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[70] learn, by an entry made on the twenty-fourth day of January, 1863, that the Atlanta, then having been fully completed, was ordered to engage our blockading squadron and Fort Pulaski, and in the general fire run out to sea. In accordance with this programme she was fully manned and equipped for her voyage, and her sides slushed for action. But Admiral Du Pont, having been advised of this intended movement by deserters from Savannah, immediately adopted such precautions that the Atlanta's officers, seeing that their plans had been betrayed, immediately gave up their adventure, although their craft was in sight both of the blockading fleet and Pulaski. She returned to Savannah, and attempted nothing serious until lately, which adventure is the subject of the present letter.

On the seventh instant, it was announced that the Atlanta was about to achieve the most signal victory of the war, and properly christen the newly-adopted confederate flag. The people in Savannah were jubilant, and assembled en masse upon the wharves to bid her a suitable farewell. The Atlanta, owing to her drawing fifteen feet of water when loaded for the intended cruise, and St. Augustine's Creek not being deep enough to float her in this condition, she only took on board her crew at Savannah, and steamed down the river, drawing but eleven feet of water. Her provisions and stores followed her upon some gunboats belonging to Tatnall's mosquito fleet, and when she had successfully passed through St. Augustine's Creek, which runs from Cranston's Bluff to the head of the Wilmington River, she then received on board all her stores, provisions, ammunition, etc., and was made ready for action. It occupied six days in getting her down safely from Savannah to the head of Wilmington River.

We were fully apprised of this intended excursion by deserters, who, from time to time, have escaped from the Atlanta, and unbosomed their hearts to Admiral Du Pont. From these chivalric sons, Admiral Du Pont learned that the Atlanta was about to assume the offensive, and imitate her worthy predecessor, the Merrimac. Accordingly, ten days ago he sent the Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers commanding, and the Nahant, Commander Downes, to watch the Atlanta, and give her every satisfaction which she might demand. The Weehawken and Nahant proceeded to Warsaw Sound, and took up their positions near the mouth of the Wilmington River, which empties into this sound.

Captain Rodgers stationed a picket-boat every night up the river, in order that he might not be taken unawares, and the two monitors rode at anchor, anxiously awaiting an introduction to their mutual enemy. On the morning of the seventeenth, the picket-boat, as was its wont, had returned to the Weehawken, and the men having reported no suspicious-looking steamer, turned into their bunks, where the rest of the crew were already enjoying themselves in a sleep undisturbed except, perhaps, by the vision of a sinking ram. When the picket returned, it was about five o'clock A. M., and hardly had they “bunked,” before the Atlanta was seen coming down the river some three miles distant. She was coming at a rapid rate, and was followed by two Worden gunboats.

No time was to be lost, and the monitors were ready for action in less time than I can describe it. Owing to its being flood-time the monitors were not “bow on” that is, their sterns were toward the Atlanta, and it was necessary for proper action that they should turn around and face the enemy. For fear, on account of the shallowness of the water, that he might run aground in executing this manoeoeuvre, Captain Rodgers steamed down the Sound, as also did the Nahant, to deep water, and having successfully turned, he steamed up with all haste to meet the Atlanta, which was coming down upon him with full speed, intending, beyond a doubt, fight.

In order that you may fully appreciate the sequel to this rebel adventure, I will here, while the Atlanta and the monitors are approaching each other, narrate, as I have it from the officers themselves, the object and intention of their expedition. The following was their plan: They were fully aware of the presence of the Weehawken and Nahant in Warsaw Sound, but they intended to engage these monitors, and having captured them, to send them up in tow of their gun-boats to Savannah. If on engaging our monitors they found themselves unable to whip and capture them, then they intended to run past them, and put out to sea. Having gained the ocean, they were to proceed immediately to Charleston harbor, and engage the blockading fleet there, in conjunction with the rebel rams at Charleston, which were to come down to our fleet upon certain signals, which had already been agreed upon, being made by the Atlanta. Our blockaders having been annihilated, the Atlanta and her consorts would proceed to Wilmington, and raise our blockade there in a similar manner. After these important victories had been gained, then an indiscriminate raid upon the Northern seaboard towns and cities was to be made, and general havoc ensue upon the land and sea. This was their intention; let us see how

The best laid schemes of men and mice gang aft aglee.

But, before detailing the engagement, I would, for the amusement of your female readers, state that the two wooden gunboats which accompanied the Atlanta were crowded with Savannah ladies, who had come down to see the abominable Yankees receive a severe castigation, and wave their perfumed cambrics at the victorious Atlanta as she proudly steamed out to sea covered with glory, while they would escort back to Savannah our disabled monitors.

But we left the Atlanta steaming down upon our monitors, while the latter, especially the Weehawken, was making counter advances. The Nahant, for some reason or other, did not seem to get along very well, and the Weehawken soon left her some distance astern. The Atlanta, when she arrived within six hundred yards of the Weehawken,

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