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190

DESTRUCTION OF THE “NASHVILLE."

A greater

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motion, killing the Confederate commander, Major Harrison. portion of the Confederates escaped to the woods and joined a detachment stationed at the railroad bridge at Coosaw hatchie, toward which Barton pushed. He found superior numbers strongly posted on his front, with three guns, when he, too, retreated to his boats, feebly pursued. The expedition returned to IIilton Head, with a loss of about three hundred men. The Confederate loss was about the same. Very little was done in the Department of the South (over which Hunter

resumed command after the death of Mitchel) during the suc

ceeding winter,“ toward attempting to capture Charleston, excepting preparations such, as it was believed, would surely lead to success. Other important movements were made in that Department, all tending to cripple the resisting power of the Confederates, who were now in a defensive attitude there. One of these occurred near Fort McAllister' a few miles up the Ogeechee River from Ossabaw Sound, where the Confederate warsteamer Nashville, a former blockade-runner,' was lying under the guns of

the fort, watching an opportunity to slip out to sea. Late in

February,' a squadron of " monitors” and mortar-vessels were at the mouth of the Ogeechee, where Commander J. L. Worden had been for some time, with the monitor Montauk, watching the Nashville. He finally

discovered that she was aground, just above the fort, and on the

following morning he proceeded with the Montauk, followed by the Seneca, Wissahickon, and Dawn, to destroy her. Unmindful of torpedoes and the heavy guns of the fort, Worden pushed by the latter unharmed by either, and when within twelve hundred yards of the Nashville he opened upon her with twelve and fifteen-inch shells. The gun-boats could not pass the fort, but fired upon the doomed ship at long range. Not more than twenty minutes had elapsed, after worden opened his guns, before she was in flames. One of his shells had exploded within her, setting her on fire. One after the other of her heavy guns were exploded by the heat, and then her magazine blew up, and she was reduced to the total wreck delineated on page 327 of volume II. Shells from the fort struck the Montauk five times, but did no damage; and when she dropped down the river a torpedo exploded under her, but injured her a very little. The destruction of the Nashville was effected without the loss of a man.

Worden's success determined Dupont to try the metal of the monitors and mortar-boats upon Fort McAllister. They went up the Ogeechee on the 3d of March, the Passaic, Commander Drayton, leading. The obstructions in the river would not allow her to approach nearer the fort than twelve hundred yards. The others were still farther off, and the mortarboats were the most remote. The Passaic, Patapsco, and Nahant opened fire at a little past eight o'clock in the morning, and kept it up until four in

° Feb. 27.

a

1 This was a strong earth-work built by the Confederates for the blockade of the Ogeechee, and to protect the railway bridge that spans it about ten miles south of Savannah.

? See note 8, page 810, volume II.

* These consisted of the Passaic, Montauk, Ericsson, Patapsco, and Nahant, all monitors; three mortar-vessels, and gun-boats Seneca, Wissahickon, and Dawn.

• A little earlier than this, the Monitor, the first of the turreted iron-clad vessels, which Worden commanded in her conflict with the Merrimack, was lost off Cape Hatteras. She was then in charge of Commander Bankhead, and was in tow of a side-wheel steamer, making her way to Port Royal. She foundered in a gale on the night of the 30th of December, and went to the bottom of the sea with some of her crew,

RAID ON A BLOCKADING SQUADRON.

191

March 4,

1863.

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2

Jan. 31.

the afternoon, when the mortar-boats began throwing a shell every fifteen
minutes, and kept it up until next morning. Then Drayton went
up as near the fort as possible with the Passaic, for observation,
shielded from the guns by the turret of his vessel. He was satis-
fied that further efforts to drive out the Confederates would be useless, and
the enterprise was abandoned.'

A little earlier than this the Nationals lost the steamer Isaac Smith, Act-
iny Lieutenant Conover, while reconnoitering near Charleston. She went
up the Stono River, some miles beyond Legareville, without molestation, but
when she was within a mile of that place, on her return, three masked bat-
teries opened a cross fire upon her at a bend in the stream, when she was
captured and sent to Charleston. On the following morning another blow
was given to National vessels. The Confederates at Charleston had been
informed that the two larger ships of the blockading fleet lying off the
bar (Powhatan and Canandaigua) had gone to Port Royal to coal, so two
Confederate armored gun-boats, of the “ram" class (Palmetto State, Captain
Ingraham,' and Chicora, Captain Tucker), went out before day-
light' and in a shrouding haze, to strike the weaker National
vessels then watching the harbor entrances. Softly they stole over the bar,
when the Palmetto State, acting as a ram, struck the Mercidita, Captain
Stellwagen, with full force, amidships, and at the same time fired a 7-inch
rifled shell into her side, that went crashing through her machinery, releasing
steam that scalded many men, and so completely disabling her that she
could neither fight nor fly. The victor then attacked the Keystone State,
Captain Le Roy, and sent a shell into her forehold, setting it on fire.
As soon

as the flames were put out, Le Roy attempted to run down his antagonist (the Keystone State having a full head of steam), but was foiled by a huge shot sent by the Palmetto State, which went through both steam-chests of his vessel, and so utterly disabled her that, like the Mercidita, she was surrendered. Ten rifled shelis had struck her, and two of them had burst on her deck. 3

