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[464] backed by the Seneca, Wissahickon, and Dawn, to attempt her destruction.

He found her still aground; and, by disregarding torpedoes and the fire of the fort, was able to steam within 1,200 yards of her; and, by experiment, soon had her exact range, and was peppering her with 11 and 15-inch shells; while his consorts — forbidden a near approach by the narrowness of the channel — fired at her from positions farther down the stream. Twenty minutes thereafter, she had been set on fire by shells which exploded within her, and flames were seen to burst from every quarter; at 9:20 A. M., her large pivot gun forward was exploded by the heat; at 9:40, her smoke-stack went overboard; and at 9:55, her magazine exploded, shattering her into worthless fragments. Meantime, the fort kept firing away at the Montauk, striking, her five times, but doing no damage; and a torpedo which exploded beneath her, as she steamed down the river, accomplished very little. Our other vessels received no harm. We lost no men.

Com. Dupont, encouraged by this cheap success, now resolved to give the fort itself a trial: to which end, the iron-clads Passaic, Capt. Drayton, Patapsco, Montauk, Ericsson, and Nahant, with three mortar-schooners, steamed1 up the Ogeechee, and opened fire: the Passaic leading, the rest following, and all firing at the fort at the shortest range they could severally attain. But the obstructions proved insuperable, and forbade the Passaic to approach nearer than 1,200 yards; the other iron-clads being, of course, farther off, and the schooners farther still. Thus placed, the Passaic, Patapsco, and Nahant, opened fire; and it was kept up, with one or two intervals, from 8 1/2 A. M. to 4 P. M., and by the mortar-schooners every 15 minutes thenceforth till next morning; when Capt. Drayton--who had dropped down the river out of range at nightfall — went up again and took a look at the enemy's works; finding them so substantial and effective that lie concluded to waste no more good cartridges upon them, and came away under a double salute of shells and yells. His 15-inch shells, each weighing 345 pounds, had dismounted one of their 9 great guns, and taken a wheel from another; but no man had been killed, and but one wounded on either side. Captain Drayton, while standing behind the turret of his “Monitor,” had received a mere scratch from a splinter of shell, and the Rebel loss was swelled to 3 wounded by an accident after the fight; but an enormously expenditure of ammunition on either side had effected nothing of moment. Our shells often tore up the sand to a depth of ten feet, clouding the air with it; but it descended nearly into its former position;2 even tile embrasures of the Rebel battery were but moderately damaged. Our vessels saved their ammunition by letting Fort McAllister alone thereafter.

The National steamboat Isaac Smith, having been sent3 up Stono

1 March 3.

2 The Savannah Republican, March 12, says:

Considerable havoc was made in the sandbanks in the fort; and the quarters of the men were almost entirely demolished. * * * Inside the fort, and to the rear of it for half a mile, the earth was dug up into immense pits and gullies by the enemy's shell and shot.

[It sees a Providence in the saving of Confederate life.]

3 Jan. 30, 1863.

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