APRIL 28TH, 1864: Rear Admiral David Porter and his fleet is stranded above the Red River rapids at Alexandria due to falling waters. Especially troubling is the withdrawal of the Union Army under General Banks which was supposed to support him.
He wrote Welles: "... I find myself blockaded by a fall of three feet of water, 3 feet 4 inches being the amount now on the falls; 7 feet being required to get over; no amount of lightening will accomplish the object.... In the meantime, the enemy are splitting up into parties of 2,000 and bringing in the artillery... to blockade points below here."
At this point, Porter faced the very likely possibility of having to destroy his fleet to prevent it from falling into Confederate hands and continued: "...you may judge of my feelings at having to perform so painful a duty."
Only the most ingenious planning and strenuous efforts of thousands of soldiers and sailors was this fleet destruction avoided.