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[324] two miles distant. The “rattle” was sprung, calling all hands to quarters, and at the same time a rocket was fired, a signal to the Cambridge that the enemy was coming out. We now began to fire our broadside at the Nashville, which vessel had approached to within a mile and a half from us, feeling her way out the channel farthest from us — we lying almost at the entrance to one. The Cambridge was close by us at the time and seemed as if she was never to move. We continued firing at the rebel until she escaped from the channel, when she went out of sight in a “twinkling” almost. It was dead calm at the time, making it impossible for us to get under way. The Cambridge finally started off in the direction of our shells, but almost before she left us the Nashville was gone.

We fired some twenty-one guns, the Cambridge four; but to crown all, she fired them at what she knew not.

Unfortunately, she could not see the rebel, but fired probably because we did. If we had had a steamer instead of a sailing vessel, the privateer would not have escaped so easily; or if the Cambridge had seen her, and run down to the channel as soon as we made signals to her, there would have been an opportunity to head her off, and perhaps drive her back or capture her.

As it was, I hardly think she escaped without some damage, because our shells appeared to burst all around her. The captain of her laid his plans admirably, and in the same manner executed them. The time selected for her escape could not have been more opportune; it was just before the moon rose, and a heavy bank of clouds lined the eastern horizon, making it very difficult for any object between it and us to be seen.

I suppose the papers will rub us pretty hard, when it becomes known. It needs four steamers, or at least three, to effectually blockade this port, because there are two channels a mile apart.


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