daylight, the firing from the Harriet Lane slacking first. At this time two rebel gunboats, one partially burned and sunk, appeared close by the Harriet Lane, and two more, one a ram, covered with a roof plated with bars of iron resembling railroad iron, and another, a Mississippi steamboat, shielded by cotton to the height of 25 feet or more, the top covered thickly with sharpshooters, were lying directly opposite our vessel, heading toward the wharf, and one other Mississippi boat, some 2 miles farther up the bay, was coming down.
It proved that the Harriet Lane had been carried by boarding, her captain, Wainwright, killed, her first lieutenant, Lea, mortally wounded, and all her men and officers either killed or taken prisoners, some 130 in number. Soon the Owasco and Clifton, gunboats, raised white flags, and Captain Law started in his boat from the Clifton to the Westfield, and had an interview with Commander Renshaw. Our vessel, the Mary Boardman, was then alongside the Westfield, having endeavored to haul her-off. As soon as Captain Law left for his own vessel Commander Renshaw sent an officer to us saying that he was going to blow up the Westfield, and requesting us to assist in taking off her men and whatever could be saved. I remonstrated with this officer that it was unnecessary, and that the whole force could lie by and protect the Westfield until the tide turned [which was then running out], when she would float and we could save her, and as she was heavily armed and of light draught she was invaluable. I also requested the commander to come on board. This remonstrance was repeated to every officer that came to my vessel with men. We received on board the men and their baggage, with the property of the ship, until our decks would hold no more, and the rest was placed on the transport Saxon.
At about 10 a.m., while the commander's boat and crew and second cutter and crew were at the Westfield to receive the last men the commander, having poured turpentine over the forward magazine and just over where she was aground, set her on fire with his own hand. He stepped down into his boat, in which were First Lieutenant Zimmermann, Chief Engineer Greene, and two oarsmen. The magazine immediately exploded, tearing the bow of the vessel open and blowing her to pieces to the water's edge and back to the smoke-stack.
After the explosion no living thing could be seen. She did not sink, being aground; and her guns aft, which were double-shotted and run out, as the flames should reach them, threatened us, at the short distance we were from her, with destruction, which might have been foreseen when she was fired.
Acting Sailing-Master Smalley took charge of us as pilot and we started for the bar. It was evident that we could not get over with what we had on board, and we threw overboard everything on deck except what belonged to the men of the Westfield. We went over the bar, striking very heavily, followed by the Saxon, two small schooners, the Clifton, Owasco, and Sachem, bunboats, leaving the harriet Lane in the hands of the rebels, with two barks loaded with coal, and one small schooner.
All the men of the Forty-second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers who were on shore, except the adjutant, were killed or taken prisoners; he escaped in a small boat. No attempt was made by the officers of any of the gunboats to communicate with the city, and no effort to obtain the wounded or to learn who were killed or who wounded in any way. Captain Law, who was the senior officer, ordered the men on board our vessels to New Orleans. Before starting I informed him that the trans