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[76] replied: “I thought I had you, Commodore, but you were too much for me.”

“But how could you fight against the old flag?”

“Well, it did come hard at first; but if the North had only let us alone, there would have been no trouble. But they would not abide by the Constitution.”

Commodore Foote assured him that he and all the South were mistaken.

The Essex was formerly a ferry-boat used at St. Louis. She was enlarged and fitted up for the gunboat service, but is very differently constructed from the other boats. Her boilers are not below the water-line. They are surrounded by stanchions of white oak plank. When on board the Essex, a few weeks ago, I remarked to Capt. Porter that a shot entering one of the ports might be attended with unpleasant results. He agreed with me, but said that that was a contingency they could not guard against. The shot, however, which did the damage, did not come through one of the ports, but struck a few inches above, on the only spot at the bow where there was no plating!

Only one of the boats is wholly plated — the Benton. The others are plated at the bows and at the sides, in part. The Essex had the least mail of all. It is singular that the ball which did so much damage should have struck at the only vulnerable place at the bows.

The flag-ship Cincinnati fired one hundred and twelve shot; the St. Louis one hundred and sixteen; the Carondelet about one hundred; the Essex fifty-five; the Conestoga, Lexington and Tyler, a few each; making in all about four hundred shot.

The rebels replied spiritedly and with good aim, which is highly praised by Commodore Foote. They fired over three hundred shot. The Cincinnati was struck thirty-one times, the St. Louis seven, the Essex four. The Carondelet, I believe, did not receive a shot. Gen. Tilghman remarked to Commodore Foote, that “he knew the weak places of the boats, that he had accurate knowledge of their construction, and aimed accordingly.” But notwithstanding this, all, with the exception of the Essex, are ready for a fight to-day. One of the one hundred and twenty-eight pound shots struck an angle of the pilot-house on the Cincinnati with a force that jarred the entire boat from stem to stern, but did not penetrate the two and one half inch mail, beneath which, at the side of the pilot, stood the Commodore, his head but a few inches from the place. The boats have proved a success

When the rebel flag came down from the mast, the troops were a long distance from their assigned positions. The fight was over, and they had not seen it, and, what was more galling, they had not been able to participate in achieving the victory. Gen. Grant evidently did not understand that Commodore Foote was a man of his word, who believes in energetic action at close quarters. In giving me these details, Commodore Foote incidentally remarked that he was decidedly in favor of close action.

Under ordinary circumstances he should adopt the plan of Commodore Du Pont at Tybee, but in this case he was satisfied with the plan he had adopted, and which he had resolved to carry out, no matter what the events of the moment. He was satisfied that while one casemated gun on shore was equal to five afloat, a gun behind an embankment merely was but little more than one on shipboard. He received the surrendered property, and two hours later turned it all over to Gen. Grant, and proceeded to make other arrangements.

The troops, if they had been in position as was designed, would doubtless have bagged the entire rebel force; but being behind time, the fleet-footed rebels were far on their way towards Dover, when they got possession of the road in the rear of the intrenchments. A portion of the force was immediately started in pursuit, while another portion was detailed to accompany the three gunboats sent by Commodore Foote up the Tennessee River to destroy the railroad at Clarksville, and get possession of the three rebel gunboats afloat.

The Tyler, Lexington and Conestoga, all of them fast boats, under the command of Lieut. Phelps, were sent. They are not iron-clad, but it is not known that there are any batteries upon the river.

I have upon former occasions made the readers of the Journal somewhat acquainted with Commodore Foote, with his personal appearance, his sterling qualities as a man and a Christian gentleman. He has now shown that he is an able commander — not only able to plan, but to execute. To him belongs in a great measure the credit ot organizing this formidable naval force, of creating it with scanty materials, and against great difficulties. When he was informed that the rebels had ten to twenty thousand men in camp, he remarked that he was sorry for it, because if they stood their ground there must be a terrible slaughter, for he should take the Fort, or his vessels would go to the bottom.

This evening, notwithstanding his onerous duties, he has found time to sit down and give me these details. To him in particular are the readers of the Journal indebted for this full account. Aside from all these qualities of character, he is not afraid to have all men know that he recognises his obligations to his Divine Maker. A. gentleman remarked to him that he was getting nervous, and was afraid he did not sleep well. “I never slept better in my life than night before last, and I never prayed more fervently than on yesterday morning; but I couldn't sleep last night for thinking of those poor fellows on the Essex,” was the reply. No wonder that under such a commander the victory is ours. He has done his duty from patriotic and conscientious motives, and a grateful people will reward him.

The other officers and men, one and all, did their duty nobly. Commodore Foote informed me that his instructions were obeyed to the letter.

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