Harriet Lane

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“Daring and desperate attack- surprise and capture of the United States gunboat Harriet Lane by the Confederates under General Magruder, and destruction of the flagship Westfield, in Galveston Harbor, Tex., January 1st, 1863. About two o’clock in the morning of January 1st, 1863, the Federal gunboats were attacked by five Confederate steamers, protected by double rows of bales of cotton, and loaded with troops armed with rifles, muskets, etc. The Harriet Lane was captured by boarding, after about all her officers, including Captain Wainwright and Lieutenant Commander Lee, and a crew of 130, all told, had been killed by muskettry from the Confederate steamers. The gunboats Clifton and Owasco were engaged and escaped, the former losing no men and but one wounded. The Owasco lost one killed and fifteen wounded. Two barks, loaded with coal, fell into the hands of the Confederates. The Westfield (flagship, Commodore Renshaw) was not engaged, being ashore in another channel. Her crew were transferred to transports, and Commodore Renshaw, fearing she would fall into the hands of the Confederates, blew her up. By some mismanagement or accident the exploion took place before a boat containing Commodore Renshaw, First Lieutenant Zimmerman and the boat’s crew got away, and they were blown up with the ship. The Confederate force was estimated at 5,000, under the command of General Magruder. The Federal land force, under the command of Colonel Burrill, of Masschusetts, did not exceed 300, the residue not having disembarked at the time of the fight. The Federal loss was 160 killed and 200 taken prisoners. The navy suffered the most. The Confederate loss was much greater, as the Federal guns were firing grape and canister continually in their midst."— Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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