previous next

[74] cargo of arms and munitions of war. The excitement occasioned by this accession to their supplies, and the running of the Fingal through our fleet, was very great; but the reduction and occupation of Fort Pulaski by the Union forces in this vicinity, participated in by part of the Third Rhode Island regiment, commanded by your efficient young townsman, Colonel Rogers, put an effectual stop to the continuance of such affairs, and the only way to sea left open to the denizens of Savannah was by the inlet or passage to Warsaw Sound, which has been used to a certain extent, only, however, to a point in the north-west of Warsaw Sound, where there is a rebel work called Thunderbolt battery.

It was, however, soon after the arrival of the Fingal that it was determined to convert her into a rebel ram-of-war, and steps were immediately taken for the prosecution of the plan. She was a fine ship, with powerful engines, about seven hundred tons burthen, and the only fault was her draught of water, which was nearly sixteen feet. Her upper works were cut away, and she was under process of remodelling after the pattern of the Merrimac. Months ago it was supposed she must be nearly ready for sea, and the sudden appearance of her black roof, coming into this harbor, would hardly have been a matter of surprise. But every preparation was made for such a possible occurrence, and the result has proved that if she had come in, she would have met with such a reception that she probably would never have gone out again. In January the Montauk was sent to Ossabaw, and the Passaic to Warsaw, and at that time it was understood the Fingal, which had now been remodelled and rebuilt, and was christened the Atlanta, would make an attempt to go to sea notwithstanding the iron-clads. But, in fact, she was not ready, and only wanted completion to make the attempt.

The iron-clad Weehawken has been lying in this harbor since the fight at Charleston, and on Saturday was ordered to Warsaw. Sunday morning the iron-clad Nahant left her anchorage in Edisto for the same destination. This morning, after so long waiting, the attempt was made with all rebel assurance, and resulted in a grand failure. The news was received here at ten o'clock this forenoon, and at four o'clock P. M., the steamer, with the officers and the wounded men, came into the harbor, and alongside the store-ship Vermont. The officers, numbering thirteen, and the men, numbering one hundred and thirty-seven, had been amply provided for on the Vermont.

The wounded consisted of sixteen men, one of whom, by the name of Barrett and belonging to Georgia, was so severely wounded that he died on the passage to Port Royal. The wounds of the others were various in their character; one had his shoulders and head lacerated and bruised, one was so severely wounded that amputation of one or more limbs may be necessary, while the other woulds were flesh-wounds of no dangerous character. Mr. Thurston, the Lieutenant of Marines, was knocked down by a splinter, and another officer, Mr. Wragg, the master, was struck over the left eye with a piece of iron broken off the rebel armor; those were the only officers injured.

The commander of the vessel is an old officer in the Union service, by the name of W. A. Webb, and appears to be a gentlemanly, mild man. He is the third officer that has commanded the vessel. The first assigned was named McBlair, and it is said he was relieved because he did not run by the Yankees and go to sea. That, however, must be a mistake. The next commander was a St. Clair, and he died not long since.

The executive officer, Mr. Alexander, is an old officer in our service, as is also Mr. Barbot, second officer and “lieutenant for the war,” and the third lieutenant, Mr. Arledge. The surgeon, Dr. Freeman, and the assistant surgeon, Dr. Gibbs, are old naval officers. The officers all appear to be gentlemen, and are much chagrined to think of their capture.

It seems the Atlanta left Savannah about two weeks ago, intending to go to sea via Warsaw Sound, proceed to Port Royal, and do such destruction as might be permitted her, and then push on to Charleston, where she was to make a foray upon the fleet and then enter the city, although it was not understood in Charleston that this was intended.

Monday morning last found the iron-clads Weehawken and Nahant in Warsaw Sound. The Atlanta had come in the mean time to Thunderbolt battery, where she lay at anchor. Finding that the iron-clads were there caused no disarrangement of plans, except so far as the destruction of them was determined upon, before proceeding to sea, for, as they say, they had no doubt at all of their ability to destroy both the Weehawken and Nahant, considering their own armor proof against eleven-inch or even fifteen-inch shot. At half-past 2 o'clock yesterday morning the Atlanta got under way from her anchorage, which was about four miles from the iron-clads, and stood down the passage from the battery to the Sound. a temporary grounding delayed her somewhat, but she got off, and was soon in sight of the iron-clads, which were undoubtedly a little surprised to receive so carly a call. She steamed on toward the Weehawken, and her officers were astonished to see every thing so still on board the Weehawken, and no attention paid to their approach. Still she steamed on, and firing from her rifle elicited no response from the Weehawken. She was now only one hundred and fifty yards from the iron-clad, when a column of fir issued from the iron turret, and a fifteen-inch went crashing through and through the rebel armor, completely prostrating the whole crew of one gun, (sixteen men,) and, in the language of the officers, “filling and covering the deck with splinters of iron and wood.” An eleven-inch shot immediately followed from the Weehawken's small gun, which in like manner passed through and through, but doing less damage. Again a fifteen-inch was fired at them, which struck on what they call the “knuckle” of the armor, (where the armor of the angular side, which slopes to the water,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. L. Wragg (1)
William A. Webb (1)
R. G. Thurston (1)
John Rogers (1)
McBlair (1)
Samuel W. Gibbs (1)
Robert L. Freeman (1)
Barrett (1)
Alphonso Barbot (1)
J. H. Arledge (1)
J. W. Alexander (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: