War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0454 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

on either side of her, the smaller vessels bringing up the rear. They numbered eighteen vessels, all told. The Tennessee (flag- ship), Admiral Buchanan commanding, ranged ahead of us and fired the first gun, the steamer Gaines firing the second from her forward pivot gun, the greatest elevation being 2,000 yards. At 6. 35 the leading monitor sank off the water battery of the fort. They closed up and passed between the two buoys that mark the main channel to the bay. Up tot his time they had not fired a shot at the Confederate squadron. Soon after we ranged up to within 1,000 yards and centered our fire on the hartford and the three-masted vessel immediately in her rear. Soon after the Morgan and Selma ranged ahead of us on our starboard bows and also opened on the Hartford. The whole fleet's fire seemed to be centered on these three ships. At this time the Tennessee stood for the enemy's fleet and separated them, pouring in a heavy fire. We soon ranged up within 750 yards of the Hartford, the least elevation that the guns of the after DIVISION was fired. About fifteen minutes after the Selma and Morgan hauled off and stood up the bay and then across in the direction of Navy Cove. At this time all the enemy's guns within range of the steamer Gaines were centered on her. M. Vincent, second loader of Numbers 2 gun, was the killed by a solid shot that struck the rail abaft the dead-eye of the after shroud. We stood the enemy's fire at this range for about twenty-five minutes, when it was reported to me that the ship was making water fast from a shell which had entered her under her counter on the port quarter. I immediately informed my captain (Bennett) of the fact. The Gaines hauled off after having four feet and a half of water in her after hold, but still continued to fire from her after pivot gun. The last three shots struck the Hartford's hull between the fire and main channels. Captain Bennett finding he could not save his ship, as the water was gaining rapidly, headed her for the shore about one mile and a half from Fort Morgan and beached her, her stern settling down in two fathoms water.

We lost in killed 2 men (M. Vincent, seaman, D. Aherne, second gunner, both belonging to the after DIVISION) and 4 men wounded.

The Gaines received seventeen shots through her. One shot cut the dingy in two that was run up to the stern davits. We fired from the pivot gun twenty-two percussion shell and eight wrought-iron bolt; from the broadside rifle (32-pounder), twenty percussion shell; from 32-pounder smooth-bore, eight 5-second shell. Midshipman Phillips, commanding broadside guns, served them with good effect.

As far as I could see the men behaved themselves well and worked their guns well. Gunner Offutt remained in the magazine until all the powder was saved on deck and the water up to the magazine scuttle.

After the ship was beached everything portable was landed that could be got at; also the remaining ammunition, muskets, and cutlasses.

At 12 m. left the ship and landed on the breach, the water at that time being half way up to her spar-deck aft. Officers and crew remained ashore until 8 p. m., when they embarked for Mobile in the captain's gig, Tennessee's launch, and first cutter, Gaines' launch, first cutter and second cutter.

At 8 a. m. August 6 arrived off Mobile; transferred officers and crew to the receiving ship; so ends this report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding THIRD DIVISION, Steamer Gaines.