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[471] by Beauregard, then in chief command at Charleston, to fire very deliberately and with careful aim; yet 160 shots per minute were counted: and one of our commanders declared that the great iron bolts of the enemy crashed upon the decks and sides of our vessels in succession as rapid as the ticks of a watch. Most of these, of course, rebounded or glanced off, and were added to the pavement of the harbor; but even these often left ugly mementoes of their hasty visit; while the attentions of some were far more impressive. The Nahant carried off thirteen ugly bruises; one of them made by a shot which struck her pilot-house, knocking out several of its bolts, one of which wounded all three of the inmates — captain, pilot, and quartermaster — the last fatally. Four of her crew were injured by a similar injury to her turret. The Passaic had as many wounds-one of them from a shot which passed through the 11-inch plates of her turret, and then had force left seriously to damage her pilot-house beyond. The Nantucket had, among others, a knock on her turret which so deranged it that her port could not be opened thereafter. The Ironsides had one of her port shutters shot away; and the Catskill was struck by a bolt which tore through her deck-plating forward, and still had force to break an iron beam beneath it.

But the Keokuk, though not the strongest among them, had dared most and suffered most. She was struck 90 times, had both her turrets riddled, with 19 holes through her hull; some of them so large that a boy might have crawled through, while her commander and 11 of her crew were wounded, five of them severely. She was at length compelled to draw off, mortally injured, and, limping away down the coast of Morris island to Lighthouse inlet, she had barely been relieved of her wounded, when, at 8 P. M., she sunk — the last of her crew jumping into the sea as she went down, leaving only the top of her smoke-stack above the surface of the water. Three hours earlier, Com. Dupont, seeing half his vessels disabled, while Sumter, though somewhat damaged,1 was still vociferous and belligerent as ever — gave the signal for retiring; which was willingly, though not swiftly, obeyed.

The iron-clad attack on Fort Sumter and its adjuncts was a failure — not a disaster. We lost few men, and but one vessel; for all but the Keokuk were susceptible of easy repair; while the expenditure of ammunition was many times greatest on the side of the Rebels, and one that they could not afford so well as we could. It was computed that 3,500 shots were fired by them that day; the value of which was hardly to be measured by Confederate currency in its then advanced stage of decomposition. Two guns on Fort Sumter were disabled, and one was burst; while they had but few men injured and only one killed. But their exultation over our repulse was unbounded: Beauregard, for once, hardly going beyond the average sentiment in averring, in his general order, that “the happy issue” of this conflict had “inspired confidence in ”

1 “Half a dozen pock=marks show conspicuous; while a huge crater is formed in the parapet near the eastern angle,” reports Mr. Swinton aforesaid.

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