Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 24, 1862

April 24, 1862:   Coastal Theater: New Orleans Campaign –BATTLE OF FT JACKSON AND FT ST PHILIP -After 2 PM, Farragut’s squadron starts upstream with 12 wooden warships, supported by the continued fire of Porter’s mortar boats. William C. Holton of the flagship Hartford records: “The forts, only three quarters of a mile apart, gave our ships shot and shell on both sides at once, while our ships sent back grape, canister, shrapnel, and shells, besides using our howitzers from our tops, where they had been mounted. On reaching the forts we were assailed by twenty of the enemy’s gunboats and rams, but we made short work of them, sinking some, and burning nearly all of them.” The Confederate mosquito fleet sorties to engage the Union ships as they sail upriver, between the forts. The CSS Louisiana, fixed at her moorings, engages the Federals with her guns. The CSS Manassasengages several Union vessels, and even rams the Hartford, without effect. A Rebel tug rams a fire raft up against the Hartford, burning the mizzen rigging before the Federals are able to stop the flames and shove the raft off. After one hour and twenty minutes, the Hartford and most of the river squadron are past the forts, beyond the range of their guns. Most have taken considerable damage. The CSS Manassas follows them, and the USS Mississippi turns about, and fires three close broadsides into the ironclad, whose thin armor does not protect her, and the Manassas drives herself aground and is abandoned by her crew. The Itasca is disabled by a shot through her boilers, and two Union vessels have drifted downstream because it is too close to dawn. The USS Varuna, after having sunk several Rebel ships, sustains severe damage and sinks after driving aground, with some of her crew escaping. By the end of the day, the fleet anchors at English Turn, downstream from the city of New Orleans. The two forts are now isolated, cut off from their lines of communication and supply. Gen. Benjamin Butler, commander of the 6,000 Federal troops on board transports, recommends landing the Army to attack the forts. Farragut disagrees.
Farragut's Squadron runs by the forts.
The evening before, Gen. Johnson Duncan, commander of the forts, had issued this dispatch:
A heavy continued bombardment was kept up all night and is still progressing. There have been no further casualties except two men slightly wounded. God is certainly protecting us. We are still cheerful, and have an abiding confidence in our ultimate success.–We are making repairs as best we can. Our best guns are still in working order. Most of them have been disabled at times. The health of the troops continues good. Twenty-five thousand 13 inch shells have been fired by the enemy, thousands of which fell in the fort. They must soon exhaust themselves.–If not, we can stand as long as they can.
Brig. Gen. J. K. Duncan,
Comd’g Fort Jackson.
---Fort Macon, North Carolina, near the port city of Beaufort, surrenders to troops under Gen. Burnside and naval forces under Flag Officer Goldsborough, after a long siege.

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