A rebel account.
We have the satisfaction of spreading before our readers to-day some of the particulars of a spirited and dashing achievement on the part of Commodore Lynch
, of the Confederate Navy, on board of his flagship, the Sea Bird
, which gallant little steamer mounts a 32-pounder forward, and a 12-pounder aft.
went down to Sewall's Point
on Saturday night, and took a position under the guns of our battery at that place, where she remained all night until Sunday morning, when she espied the Federal
steamer Express making out from Newport News, with a transport schooner in tow. She got round the point of Newport News with her charge, when our gallant commodore put chase after them, and run them toward Old Point
The Sea Bird
opened fire on the Express
, and after one or two discharges the latter cut aloose from her tow and left her. The position of the schooner where the Express
left her was well over in the enemy's lines, but even that consideration did not deter the victor from securing his prize.
He dashed into her and tackled on, and in making his way back eight gunboats and an armed transport put out for him from Old Point
and Newport News, with the purpose of cutting him off. But it appears they were just five or six minutes too late, and in chasing her she kept up a continual fire upon them, turning around every time to give them the best she had, the forward rifled 32-pounder.
The sport became so intensely interesting to the Yankees
that they waded in a little beyond their depth, and woke up the boys on Sewall's Point
, who opened fire on them.
They finding further pursuit of the commodore vain, turned their attention on the batteries that were peppering them so unmercifully.
And now the matter began to wear somewhat the appearance of earnestness, as though the boys were going to work, even allowing it was Sunday morning, and going on to church time.
The batteries continued to fire at the Federal
vessels, which did their best toward silencing them; but the job was some-what too extensive for them, and withal so warm, that they speedily determined to give Sewall's Point
a very wide berth.
They got well out of range of our shot as soon as they could, but not until three of them had got a dose which took the starch out of them.
The gunboats fairly rained the shot and shell at the Sewall
's Point battery while they did have the courage to continue the engagement, which, altogether, including the chase after the Sea Bird
, lasted two and a half or three hours. Several hundred shot and shell were fired at our battery, and not a single person received even a scratch.
An old rooster, however, which happened to get in the way was made into a roaster for his pains, as we are informed by a communication from a friend who was on the ground.
We annex his communication:
The Sea Bird
proceeded on her way up to the city with her prize in tow, and we learn it is the schooner Sherwood
, which formerly belonged to George Booker
, on Back River
, and was stolen from him sometime since by the Federals
, and has been since used as a water transport between Newport News and Old Point
She was then carrying a supply of water to the Hessians at Old Point
It was thus a water haul;
but that detracts nothing from the honor of the achievement, which may justly be classed as one of the most brilliant that has taken place in the two armies since the war began.
During the engagement between the gunboats and the Sewall
's Point battery, the Sawyer gun at the Rip Raps
opened fire and threw shell at the battery on Sewall's Point
We learn that the gunboats threw several shell or shot at the battery on Craney Island
, and received a prompt reply from that direction.
We are pleased to record the fact, that the boys at our batteries took deliberate aim with each gun they fired, and handled their irons with a masterly skill, taking their time in each case.
It has been reported, though with what truth we are unable to say, that the Sea Bird
struck the Express
and set her on fire, and that she was afterward put out without injury.--Norfolk Day Book
, Dec. 30.
The following is an extract from the report of Capt. Lynch
to the Navy Department:
The water being too low in the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal
for this vessel (the Sea Bird
) to proceed to Roanoke Island
, we last evening steamed down and anchored in the bight of Craney Island
This morning, a little before daylight, we weighed anchor and stood across to Newport News.
About half past 7 A. M. an enemy's steamer passed out of James River
, with a schooner in tow, and steered for Fortress Monroe
We immediately gave chase, when she cut the schooner adrift, and carried a heavy head of steam, in order to get under the cover of numerous men-of-war lying off the fortress.
We were fast closing in with her, however, when the explosion of our second shell set her on fire.
Believing her destruction was certain, knowing that her crew could be rescued by boats from the vessels not far distant from her, and it being useless for this vessel to approach her, we steered for and took the abandoned schooner in tow. In the meantime one large steamer from Newport News, and ten others from Hampton Roads
and the fortress, were making their way toward us, when an exciting scene took place; we endeavoring to carry the prize into port, and they making every effort to intercept, and, by constant firing, disable us. Many shells from the ships and the fortress exploded quite near us, and four or five passed immediately over the deck.
We succeeded in fighting our way through, with the prize in tow, without the slightest injury to either, and gratefully attribute our escape to something more than chance or human agency.
We know that a large steamer was struck once and a smaller one twice, by our shot; the former was reported to be seriously injured.
The prize is a large schooner, her hold coated with zinc, and filled with water for Fortress Monroe
.--Richmond Dispatch, Jan
New York Herald account.