On July 18, the USS Grey Cloud and USS New London turned at Round Island and headed directly toward the large hotel at Pascagoula announcing their arrival by firing two shells over the hotel scattering the civilian population. Both steamers had been reinforced the day before with men from the USS Potomac for a special raid on the communication and naval stores of Pascagoula. The New London docked at the hotel wharf a half mile west of this point and deployed 60 sailors and marines armed with cutlasses, revolvers, and muskets.
The detachment rushed the village leaving a guard at every street corner while the main party continued its mission to capture the mail and confiscate telegraph messages at the post office. However, when the Union sentries realized they were being observed by members of the Mobile Dragoons, a Confederate company of scouts and mounted troops from Mobile, Alabama, the sailors and marines quickly withdrew to their gunboats, inadvertently leaving the telegraph apparatus. The USS Grey Cloud then attempted to enter the Pascagoula River with the intention of capturing local schooners loaded with valuable stores of turpentine and lumber. This movement was thwarted because of obstructions deliberately placed at the mouth of the river.
The gunboats backed off shore then
resumed the attack by launching three boats, each loaded with 25 sailors and marines. These smaller vessels proceeded a mile upriver when, at the home of the late Rene Krebs, the launches were ambushed by 30 troopers of the Mobile Dragoons under Lieutenant Hallett. This small cavalry unit was armed with quick firing Sharps breechloading carbines. The men on the launches returned fire, but were forced to withdraw to their ships, having sustained 8 or 9 wounded in the aborted attack. In reprisal, the
USS New London fired 25 shells into the village and the USS Grey Cloud fired seven shells, but damage was minimal and only one civilian wounded. It was fortunate for the defenders that the Union naval assault party withdrew as Lieutenant Hallett's platoon had expended all its ammunition. The ships remained menacingly offshore for another day before leaving the area.
Legacy: The Civil War split families. W. J. Farragut of Gautier was a member of the Mobile Dragoons, while his uncle, Admiral David Farragut, was commander of the Union Navy in the Gulf of Mexico