the vessel was sinking, and probably thought those on board could take care of themselves.
In two hours repairs were made, and with the assistance of the Stettin and Flag the Mercedita reached Port Royal.
When the Keystone State was attacked, Commander Le Roy gallantly returned the enemy's fire, but the ram lodged a shell in the fore-hold of his vessel, which set the Keystone State on fire and obliged her to shear off till it could be extinguished.
By this time the ram Chicora, Commander John R. Tucker, had attacked the Keystone State and Le Roy turned upon the enemy, and putting on full steam ran right for one of the rams at the rate of twelve knots an hour, when a shell from the enemy penetrating both steam-chests rendered the Keystone State powerless.
Two rifleshells burst on the quarter-deck, but most of them struck the hull, and there were two feet of water in the hold; but some of the other vessels of the blockading squadron now came to the assistance of the Keystone State
his whole fleet to gain an important advantage.
The Confederate fleet in James River was not a particle of use in the defence of that stream, which was so filled with obstructions and torpedoes, backed by four heavy forts, that no man having common sense or judgment would have attempted to ascend the river, especially as there was no particular object in doing so.
The forts on the river were within supporting distance of each other, and under the command of a very able naval officer, John R. Tucker, who also had charge of the torpedo corps.
The bed of the river was full of torpedoes, and a dozen vessels, no matter what their size or strength, would have been sunk before they could have reached the first obstruction above Drury's Bluff.
As long as the Onondaga floated, the Confederate vessels could not get down with safety, any more than the Federal ships could get up, and the only way to meet with any success was for the Confederates to risk a dozen lives and send down a dozen to