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[71] ran aground, but succeeded in immediately backing off, and regaining her course. But again, as if some strange fatality attended her, she ran aground the second time, and in this condition opened fire upon the Weehawken, which was then within four hundred yards of her. Our officers, however, did not know that the Atlanta was aground until the action was over. The first shot which the Atlanta fired was from her pivot gun, but it fell short of the Weehawken, and demonstrated that the gunner who sighted that shot was a novice in the art.

Captain Rodgers himself, anxious as ever for a good beginning, sighted his fifteen-inch gun, loaded with a solid shot, and away went this huge missile against the shutter of the starboard aft port-hole, and shivering it as well as the iron and wood-work adjoining, fell off into the water without doing further injury. The Atlanta, in reply, fired another shot from her pivot gun, which, like its predecessor, fell short.

Captain Rodgers again sighted his fifteen-inch pet, and the solid shot hurled through the air, carrying away, in its fearful passage, the pilothouse of the Atlanta. The falling iron and woodwork wounded severely two out of the three pilots, so that the Atlanta was not only with but one pilot, but also minus her pilot-house.

Nothing daunted, however, she returned the fire from her fore starboard gun, but alas! for the aim, the shot failed to hit the Weehawken. Rodgers again sighted, and grazed the wreck of the pilot-house. The Atlanta did not return the fire, and again the Weehawken sent forth a fifteen-inch, which went completely through the Atlanta's smoke-stack. To this the Atlanta replied with her pivot gun, and her shot fell within two feet of the Weehawken. When within a hundred yards of the rebel craft, Captain Rodgers, wishing to encourage such a laudable ambition on the part of the Atlanta's guns, sighted his gun for the fifth shot, and crash went the solid fifteen-inch ball against the Atlanta's side, just aft of the starboard fore port-hole. You can judge of the velocity of this shot when I tell you that it completely bent in a wrought-iron armor four inches thick, and shivered into fragments a four-inch thickness of live oak plank and a four-inch thickness of Georgia pine plank. These flying fragments struck the men working the larboard fore gun, killing one and wounding thirteen of them. The force of the blow was so great, that every man working the pivot gun fell to the deck completely stunned. The ball itself rolled off from the Atlanta's side, and fell into the water.

This last shot of the Weehawken caused all visions of the blockade, Charleston, and Wilmington, to rapidly fade from the mental vision of the Atlanta's officers, and immediately the white flag was seen waving from the wreck of her pilothouse. The action was only of fifteen minutes duration, and she fell a prize to the Weehawken's prowess in twenty-six minutes from the time she appeared in sight, and as the white flag fluttered from her deck, the Savannah ladies were seen rapidly going up Wilmington River, to bear to the people of Savannah not the glorious news of victory, but the sad tidings of defeat.

Upon seeing the white flag our men cheered most lustily, and Captain Rodgers immediately despatched Captain Harmony, of the Weehawken, in a small boat to the Atlanta, to receive her commander's sword and take possession of her in the name of the Navy of the United States. As soon as Captain Harmony arrived on board he received the sword of Captain Webb, hauled down the new confederate flag which was flying at her stern, and ran up our own victorious ensign. He then went forward and was ordering his men to cast anchor, when Captain Webb exclaimed: “For God's sake, Captain, don't cast off these anchors; we have a torpedo underneath this bow.” Captain Harmony turned to him with the utmost nonchalance, and said: “I don't care any thing about your torpedoes, I can stand them if you can, and if you don't wish to be blown up with me, you had better tell me how to raise the torpedo.”

To this Captain Webb readily assented, and, calling some of his men, pulleys were attached to a large iron rod which ran out from the prow, and soon there appeared coming out of the water a huge torpedo attached to the end of this rod, which projected thirty feet beyond the bow. Captain Harmony ordered his men to carefully remove the cap from the torpedo, and then fill it with water, in order that the powder might be destroyed. This was done, and the torpedo, holding fifty pounds of powder, was raised aloft on this rod, and was.secured at an angle of about forty-five degrees from the deck.

A remarkable circumstance in this affair is the fact that Captain William Webb, formerly a lieutenant in our navy, and commanding the Atlanta, is an old class-mate of Captain John Rodgers, who commands the Weehawken. Captain Harmony also found that the other officers were old and intimate acquaintances of his before the rebellion occurred.I have no doubt but. that these discoveries lent an additional zest to the victory.

Captain Webb, after surrendering his vessel, summoned the crew on deck, and addressed them as follows: “I have surrendered our vessel because circumstances, over which I had no control, have compelled me to do so. I know that you started upon this expedition with high hopes, and you have been disappointed. I most earnestly wish that it had happened otherwise, but Providence, for some good reason, has interfered with our plans, and we have failed of success. You all know that if we had not run aground that the result would have been different, and now that a regard for your lives has influenced me in this surrender, I would advise you to submit quietly to the fate which has overtaken us. I hope that we all may soon be returned to our homes, and meet again in a common brotherhood.”

At the conclusion of this speech, Captain Webb became so affected that he fainted. What a contrast this speech presents to the one which


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