enemy received I will not attempt to say.1
My little boat plunged violently, and a large body of water which had been thrown up descended upon her deck, and down the smoke-stack and hatchway.
I immediately gave orders to reverse the engine and back off. Mr. Toombs
informed me then that the fires were put out, and something had become jammed in the machinery so that it would not move.
What could be done in this situation?
In the mean time, the enemy recovering from the shock, beat to quarters, and general alarm spread through the fleet.
I told my men I thought our only chance to escape was by swimming, and I think I told Mr. Toombs
to cut the water-pipes and let the boat sink.
Then taking one of the cork floats, I got into the water and swam off as fast as I could.
The enemy, in no amiable mood, poured down upon the bubbling water a hail-storm of rifle and pistol shots from the deck of the Ironsides
, and from the nearest monitor.
Sometimes they struck very close to my head, but swimming for life, I soon disappeared from their sight, and found myself all alone in the water.
I hoped that, with the assistance of flood-tide, I might be able to reach Fort Sumter
, but a north wind was against me, and after I had been in the water more than an hour, I became numb with cold, and was nearly exhausted.
Just then the boat of a transport schooner picked me up, and found, to their surprise, that they had captured a rebel.
The captain of this schooner made me as comfortable as possible that night with whiskey and blankets, for which I sincerely thanked him. I was handed over next morning to the mercy of Admiral Dahlgren
He ordered me to be transferred to the guard-ship “Ottowa
,” lying outside the rest of the fleet.
Upon reaching the quarter-deck of this vessel, 1 was met and recognized by her Commander
, William D. Whiting
He was an honorable gentleman and high-toned officer.
I was informed that his orders were to have me put in irons, and if obstreperous, in double irons.
I smiled, and told him his duty was to obey orders, and mine to adapt myself to circumstances — I could see no occasion to be obstreperous.