Day was now dawning, and the remainder of the blockading squadron, wide awake, dashed into the fight," when the Memphis towed the Keystone out of danger. The assailants then retreated toward Charleston, where Beauregard, then in command there, and Ingraham, “flag-officer commanding naval forces of South Carolina," proclaimed, without the shadow of truth, the blockade of Charleston “to be raised by a superior force of the Confederate States.” Not a single vessel of the blockading squadron had been lost, for the Confederates did not make the Mercidita a prize by putting men on board of her, and the Keystone State was saved by her friends. In the face of these facts, the raising of the blockade was falsely announced, for effect abroad, and the British consul at Charleston and the commander of

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1 The earth-works of the fort were very little damaged, and only one of its nine great guns was dismounted. This was effected by one of the 15-inch shells, which weighed 345 pounds. No man was killed on either side, and only one wounded. This engagement is sometimes called The BATTLE OF GENESIS Point.

2 Duncan N. Ingraham, formerly a useful officer of the National Navy, who had abandoned his flag and given his services to the Conspirators.

3 The Mercidita had three men killed and four wounded. The Keystono State had twenty men killed, chiefly by the steam, and twenty wounded.

• The Augusta, Quaker City, Memphis, and Housatonic 6 Pemberton had been ordered to Mississippi.

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192

PREPARATIONS TO ATTACK CHARLESTON.

CHARLESTON.

the British ship Petrel there, hastened to attest the truth of the proclama tion. Judah P. Benjamin, the Confederate “Secretary of State,” issued a

circular to “the foreign consuls in the Confederacy," reiterating the misrepresentation, saying to each, this is “for the information of such vessels of your nation as may choose to carry on commerce with the now open port of Charleston.” The mendacity of Benjamin and his fellow-conspirators was then so well known, that no vessel was decoyed into an open attempt to enter Charleston harbor, which was continually watched by a competent blockading squadron. As usual, the venturesome blockade-runners crept in under cover of fog and night.

This movement determined the GovernBEAUREGARD'S HEAD-QUARTERS IN ment to proceed at once to the task of captur

ing Charleston. A strong naval force had been prepared under the direction of Admiral Dupont; and General Halleck ordered Foster to leave North Carolina at once with a greater portion of his corps (the Eighteenth) and go to the assistance of the naval commander. Foster promptly obeyed, and sailed from Beaufort, North Carolina, on the 2d of February, with twelve thousand men, mostly veterans. On his arrival at Hilton Head, he found that General Hunter, the commander of the Department, had received no notice from Halleck of his order to Foster, and regarded the movement as intrusive. Difficulty ensued. Foster, not finding Dupont at Port Royal, went to Fortress Monroe for siege-guns, when Hunter took command of the newly-arrived troops, broke up their corps organization, and incorporated them with his own. Foster, at his own request, was allowed to retire to his Department, leaving his troops as re-enforcements for Hunter, who now had an apparently competent force to make a speedy conquest of Charleston.

February and March were spent in the final preparations by Dupont. The appointed place of rendezvous for his vessels was at the mouth of the North Edisto River, well up toward Charleston; and as fast as they were prepared at Hilton Head," each was sent quietly to that point, where they were all assembled, to the number of fourteen, at the beginning of April. On the

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1 This is a view of the fine brick building, No. 40 Broad Street, occupied by Beauregard as his head-quarters at that time.

? For the purpose of saving to the service the time spent by vessels of the blockading squadron in going North for repairs, Admiral Dupont established a floating machineshop in Station Creek, near Hilton Head, where such work was done. He took two of the whale-ships which were sent down with the “Stone fleet" (sce page 128, volume I.), placed them side by side, and on one of them had a sort of house buiit, in which a steam-ergine was put, with all the requisite machinery to be driven by it. The building was properly divided for different operations, as in ordinary machine-shops, such as pattern-room, boiler-makers' room, with heavy forges, brass-founders' room, &c. On the other vessel were furnaces, a store-house, and quarters for “contrabands." This establishment, represented in the annexed engraving, was bet

Pau Tu up by W. B. Coggswell, the master mechanic. 3 The vessels consisted of nine “monitors " and five armored gun

FLOATING MACHINE-BHOP.

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THE DEFENSES OF CHARLESTON.

193

KEOKUK on THE WAYS.

night of Sunday, the 5th, in the light of a full moon, the air calm and serene, Dupont anchored his fleet off Charleston bar, himself

* April, 1868. on board the James Adger, in which he had come up from Port Royal. Already, during the afternoon, Commander Rhind, with the Keokuk, assisted by Mr. Boutelle, of the Coast Survey, commanding the Bibb, Ensign Platt, and pilots of the squadron, had buoyed the bar and arranged guides; and at dawn the next morning,

April 6. the monitor squadron moved over it, leaving the gun-boats, under the general command of Captain Green, outside the bar, as a “squadron of reserve,” to assist in an attack on Morris Island, should one be made. Dupont had now transferred his flag from the Adger to the New Ironsides, from which he intended to direct the movements of his squadron, and in which he determined to share in the labors and dangers of the impending conflict.

