Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
FIGHTING FARRAGUT BELOW NEW ORLEANS.
THIS narrative will be occupied with the operations of the State and River Defense gun boats, 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, Manassas, and McRae, of the regular U. 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." The Louisiana 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 Manasses, and in a measure had tested her power. The Louisiana, 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.
The McRae, 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.
RIVER-SIDE INTERIOR OF FORT ST. PHILIP. FROM A PHOTOGRAPH.