elderly man, sat wringing his hands in the pilot-box; and the engineer appeared to be mingling his groans with those of the diseased engine.
Meanwhile I, in equal ignorance of machinery and channel, had to give orders only justified by minute acquaintance with both.
So I navigated on general principles, until they grounded us on a mud-bank, just below a wooded point, and some two miles from the bridge of our destination.
It was with a pang that I waved to Major Strong
, who was on the other side of the channel in a tug, not to risk approaching us, but to steam on and finish the work, if he could.
Short was his triumph.
Gliding round the point, he found himself instantly engaged with a light battery of four or six guns, doubtless the same we had seen in the distance.
was within two hundred and fifty yards. The Connecticut
men fought their guns well, aided by the blacks, and it was exasperating for us to hear the shots, while we could see nothing and do nothing.
The scanty ammunition of our bow gun was exhausted, and the gun in the stern was useless, from the position in which we lay. In vain we moved the men from side to side, rocking the vessel, to dislodge it. The heat was terrific that August afternoon; I remember I found myself constantly changing places, on the scorched deck, to keep my feet from being blistered.
At last the officer in charge of the gun, a hardy lumberman from Maine
, got the stern of the vessel so far round that he obtained the range of the battery through the cabin windows, “but it would be necessary,” he coolly added, on reporting to me this fact, “to shoot away the corner of the cabin.”
I knew that this apartment was newly painted and gilded, and the idol of the poor captain's heart; but: