War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0407 Chapter LI. OPERATIONS IN MOBILE BAY, ALA.

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a rebel heart was filled with curses upon it. It may be remarked that fleets can generally choose their times for forcing harbor entrances. That the breeze of that morning, carrying as it did the smoke of our broadsides directly into the yes of the fort, impaired materially the efficiency of its fire at close quarters, and accounted to a great extent for the remarkably small amount of damage received by the fleet, cannot admit of a question.

The first order of battle was formed before dawn. The second and THIRD successively between dawn and sunrise, and at sunrise the fleet was passing Sand Island as laid down in my sketch. The Tecumseh and Manhattan has orders to deliver one round upon the water batteries and then make for an engage the ram Tennessee. The others were all to deliver as many broadsides as they could while passing, using grape and canister freely, and then to engage the rebel fleet generally. The leading couple of wooden ships (Brooklyn and consort) reaching a point at two miles and a half from the fort, the latter opened fire and fired steadily from about fifteen guns, as nearly as I could make out, as long as these guns had anything in their field. I watched narrowly but did not see a single shot take effect. The admiral afterward informed me that none of his ships received any damage whatever from this enfilading fire. This seems remarkable in face of the fact that the rebels had practiced a great deal with these same guns upon th and a half preceding, often throwing shot beyond Sand Island. My confidence in enfilading views of channel approaches was somewhat shaken. The inaccuracy may have been in part due to the wind across the field of fire. The gallant little Tecumseh moved steadily forward, delivered its fire directly into the first shore battery, and proceeded onward, not feeling the terrific fire aimed at her, in quest of the Tennessee. We were beginning to ask what had become of the boasted torpedoes when she went down at the point A, (see sketch) instantaneously, like a lead, her bottom stove in by a torpedo. The Manhattan passed unhurt. The Winnebago and Chickasaw, on getting abreast of the fort, nearly, sheared in, forming a second line, and opened an enfilading fire on the shore batteries. Arrived within half a mile of the fort the wooden vessels, which had hitherto approached with screws alone, set their paddle-wheels in motion and crowded all speed. The sinking of the Tecumseh scarcely checked them. they rode gallantly by, delivering their fire as per programme. When about half the wooden vessels had passed, the Winnebago and Chickasaw moved on, and by about 7 o'clock the whole fleet, except Tecumseh, was safely beyond the range of the fort's guns. The only ship that suffered by the rankin fire of the fort after the change of course at B (see sketch) was the screw ship Oneida, of the last couple. She was raked fore and aft and had her boilers punctured. This result was undoubtedly due to the admiral's tactics above alluded to. I confess my faith in enfilading views of channels have received another shock. Fleets can generally choose their own tactics in running by batteries. At one time, when our fleet was in such a position as to bring itself, the fort, and the rebel fleet nearly all simultaneously into action, the cannonading from so many heavy guns was terrific and grand almost beyond conception.

The fleet being inside, the coupled ships were immediately unlashed, when the ram Tennessee came up and the final engagement with her commenced. This the admiral describes as having been "terrific," adding that his "ships suffered more from this engagement than in passing the fort. " All our fleet that could get at her attacked. She was