But no more torpedoes were encountered; while the fire of the fort, now checked by the grape of our slips, became comparatively harmless, from the moment that he had fairly passed its front.
The Rebel fleet had opened fire directly after the fort; and the Tennessee
, at 7:50, rushed at the Hartford
, which simply returned her fire and kept on. The three Rebel gunboats, still ahead, poured their slots into the Hartford
; the Selma
getting a raking fire on her, which she could not return.
, therefore, at 8:02, ordered the Metacomet
to cast off and close with the Selma
; which she captured, after an hour's fight: the Selma
's captain, P. N. Murphy
, with 9 others, being wounded ; her Lieut. Comstock
, with 5 more, being killed.
She had 4 great pivot guns and 94 men. The Morgan
now took refuge under tile guns of the fort; where the Gaines
, badly crippled, was run ashore and burned.
escaped, and ran up to Mobile
under cover of the ensuing night.
now supposed the fight over, and had ordered most of his vessels to anchor; but he was undeceived when the Tennessee
, at 8:45, stood bravely down the bay, and, trusting to her invulnerability to shot, made for our flag-ship, resolved to run her down.
At once, our iron-clads and stronger wooden slips were signaled to close in upon and destroy her; our fire, save of the very largest guns, seeming scarcely to annoy her.
gave her the first blow; rushing at her at full speed, striking her square in the side, and, swinging around, pouring into her, when but a few feet distant., a broadside of solid 11-inch shot, which seemed to have much the same effect on her that a musket-wad or pop-gun pellet might be expected to produce on a buffalo's skull.
Not satisfied with this, (Capt. Jenkins
drew off and came at her again, with tile net result of losing his own beak and cut-water.
next struck the Rebel
monster at full speed ; crushing in her own stem to the plank-ends, but only giving the ram a heavy list, without doing her any perceptible harm.
came on next but her blow was evaded by an adroit motion of tile Tennessee
's helm, so that the Hartford
merely hit her on the quarter and rasped along her side: pouring in a broadside of 10-inch shot, at a distance of ten feet.
Our monitors had now crawled up, firing when they could do so; and the Chickasaw
ran under her stern; while the Manhattan
, also coming up behind her, gave her a solid 15-inch bolt, which struck her on her port quarter, carrying away her steering-gear, and breaking square through her iron plates and their wooden backing, but doing no harm inside.
had ordered Drayton
to strike her a second blow; and he was proceeding to do so, when the Lackawanna
, already badly crippled, in attempting to ram the enemy a second time, came in collision with the flag-ship, doing her considerable injury.
Both drew off, took distance for another pass at her, and were coming on at full speed, when the Rebel
alligator, sore beset from every side — her smoke-stack shot away, her steering-chains gone, several of her port-shutters so jammed by our shot