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[292] and so vamosed. We gave three cheers, and were then relieved from “quarters,” after an engagement of two hours. All hands were called to muster on the quarter-deck, and officers and men, begrimed with powder, assembled around the binnacle to hear the roll called. It was found that six did not answer to their names, and the corpses on the deck and wounded men on stretchers told the story.

At this moment the Pawnee came up, closely followed by the mortar-schooner C. P. Williams, which, though a sailing vessel, had come down from Folly River, some six miles, to our assistance, and showed the most praiseworthy promptness, although too late to participate in the engagement. The Pawnee never fired a gun or received a shot. The men “faced the music” with the most unflinching heroism, and did themselves credit. The Captain complimented them highly, and said that the victory was all due to their efforts. Two of the crew of the eleven-inch gun were almost instantly killed by shells, and the captain (a seaman) of the aft-howitzers was also killed by a rifle-shot, which took off the top of his head. One of the coal-heavers was badly wounded by the fragment of the anchor-bit, which was knocked to atoms by a shot, and two other men were quite badly injured, besides several others scratched by splinters. The enemy fled precipitately, leaving two large rifleguns and carriages, and many knapsacks and muskets, and one dead body.

We landed, but could not carry off the guns on account of the marsh, and so spiked them and threw them into the river. If we had not stood our ground so well, the “rebs” would have captured Legreeville and all our troops there, and would then have erected a battery so as to command the whole of the river. Our captain acted nobly, and we are all proud of him. All honor was shown to the brave fellows who fell in the action while in the performance of their duty. Their corpses were laid upon the starboard side of the quarter-deck, and carefully covered with the finest American ensign on the ship. Coffins were made for them on board the Pawnee, in which they were laid, and are now awaiting burial. A boat has just left the ship for the purpose of digging the graves, and most of us are expecting to be present at the burial, and are only too willing to do the heroes honor.

The guns used by the rebels were very heavy rifled pieces, and were worked with great rapidity.

We were struck twenty times, every shot passing through the ship or masts, and the deck was covered with splinters and blood. A rifle-shot struck the ship at the steerage, and, passing through, made a perfect lumber-room of it. The hole through the ship was as large as a hat, and much broken, and the shot passing through, broke up two of the berths on the starboard side and tore down the curtains, and, going on, struck the solid floor, making a long hole in it a foot wide. The shot then passed over to the engineer's side, breaking to atoms the glass, and passed through the lockers of the other two engineers, and then smashed Mr. S.'s berth all to pieces, ripping open his mattress and cutting the ends off from all the slats. We found the shot on the floor. It was more than a foot long, conical, and weighed thirty pounds. It was a wicked shot, and was evidently aimed at the engine, and if it had struck, as intended, a few feet further forward, it would probably have killed all in the engine-room and disabled the engine, when the boat would probably have been lost. Nothing but the mercy of the Almighty turned that tremendous missile from its course and saved the ship and our lives.

This is the severest fight we have had since the taking of Port Royal. Our proportion of killed and wounded is one in twelve.

H. W. R.

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