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[429] work, and, at times, with such effect that every man was driven from the guns.

But just at this moment, when every thing appeared most favorable, and the fortunes of war seemed about to assign the meed of victory to the gallant little vessels, the Sachem unfortunately grounded, broadside on, exposing her most vulnerable part to the concentrated fire of the enemy's largest work, the steamers, and the sailing craft.

This was speedily taken advantage of by them, and a perfect storm of shot and shell fell upon, over, and around her, making the water hiss and foam like a boiling cauldron. Soon a heavy rifled shot struck her fair in the side, crushing in the iron plating and wood-work, and striking her machinery, exploded her steam-chest, filling the vessel with the scalding vapor, and leaving her a helpless wreck, with no hope of getting off the shore.

The enemy now ceased their fire on the Sachem and turned their attention to the remaining two boats; the crews of which, realizing the position of their brave comrades, redoubled their exertions.

The Arizona, unfortunately, drew too much water to get to close quarters, and it devolved upon the Clifton alone to undertake, the perilous task of silencing the works.

Putting on a full head of steam, the devoted little craft ran down directly toward the largest fort, keeping up a hot fire all the time from her pivot-guns, and as she neared the works loading with double charges of grape, sweeping the parapet at every discharge.

The Clifton had now approached to within about five hundred yards, and after giving the enemy a last discharge of grape from her pivot, attempted to throw her bow around, and take up a broadside position. But she had gone a few yards too near, and as she slightly swung around her bow struck — the velocity with which she was running driving her far upon the shore. She instantly commenced backing, keeping up a constant fire from her bow and port broadside guns, the former keeping the main parapet entirely clear of the enemy, while the latter played on the second battery.

This continued for some time, and faint hopes were entertained that the gallant captain would succeed in extricating the boat from her terrible position. But this was not to be; for, at last, a shot from the battery at the left penetrated her boiler, in an instant reducing her to the same condition as the Sachem.

The battle was now, to all intents and purposes, ended. Further resistance seemed utterly hopeless, but still the brave Crocker could not endure the idea of giving up his vessel, and ordered his men to fight on. Without his knowledge, however, some party struck the white flag, and the enemy instantly ceased firing.

When informed of this, the captain ordered the deck to be cleared, and loading the after pivotgun with a nine-inch solid shot, he fired it through the centre of the ship, from stem to stern, tearing the machinery to pieces, and rendering it utterly worthless to the enemy. After doing this, and spiking all the guns, the Clifton surrendered.

The remaining gunboat, the Arizona, quite unable to cope with the enemy single-handed, and drawing too much water to engage them in close quarters, reluctantly withdrew from the unequal contest, firing a farewell shot of defiance as she steamed slowly down the bay, the enemy not replying to her challenge.

The Clifton had on board, beside her regular crew of one hundred and ten men, seventy-five sharpshooters — all of whom were captured, with the exception of seven men, who swam ashore, ran down the beach, and were taken off by a small boat.

The loss of the armament of the Clifton is unquestionably a serious one; her powerful battery of rifled guns being one of the most powerful in the service. The boats, however, are so much damaged that the guns, to be of any service to the enemy, will have to be removed from them, and remounted, and consequently it will be a long time before they can be made available.

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