|Bombardment of Port Hudson, March 14, 1863.|
(Library of Congress)
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 19, Pages 704-705.
|Major General Franklin Gardner|
(Library of Congress)
Port Hudson, La., March 18, 1868
Colonel: I have the honor to make the following report of the engagement at the post during the night of the 14th instant with the enemy's fleet:
During the day of the 14th the enemy advanced with his entire force, two divisions by the Bayou Sara road and one by the direct road to Clinton, and moved his fleet up the river to within sight but out of range. At 2 o'clock p.m. he commenced bombardment slowly from his mortar boats at long range, and gradually increasing the range until he threw his shells within the lower part of the breastworks. This was continued until 6, without producing any other result than continued cheers from the men as his shells exploded. During the day Rust's pickets (his brigade being in advance of the breastworks) skirmished successfully with the enemy advance. At 11 o'clock at night the fleet moved up, intending to pass seven vessels by, but were discovered immediately on starting by the signal corps on the opposite side of the river, who sent up signal rockets, and Rust's light batteries at Troth's opened on them.
The enemy immediately commenced bombarding from his mortar boats and firing from all his vessels as he came in range. They advanced in the following order, as has been ascertained from prisoners: Steamship Hartford (flagship), with Kineo [Albatross] (not Monongahela, as was reported) lashed on far side; steamship Richmond, gunboat, Genesee, gunboat Monongahela, steamship Mississippi, gunboat, Sachem, another not known, ironclad Essex (remaining at long range), and six mortar boats towed above the point. While passing up all opened their broadsides as rapidly as possible. Rust's two field batteries at Troth's Landing first received this tremendous firing, but strange to say without any harm, although the batteries kept up this unequal contest until the last. Next was Mile's 20-pounder Parrott gun, which was beautifully served; and then followed the heavy guns, first of De Gournay's battalion and next the First Tennessee Artillery under De Gournay's command; next the battery served by four companies of Colonel Steedman's First Alabama Regiment, the remaining companies of their regiment being posted on the bluff as sharpshooters, but unfortunately the enemy did not come in near this bank until after passing them.
The five steamboats which had brought provisions from Red River were unloading until the morning of the battle and got underway in time of escape. The enemy's fleet advanced boldly, but were handsomely received by our batteries. The Hartford, with the gunboat lashed to her, only succeeded in passing a little before 12; all the rest of the fleet were driven back and evidently much damaged. The Mississippi was burned immediately opposite, and the Richmond driven back after she had reached the Point.
I regret to state that Captain Youngblood and perhaps four others have been captured on the other side of the river.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel J. R. Waddy,
|Diagram of the Port Hudson attack, March 14, 1863|
(Official Records. . . Navies, Vol. 19, 669)