Numbers 6. Report of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Frederick Crocker, U. S. Navy.*
September 12, 1863.
SIR: By permission of the provost-marshal-general of Texas, I have the honor to make a concise report concerning the capture of the Clifton and Sachem, and the failure of our attack on the fort at Sabine, passing the failure of the Granite City to anchor off the bar and show the concerted signal, whereby we lost the advantage of surprise, and other failures.
On the night of the 7th instant, the whole fleet anchored off the bar, and at daylight the next morning I crossed the barr in the Clifton to reconnoiter. I found a cotton-clad gunboat, and a very strong looking battery situated where i expected to find it, and, after attempting to draw their fire without success, fell back, and signalized for the whole fleet to cross the bar, which was done.
I then went on board General Franklin's ship to arrange for the attack, which was finally decided as follows: While the Clifton was shelling the battery with short-fuse shells, the Sachem and Arizona were to advance up the Louisiana channel, and thus compel the enemy to change the training of his guns, when the Clifton was to advance rapidly up the Texas channel, and endeavor to obtain a position near enough to the battery to enable the sharpshooters to pick off the enemy's gunners. The Granite City was to start with the Clifton, and, following her up the Texas channel, take up a position just above the Old Battery, and cover the landing of troops at that place from the transport General Banks, which troops were to advance rapidly up the bank toward the enemy, and support the Clifton, should she, as was expected, ground near the battery.
It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon before General Franklin was ready to co-operate, by which time the smoke of several steamers was discovered coming down the lake.
The arrangement of the army being at last completed, the Clifton took up her position in the Texas channel, and began to shell the enemy. The Sachem started up the Louisiana channel, followed by the Arizona, and, after grounding slightly, entered the channel fairly, and joined in the action as they moved up. The Granite City and the General Banks, with their anchors up, lay ready to follow. At the second discharge from the enemy's guns, the Clifton, with a full head of steam, steamed rapidly up the Texas channel toward the battery. When the Clifton was about half-way up to the battery, O noticed with great surprise that the Granite City and the General Banks wee still lying, drifting across the tide, making no attempt to follow. At the same time a shot, from the enemy struck the Sachem's boiler, disabling her instantly and silencing her fire; but, depending upon the support of all the others, the Clifton, kept on her course. In a short time, however, her wheel rope was shot away, and she grounded sooner than was expected, and in such a position that only there of her guns cloud bear on the battery; and with three we kept up the fight, making every effort to get the vessel afloat; but before we succeeded, a shot passed though her boiler and machinery, disabling her completely.
Until this time every man stood to his post, and the fight was progressing
*Found in the files of the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.