Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 122
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 122
wrote Farragut next day “was one of the most awful sights and events I ever saw or expect to experience. The smoke was so dense that it was only now and then you could see anything but the flash of the cannon and the fire-ships on rafts.” The fire-rafts were immense flatboats piled loosely with wood twenty feet high and saturated with tar and resin, from which the flames rose a hundred feet into the air. 1 In the effort to avoid one of these, Farragut’s flag-ship, the Hartford, was run ashore, but a tug pushed the fire-raft alongside “and in a moment the Hartford was one blaze all along the port side half way up to the main and mizzen tops.” 2 Thinking it was all over with them, Farragut exclaimed, “My God is it to end in this way!” 3 But the fire department poured streams of water on the flames and put them out; at the same time the Hartford backed off and got clear of the raft. She was then opposite Fort St. Philip. The fierce fight continued and, at this time, if not before, the Confederate gunboats and two iron-clad rams took part in the contest; but most of these were destroyed. “At length the fire slackened,” wrote Farragut, “the smoke cleared off and we saw, to our surprise, that we were above the forts.” “We had a rough time of it,” was his word to Porter, “but thank God the number of killed and wounded was very small considering.” 4  59
  Thirteen of his little fleet were now assembled above the forts; four were missing, but only one had been sunk. Leaving two gunboats to protect the landing of the troops who were part of the expedition, he proceeded up the river to New Orleans, seeing on the way ships laden with burning cotton floating down-stream and other signs of the destruction of
Note 1. B. & L., II, 60. [back]
Note 2. O. R. N., XVIII, 154. [back]
Note 3. B. & L., II, 64; O. R. N., XVIII, 142. [back]
Note 4. O. R. N., XVIII, 142, 154; 37 were killed, 147 wounded. B. &. L., II, 73. [back]


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