The Fingal, in a dense fog, ran the blockade of Savannah a few days after the Port Royal forts were taken, in November, 1861. She has been closely watched ever since, and as in the case of the Nashville, the long and ceaseless vigilance of my officers has been rewarded. The Atlanta is now in Port Royal, under the American flag, having unaided steamed into this harbor from Warsaw. The department will notice, in this event how well Captain Rodgers has sustained his distinguished reputation, and added to the list of the brilliant services which he has rendered to the country during the rebellion. It will be my duty to recapitulate those services which have taken place during his connection with my command in another communication. Commander Downes, with his usual gallantry, moved as rapidly as possible toward the enemy, reserving his fire until he could get into close action, but lost the opportunity, from the brief nature of the engagement, of using his battery. I have been told that the confederate government considered the Atlanta as the most efficient of their iron-clads. The officers and crew of the Atlanta, with the exception of the wounded and one of the surgeons, have been transferred to the United States steamer James Adger, to be conveyed to Fortress Monroe. A list is herewith inclosed, marked No. 3. I cannot close this despatch without calling the attention of the department to the coolness and gallantry of Acting Master Benjamin W. Loring, especially recommended by Captain Rodgers. I trust that the department will consider his services as worthy of consideration. I forward herewith, marked Nos. 4, 5, and 6, the list of the officers and crews of the Weehawken, Nahant, and Cimerone. Very respectfully,
Report of Captain Rodgers.
Wilmington River; also two other steamers, one a side-wheel and the other a propeller. Beat to quarters and commenced clearing the ship for action. At twenty minutes past four shipped the cable and steamed slowly down toward the north-east end of Warsaw Island. At thirty minutes past four turned and stood up the sound, heading for the iron-clad, which at this time was discovered to have the rebel flag flying. The Nahant, having no pilot, followed in our wake. At five minutes of five the enemy, being about one and a half miles distant, fired a rifle-shot, which passed across our stern and struck near the Nahant. At this time the enemy was lying across the channel, waiting our attack. At a quarter-past five o'clock, being distant from him about three hundred yards, we commenced firing. At half-past 5 o'clock the enemy hauled down his colors and hoisted the white flag, we having fired five shots. Steamed near the iron-clad and ordered a boat to be sent alongside. At a quarter to six o'clock Lieutenant Alexander came on board to surrender the rebel ironclad Atlanta. He reported the vessel aground on the sand-spit that makes to the south-east from Cabbage Island. Shortly afterward Captain W. A. Webb came on board and delivered up his sword. Sent a prize crew to take charge of the vessel, under the command of Lieutenant Commander D. B. Harmony, of the Nahant. Sent also Lieutenant Commander J. J. Cornwell, of this vessel, and acting First Assistant Engineer J. G. Young to take charge of the engine. On examination it was found that the enemy had been struck four times-first on the inclined side by a fifteen-inch coned shot, which although fired at an angle of fifty degrees with her keel, broke in the armor and wood backing, strewing the deck with splinters, prostrating about forty men by the concussion, and wounding several by broken pieces of armor and splinters. One man has since died. The second shot (eleven-inch solid) struck the edge of the overhung knuckle, doing no damage except breaking a plate or two. The third shot (a fifteen-inch coned) struck the top of the pilot-house, knocking it off, wounding two pilots and stunning the men at the wheel. The fourth shot, supposed to be eleven-inch, struck a port-stopper in the centre, breaking it in two and shattering it very much, and driving many fragments in through the port. At twenty minutes past eight the engine of the Atlanta was secured by Engineer J. G. Young, and the vessel backed off into deep water, when she was brought to an anchor. The wounded, sixteen in number, were removed to the steamer Island City, which had been kindly brought over from Fort Pulaski by Colonel Barton, United States army. The officers of the vessel were sent to the tug Oleander, and a portion of the crew to the United States steamer Cimerone, for transportation to Port Royal. The Atlanta was found to have mounted two six-inch and two seven-inch rifles, the six-inch in broadside and the seven-inch working on a pivot, either as broadside or bow and stern guns. There is a large supply of ammunition for these guns, and other stores, said to be of great value by some of the officers of the vessel. There were on board at the time of capture, as per muster roll, twenty-one officers and one hundred and twenty-four men, including twenty-eight mariners. The captured rebel officers told me that they thought we should find the speed of the Atlanta reach ten knots. They believe her the strongest iron-clad in the Confederacy, and confidently anticipated taking both the Nahant and Weehawken. The behavior of the officers and crew was admirable.