UNITED STATES STEAMER TENNESSEE,
Off New Orleans, Aug. 14, 1864
Sir - The statement in the Era, of the 9th inst., in regard to the survivors of the United States steamer "Tecumseh," which was given by Josiah Conley, Captain's clerk, was incorrect, as at the time the Tecumseh was destroyed, he (Mr. Conley) and two others, (Mr. Penington and Mr. Scott) were in the Naval Hospital in Pensacola, a distance of 45 miles from the scene of the fight.
On the morning of the 5th of August, the signal was made by the flag-ship Hartford to the whole fleet to advance on the rebel fort Morgan, the monitor Tecumseh taking the lead. We fired two shells at the fort when we were a mile off. The guns were then reloaded with solid 15-inch shot, and a charge of 45 pounds of powder.
We did not fire more than two shells at the fort, but were reserving our next broadside for the rebel ram Tennessee. When about abreast of Fort Morgan, the order was given to go ahead at full speed. Our gallant captain's intention was to butt the ram and fire the two solid shot at the same time, but ere he could give the order to revolve the turret, a torpedo, or infernal machine, exploded under us, causing the water to rush up into the berth-deck and turret chamber, where nothing but confusion and despair reigned. The gun's crews and those what were in the pilot house, succeeded in getting out before she settled down beneath the waves. We had three boats towing alongside, two of which were immediately filled but were swamped. We succeeded in cutting the painter of the third one, and commenced to pull as best as we could for the fleet. We succeeded in picking up two of our officers, Mr. Langley and Mr. Cottrell. After pulling for an hour we reached one of our small tug boats near Sand Island, from which we were transferred to this ship. As fas as we can learn there have been twelve more of our comrades saved; eight are in the fleet in the Bay and four are prisoners in Fort Morgan.
Very respectfully, your obedient servants,
CHARLES F. LANGLEY, Acting Master
GARDNER COTTRELL, Acting Ensign
SAMIEL SHINN, Gunner's Mate
PATRICK GOULD, Quarter Gunner
WILLIAM O'BRIEN, Seaman
FRANK COZZENS, Seaman RICHARD COLLINS, Ordinary Seaman
PETER PARKER, Landsman