naval commandant by Commodore Whittle, whose fleet consisted of the new iron-clad Louisiana, mounting 1G guns, many of them large and excellent, with Hollins's ram Manassas and 13 gunboats—that is, commercial steamboats, impressed or lent for this service, and armed and manned as well as might be—with a number of old sailing craft fitted up as lireships, and very dangerous to wooden vessels attacking from below, by reason of the uniform strength of the current.

Gen. J. K. Duncan, who had been appointed by Lovell to the command of the coast defenses, and had thereupon repaired"1 to Fort Jackson, had been working the garrisons of both forts night and day, covering their main magazines with sand-bags; which had been barely completed when our fleet hove in sight. Two gunboats had appeared, reconnoitering, four days before.

Our naval force consisted of 47 armed vessels, 8 of them large and powerful steam sloops-of-war; 17 heavily armed steam gunboats, 2 sailing sloops-of-war, and 21 mortar-schooners, each throwing a 215-pound shell. The steam sloops carried from 9 to 28 guns; the gunboats, 5 to G guns each; the whole number of guns and mortars was 310, many of them very heavy and very good. Capt. Farragut, our commander, had passed 52 of his G3 years in the navy, having been a midshipman in the war of 1812; a Tennessean, his loyalty was of that stern and sterling quality whereof the best examples were furnished by the South. His time, and 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.

■Feb. 25, 1862. • March 15, 1862. M March 27.

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

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. C, n, &c. nro points on tho left points on the right bank of the

riYer, selected for placing the gunboats and mortars in position. The )>osuion of tho murlar-boats on the lath was as follows: C mortars on tho loft bank, between G and J, 8,900 to 4.500 yards from Fort Jackson; 14 mortars on the right bank, from 1 to B, distant 2.S30 to 8.150 vords from Fort Jackson. On tho 10th. they were nil on tho right bank, 8,010 to 4.100 yards from fort Jackson, and remained nearly in tho same position through the 20th and 21st Tho large steamers and gnnboats wero placed from { to 1 r miles below the mortar-boats. On the llrst day. tho small steam sloops and gunboats went np to abreast of the smoke-stack, where they engaged the forts and the enemy's steamers.

"April 17.


of Jackson, distant to three miles; all were under orders to concentrate their fire on Fort Jackson, that being the larger and more important work, whose fall necessarily involved that of Fort St. Philip.

At 9 A. M., before our mortar vessels were ready, Fort Jackson opened fire; but her balls struck the water 100 yards short of our gunboat Owasco, which held the advance, and which was first to reply. Capt. Porter, who commanded the mortar fleet, watched through his glass the effect of our very deliberate fire, constantly giving new directions, founded on his observations, as to the elevation of pieces, length of fuse, and weight of charge. By 10 A. M., both parties had closed their experiments, and were firing steadily and heartily, though as yet with little visible effect, save that the fish in the river, stunned and killed by the tremendous concussions, had bagun to float past our anchored vessels. Soon, three more rafts are seen sweeping down from the new barrier of chains and hulks, and, as they approach, are dealt vsjth as their predecessor had been, without interrupting the fire of our guns. At 4 p. M., Gen. Butler's little dispatch steamer Saxon arrived, with news that the army was below, ready and waiting for service, and that the Monitor had disabled the Merrimac in Hampton Roads. At 5, flames were seen bursting from Fort Jackson, whose fire slackened; and it was manifest that its wooden interior had been ignited, like that of Fort Sumter in the initial bombardment of the war. The Rebel forts ceased firing, as our boats did, an hour later, and the night passed silently; the flames in

Fort Jackson not being extinguished till 2 next morning. But its batteries opened as lively as ever at sunrise, and at 11:30 one of their rifled bolts crashed through one of our schooners, sinking her in 20 minutes; while the Oneida, in our advance, was twice hit in the afternoon, two of her guncarriages smashed, and 9 of her men wounded. The fort had evidently suffered by the day's work; but the fathomless mud of the Mississippi seemed exactly constituted to absorb our shells, with the least possible harm to all around. Gen. Butler and staff arrived during that afternoon, and went up in a small boat to take a look at the chain; which, it had begun by this time to be understood, was badly in the way, and must be subjected to an operation.

The bombardment having been continued through a third day without encouraging result, Capt. Farragut called a council of captains in the cabin of his flag-ship Hartford, and, having heard all opinions, decided on an attempt to force a passage by the forts. To this end, it was essential that the cable should first be broken; and to Capt. Bell, with the gunboats Pinola and Itasca, supported by the Iroquois, Kennebec, and Winona, was assigned the conduct of this critical undertaking; which, the night being dark, it was determined to attempt forthwith; and, at 10 p. M., the Pinola and Itasca had set out on their perilous errand ; Capt. Porter, so soon as they were out of range of his guns, opening upon Fort Jackson a tremendous fire from all his mortar-schooners, under which the Pinola ran up toward the cable near the western shore, directly under the guns of the fort; and, nearing one of the bulks, Mr. Krcehl, the inventor of a new and powerful petard, threw it on board; but it failed to explode, because the Pinola, having stopped her engine a moment too soon, was whirled away on the rushing current, snapping the wire hitherto connected with the petard. The wind blowing fiercely from the north, it was half an hour before the Pinola was again minding her helm, with her bow toward the chain.

Meanwhile, the Itasca, Captain Caldwell, had steamed up to the chain-supporting hulk next in order eastward, and, making fast to its side, her men, who had boarded the hulk, were studying in the darkness the economy of the cable. A rocket thrown up from Fort Jackson favored them with a fitful, transient light, to which a cannonade, instantly opened on them from both forts, seemed to add very little; but they steadily went on with their business; and in half an hour the great chain, vigorously plied with sledge and chisel, had been cut; the cables by which the hulk was anchored had been slipped; and now the hulk, still chained to the nearer shore, was swept resistlessly round by flood and wind until it grounded in the mud of the bank, pulling the lashed Itasca along with it, and driving her fast aground directly in the range of both forts. By this time, however, the Pinola was ready to come to her rescue; and, after an hour of earnest tugging, and parting two 5-inch hawsers, she finally grappled her with an 11-inch cable, and, by help of steam and current, dragged her again into deep

water and down into the kindly darkness; each vessel entirely unharmed: and the opening thus made in the barrier was speedily and constantly enlarged by the current, so that a boat's crew from the Itasc-a. pulling up in the thick darkness two nights later, found nothing to obstruct the upward passage of our fleet. A new and grander fire-raft was sent down two hours after the chains were broken, only to be caught and served as her predecessors had been.

The bombardment was continued two days farther; in part, because two of our gunboats had been so much injured as to require assistance for their rapid repair. The morning of the 24th was fixed on for the grand attempt, of which the Rebel officers somehow had an intimation; so that, throughout the preceding day, the forts were silently preparing for the eventful hour at hand, while our bombardment was little more than a formality. Meantime, Duncan reported from Fort Jackson that he had suffered very little, though 25,000 13-inch shells had been fired at him, whereof 1,000 had fallen within the fort. (We had actually fired 5,000 only.) "God is certainly protecting us," was his assurance.

Farragut's arrangements for passing the forts were completed at sunset." The mortar-boats, retaining their stations, were to cover the advance with their utmost possible fire. Six small steamers—the Harriet Lane, Westfield, Owasco, Clinton, Miami, and Jackson, the last towing the Portsmouth—were to engage the water battery below Fort Jackson, but not attempt to pass. Capt. Farragut himself, with his

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