War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0321 THE MOBILE CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

and pickets at request of general commanding. Our ammunition nearly exhausted. Sent requisition in time for our necessities, but owing to some untoward event could not get it. Received communication from General Liddell urging me to take position on the left flank of General Gibson at once for the purpose of protecting it, and throwing out launches in direction of Bay Minette, protecting our telegraphic communication with Spanish Fort, &c. This was received after dark. I hald already sent two armed boats on this service. At 11.45 p.m. I anchored the ship near Tracy. April 7, underway at daylight and anchored off Blakely to procure ammunition. Received in the forenoon partially damaged, particularly the fuses. Sent two largest boats at sunset to General Liddell armed. Returned to Tracy at sunset and sent picket-boat to Minette Bay. Launch returned from secret service during the night. Sent her at midnight to report to General Gibson at Spanish Fort. April 8, underway at daylight; proceeded to Blakely, and thence to junction of Raft and Upper Tensas Rivers at request of commanding general. At 7 a.m. heavy firing of artillery and small-arms all along the lines at Blakely. At 8 opened upon the enemy's right in conjunction with Morgan and Huntsville. About 2 p.m. the enemy opened upon us from batteries masked by the trees at about 1,600 yards. We could only direct our fire by their smoke. The Morgan was obliged soon to retire much damaged. The Nashville continued the action until she had exhausted all her 12-pounder cartridges and fuses of required length. Although not struck by a single projectile, their fire being principally directed at the Morgan, I deemed it prudent to retire for the purpose of procuring and arranging ammunition. We fired this day seventy 7-inch shells. Anchored at 7 o'clock off Blakely. At the request of General Maury the ship was moved after dark to Tracy and boats sent to Spanish Fort to report to General Gibson. At 9 I received a communication from Major Marks informing me of the evacuation of Spanish Fort and asking assistance. Sent every available boat and got under way, placing the ship between Huger and Tracy to cover the troops on the treadway and in the marsh, and to offer her as a target to the enemy's batteries. Some shots were fired by them, but, I believe, without injury to the troops after leaving the mainland. I did not return this fire for reason that the garrison were passing between us and near the ship, and also that I feared to fire our shells over our men because of the frequent crushing of shells by the concussion of discharge. I will here remark that very many of the shells of 7-inch Brooke were broken at moment of discharge, and the fragments fell like canister or grape from 50 to 500 yards off. Many others failed to take the rifle motion and became mere "tumblers," of course falling far short of the desired aim. Also many fuses failed to burn. Hence it is not strange that I should report our firing during the whole of these operations, but particularly to-day at Blakely, much inferior to that of the enemy, the accuracy of whose projectiles, both in flight and fuse, was the admiration of all who witnessed it. The better to insure the rifle motion I used some 14-pound charges, but I found the forward carriages would not stand it. The bushing in vent of after gun was blown out this morning whilst in action. It had been cut too short in the first instance at foundry. After some trouble I had it secured in its place, though a little below the exterior surface of the gun. April 9, after seeing the garrison safely removed from the eastern bank of the river, which was effected before daylight, the Nashville was anchored off Blakely in the entrance of Tensas, where she remained during the day waiting for ammunition, as she had but few shells on