The works around Charleston harbor to be attacked were numerous and formidable. Along its northern margin, and commanding its channels, were five of them, the first being on the outward extremity of Sullivan's Island, guarding Maffit's Channel. The next, near the Moultrie House, on the same island, was a strong sand battery, called Fort Beauregard. Fort Moultrie, a little farther westward, had been greatly strengthened since the beginning of the war; and near it, on the western end of Sullivan's Island, was a strong earth-work called Battery Bee. On the main, at Mount Pleasant, near the mouth of Cooper River, was a heavy battery; and in front of the city, about a mile from it, was old Castle Pinckney, which had been strengthened by banking earth against its walls on the outside. In the channel, between Sullivan's and Morris Islands, stood Fort Sumter, the most formidable of all the works to be assailed, grimly guarding the entrance to the inner harbor. On the southern side of the harbor, near the city, was the Wappoo Battery, on James's Island, which commanded the mouth of the Ashley River. Next to this was Fort Johnson; and between it and Castle Pinckney was Fort Ripley, constructed on a submerged sand-bank, called the “ Middle Ground,” of heavy timber, and armed with large guns. It was

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boats. The names of the monitors and their respective commanders were as follows: Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers; Passaic, Captain Percival Drayton; Montauk, Commander John L. Worden; Patapsco, Commander Daniel Ammen; New Ironsides, Commander Thomas Turner; Cattskill, Commander George W. Rodgers; Nantucket, Commander Donald M. Fairfax; Nahant, Commander John Downes, and Keokuk, Lieutenant-Commander Alexander C. Rhind. The gun-boats were the Canandaigua, Captain Joseph H. Green; Housatonic, Captain Wm. R. Taylor; Unadilla, Lieutenant-Commander S. P. Quackenbush; Wissahickon, Lieutenant-Commander J. G. Davis; Huron, Lieutenant-Commander G. A. Stevens.

1 The Keokuk was a double-turreted vessel, which had lately been built at New York. The turrets were immovable, the guns being arranged so as to be pivoted from one port-hole to the other. She was both a monitor ," and a “ram," of smaller dimensions than the monitor" first constructed by Ericsson. ? See map of Charleston harbor on page 157, volume I.

3 See page 128, volume I. VOL. III.-91

194

OBSTRUCTIONS IN CHARLESTON HARBOR.

MIDDLE GROUND BATTERY.

PIECE OF CHAIN.

sometimes called the Middle-Ground Battery. On Cummings's Point of
Morris Island was Battery Gregg, and about a mile south of it, com-
manding the main channel, was a very strong and extensive work, called

Fort Wagner. A little farther south, at
Light-House inlet, which divides Folly
and Morris Islands, was a battery that
commanded the landing-place there. On
these works several hundred guns were
mounted, a large portion of them of En-
lish manufacture. Further to protect the
city, the southerly channel of the inner
harbor was obstructed by several rows of

piles, one of them having an open space
that might invite a vessel to enter, but to perish in the attempt, for under
the water, at the threshold of that open door, was a mine containing five
thousand pounds of gunpowder. Besides these, there were chains composed
of linked railway-iron, to obstruct channels; and there
lay, between Forts Sumter and Moultrie, a heavy
rope buoyed up by empty casks, and bearing a per-
fect tangle of nets, cables, and other lines, below,
attached to torpedoes, chiefly of the form shown in the engraving,' the
whole kept in place by anchors of peculiar form, represented in the
cut. These torpedoes were prepared for explosion, by means of electricity
transmitted through wires from batteries at Forts Sumter and Moultrie.
The harbor and its approaches were also sown with torpedoes,

one kind of which, represented in
the engraving, was supplied with
a head, filled with detonating pow-
der, from which radiated tubes.
When

any of these were struck, an

explosion was produced by means
of the percussion powder. Such were some of the contrivances for obstruct-
ing Charleston harbor—such were the fortifications which have been alluded

to, against which the squadron of Dupont was arrayed on a bright
and balmy day in early April, 1863.

Dupont intended to move up the main ship-channel, immediately
after crossing the bar, to an attack on Fort Sumter, without return-
ing any fire that might be opened on Morris Island. But a thick
haze that spread over land and water, just after sunrise, obscured
the more distant guides for the pilots, and the squadron lay quietly

within the bar, in the main ship-channel, until little past April 7,

noon the next day," when it advanced in a prescribed

manner of“ line ahead,” the Weehawken, Captain Rodgers, leading, the others following in the order named in note 3, page 192. “The ships will open fire on Sumter," ran Dupont's directions, “when within easy range, and will take up a position to the northward and westward of

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TORPEDO.

TORPEDO ANCHOR

TORPEDO.?

1863.

1 These were made of common barrels, with solid pointed ends of palmetto wood, and filled with gunpowder.

2 The upper half of this torpedo was an empty hollow cone of tin, that aeted as a buoy for the lower hall, which was a mine containing about twenty ponnds of gunpowder.

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