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[101] in flames. This vessel was said to be the Curlew, and is supposed to have been the flag-ship of Commodore Lynch, the rebel commander. She was struck by a hundred-pound shell from the Parrott gun on the Southfield, which exploded on her deck.

The contest between our gunboats and the rebel battery is still continued, but is kept up by the battery at long intervals. The white puffs of smoke from our vessels are frequent, and the roar of our guns and hum of the projectiles fill the air with terrible sounds constantly. Our vessels are frequently enveloped in smoke so impenetrable as to obscure them entirely.

In order to cover the landing of the troops, at three in the afternoon three of our gunboats took positions along the shore to the south of the battery, in order to shell the woods; and their shells are now bursting high in the air, and dropping a shower of fragments among the trees, every few minutes. Two boats have taken position close to the landing-point, to more effectually cover the landing of our men.

Seeing a portion of our gunboat fleet drawn off in another direction, six of the rebel craft appear under the shore at a quarter past four o'clock, and another conflict is opened. A small tug, in which Gen. Burnside is making the circuit of the fleet, passes within easy range of the rebel vessels, and a shell from one of their guns explodes over them, showering the water about with the fragments, one of which came on board the tug. No person was injured, however. For half an hour this fight continued, and was maintained on both sides with great spirit; after which, the rebels put off up the sound and disappeared.

The fire from the battery was continued until our vessels hauled off for the night, about six o'clock, the last shot being fired by the battery. All became quiet in a very short time, and the only light that could be discerned on shore was the ruddy glow of the smouldering fire of the burnt quarters of the rebels. About fifteen hundred missiles of various kinds were thrown into the rebel battery by our vessels, and nearly two thousand were thrown throughout the bombardment. The bravery of the garrison was universally commended, with that true chivalrous spirit that recognises a noble quality even in an enemy. Such courage would certainly hold out until morning, and all were in expectation of a renewal of the conflict.

Our casualties were extremely slight. Five were killed and ten wounded. The bursting of a thirty-two-pounder rifled gun on the after-deck of the gunboat Hetzel--which shattered the gun-carriage and destroyed a portion of the bulwarks, cutting through the deck into the upper part of the hull--wounded five men, one only seriously. The master's mate of the gunboat J. N. Seymour was killed by a shell that took off the upper part of the skull.

The conduct of the officers and men of the naval squadron is highly commendable. The spirit with which the engagement was commenced and kept up is an indication of the courage of the officers of our navy. Some of the vessels were in critical positions at different periods during the fight, owing to the dangerous character of the water. The Ranger grounded twice under the guns of the battery, and was hauled off by Mr. Charles H. Hazwell, of New-York, engineer-in-chief of the fleet of army gunboats, who was on board the tug Tempest, and detailed to aid such vessels as were disabled in the action. The impatience of the brave fellows on board to deliver their fire was such, that as soon as the vessel was hauled broadside to the battery, and before she was free, bang went their guns, their shot falling accurately inside the battery. The Chasseur grounded once, but worked herself off in a short time. A shot entered the Louisiana just below the hawser-pipe, passed through the chain-locker, shattering several links of her chain, and exploded in the hold among some sacks of coal, blowing off the hatches, which were battened down. Singularly enough, no one on board was injured, and but little damage done the vessel.

The Stars and Stripes was engaged six hours, and came as near the battery as her draft would permit. She once ventured too close, and grounded, but succeeded in steaming off. At one period of the engagement, she was situated between the gunboats of the enemy and the battery, and her entire armament was actively engaged. From her gun-deck she threw eight-inch shells from two sixty-four-pounder guns on each side, while her twenty-pounder Parrott gun and two rifled howitzers on the upper deck poured in their fire. A shot cut one of the stays, and another passed between her masts. While the Stars and Stripes was aground for two hours, she kept up a constant fire, and received the fire of the battery. Her officers behaved in the most cool and courageous manner, proving themselves worthy the cause they defended.

The Hunchback, with her one hundred-pound Parrott, sent terrific messengers into the gunboat and the battery.

The gunboats of the coast division, under the direction of Commander Hazard, U. S.N., did excellent service. The Vidette was prominently engaged during the day, and received a shot in her quarter, which did little damage.

The plan of attack varied from the original plan, which was arranged in expectation of batteries just at the inlet, which is but two hundred feet wide, and so difficult that great care is necessary in navigating it. Had such batteries existed, the resistance to be overcome by us would have been vastly increased. The absence of these batteries changed the plan of attack from three columns to two. The foresight of Commodore Goldsborough kept our fleet out of a trap which, if we should have entered, would have annihilated it.

The effective nature of our fire was subsequently proved by the fact that every vessel of the rebel fleet was struck in the engagement.

About four o'clock, all our transports had passed through the inlet, and were anchored beyond the range of the guns of the battery.

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