as hard to cork down as the men. Add to this, that the vessel was now very crowded, and that I had to be chiefly on the hurricane-deck with the pilots.
, master of the vessel, was brave to excess, and as much excited as the men; he could no more be kept in the little pilot-house than they below; and when we had passed one or two bluffs, with no sign of an enemy, he grew more and more irrepressible, and exposed himself conspicuously on the upper deck.
Perhaps we all were a little lulled by apparent safety; for myself, I lay down for a moment on a settee in a state-room
, having been on my feet, almost without cessation, for twenty-four hours.
Suddenly there swept down from a bluff above us, on the Georgia
side, a mingling of shout and roar and rattle as of a tornado let loose; and as a storm of bullets came pelting against the sides of the vessel, and through a window, there went up a shrill answering shout from our own men. It took but an instant for me to reach the gun-deck.
After all my efforts the men had swarmed once more from below, and already, crowding at both ends of the boat, were loading and firing with inconceivable rapidity, shouting to each other, “Nebber gib it up!”
and of course having no steady aim, as the vessel glided and whirled in the swift current.
Meanwhile the officers in charge of the large guns.
had their crews in order, and our shells began to fly over the bluffs, which, as we now saw, should have been shelled in advance, only that we had to economize ammunition.
The other soldiers I drove below, almost by main force, with the aid of their officers, who behaved exceedingly well, giving the men leave to fire from the open port-holes which lined the lower deck, almost at the water's level.
In the very midst of the melee Major Strong
came from the