|USN map of the 1863 action at Galveston|
Patrolling off the coast of Galveston was a squadron of six U.S. Navy ships: USS Westfield, Clifton, Owasco, Sachem, the sailing yacht Coruphues, and the former Revenue Cuter paddle steamer Harriet Lane. In addition, 260 soldiers from the 42nd Massachusetts Volunteers occupied the wharf.
Watches aboard Clifton and Westfield spotted Neptune and Bayou City in the moon light at 1:30 a.m., but discounted them as harmless civilian steamers. Soon after, pickets lines of the 42nd began passing back reports of Confederate artillery advancing on the wharf. Confederate ground forces launched their assault on the wharf at 3 a.m. Though they had no artillery attached to their unit, the 42nd had the Sachem and Corypheus backing them up with light Parrot rifles.
|Capture of USS Harriet Lane|
Neptune then rammed Harriet Lane. Lane returned fire on Neptune, causing Neptune to take on water and eventually sink. Bayou City also rammed Harriet Lane and sent boarders to storm the Union vessel. With revolvers in hand, Harriet Lane's commanding officer, Commander J.M. Wainwright, fought the boarders until he was shot in the head. The rest of Lane's company soon surrendered after that.
|Scuttling of USS Westfield|
Read Farragut's official report to Secretary Welles here.