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[225]

Reminiscences of torpedo service in Charleston Harbor by W. T. Glassel, Commander Confederate States Navy.

[The following interesting paper was sent us through the Secretary of the South Carolina Historical Society. In a note accompanying the paper the author says that while he has written from memory, and without official reports to refer to, he believes he has given the facts in the order of their occurrence.]

I had served, I believe faithfully, as a lieutenant in the United States navy, and had returned from China on the United States steamer “Hartford” to Philadelphia, sometime in 1862, after the battles of Manassas and Ball's Bluff had been fought. I was informed that I must now take a new oath of allegiance or be sent immediately to Fort Warren. I refused to take this oath, on the ground that it was inconsistent with one I had already taken to support the Constitution of the United States. I was kept in Fort Warren about eight months, and then exchanged as a prisoner of war, on the banks of the James river. Being actually placed in the ranks of the Confederate States, I should think that even Mr. President Hayes would now acknowledge that it was my right, if not my duty, to act the part of a belligerent.

A lieutenant's commission in the Confederate States navy was conferred on me, with orders to report for duty on the iron-clad “Chicora” at Charleston. My duties were those of a deck officer, and I had charge of the first division.

On the occasion of the attack upon the blockading squadron (making the attack at night), if I could have had any influence, we should not have fired a gun, but trusted to the effect of ironrams at full speed. It was thought, though, by older and perhaps wiser officers, that this would have been at the risk of sinking our iron-clads together with the vessels of the enemy. I have ever believed there was no such danger to be apprehended; and if there was, we had better have encountered it, than to have made the fruitless attempt which we did, only frightening the enemy and putting them on their guard for the future.

It was my part, on that memorable morning, to aim and fire one effective shell into the “Keystone State” while running down to attack us, which (according to Captain LeRoy's report), killing

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