Saturday, November 19, 2011

The "Turtle" Goes to War-- Part 2

In the predawn hours of October 12th, Hollins led his small fleet downriver from New Orleans to engage the Union ships. Lt. Alexander Warley led the way in the Manassas with orders to ram the Union flagship USS Richmond.

In addition, tugs towed three fire rafts. As they approached the federal ships, the fleet stopped and they were tied together. Once the action started, they were to be set on fire, released and allowed to float toward the enemy with the current.

The Union fleet, under Captain John Pope, was caught completely bu surprise. The USS Preble was shocked into action as the Manassas passed by within twenty yards, cruising at maximum speed, 10 knots and headed for the Richmond. The Preble warned the Richmond and got off a couple shots before the Confederate ship slipped off into the darkness.

The Richmond opened fire as the Manassas glanced off a coal barge tied alongside the ship and then rammed it in the forward port side, cracking timbers below the waterline. The Manassas backed out, but one engine had been knocked loose and the two smokestacks had been destroyed.

The Richmond fired off rockets for the rest of the fleet to engage.

No longer maneuverable, the Manassas was run aground.

More to Come. --Old B-R'er

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