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[409] aboard, and according to their demand, gave his parole on behalf of himself and all the officers and crew. His report accompanies this.

The ram having been detained a half-hour or more, now ran out for the steamer Keystone State, which vessel and three others we tried to alarm by lights.

We saw a shell explode as it struck the ram without injuring her. Saw the Keystone State struck several times, and saw the steam and smoke blowing from her.

The firing then receded to the northward and eastward, and was pretty brisk at the head of the line. I set every body at work taking care of our wounded, pumping the ship, stopping leaks, examining the engines, etc.

About six A. M. got things in order to stop a little steam, and hove up anchor. The Stettin and Flag, seeing our condition, I told them they might be wanted to the southward to pick up men, the fighting now being over.

In conclusion, I have to say that in the squadron, where all the vessels were conspicuous for vigilance, this ship has never been found wanting. Every thing was done that circumstances permitted, and in a proper manner.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Lieutenant Commander Abbott's report.

sir: In obedience to your order, I proceeded to the rebel ram, and was received by Lieutenants Parker and Phyrock, and conducted by the former inside of the house, where I was received by her captain. His name I did not learn. I told him I had come in the name of Capt. Stell-wagen to give up the U. S. steamer Mercedita, she being in a sinking and perfectly defenseless condition.

They asked me about the condition of our boats and the number of the crew. I told them our boats were not large enough, nor in a proper condition to carry our number of crew.

After privately consulting with the Commodore the Captain returned to me, saying: “That they had concluded to parole our officers and crew, provided I would pledge my sacred word of honor that neither I or any of the officers and crew of the Mercedita would again take up arms against the confederate States during the war, unless legally and regularly exchanged as prisoners of war.”

Believing it to be the proper course to pursue at that time, I consented. I was then informed that I could return to the Mercedita.

I will here state in this report that I was on deck at the time the smoke of the ram was discovered, and in less than two minutes she was into us.

Your order to fire into her could not be obeyed, as no gun in the ship could be depressed or trained to hit her, though every effort was made to do so, she being so low in the water, and coming upon us “quartering.” We had only time to get the watch to their quarters, and before we could slip our cable, we were without steam, a shell having passed completely through the ship and boilers.

I am, very respectfully,

T. Abbott, Lieutenant Commander. Captain Henry S. Stellwagen, U. S. Steamer Mercedita.


Commander Leroy's report.

sir: I have to report that about five o'clock on this day, January thirty-first, while at anchor off the main entrance of the harbor of Charleston, the ship was approached by what was supposed to be a steamer, but regarding her appearance as suspicious, I ordered the cable slipped, and fired a gun, which was responded to by a shell, when I ordered the guns to be fired as they could be brought to bear upon the object. On putting my head to the eastward it was discovered that there was one on either quarter, and we made them out from their peculiar construction to be iron-clads after the model of the Merrimac.

Owing to a fire in the hold, we stood to the northward about ten minutes, and shoaling water kept south-east about ten minutes, to enable us to subdue the fire ; and then I turned around, and, under full steam, proposed attempting to run down the rain; but about six A. M. a shell from one of them entered on the port-side under the forward wheel-house guard, passing through the port steam-chimney, and landed in the starboard, depriving us of our motive power. Ten rifle-shell struck the ship and two burst on the quarter-deck; most of them striking the hull, being near and below the water-line. Our steam-chimneys being destroyed, our motive power was lost, and our situation became critical. There were two feet of water in the ship, and leaking badly, the water rising rapidly and the fire-hold on fire.

Others of the squadron coming along, the ram that had injured us so much altered her course, and before our wheels entirely stopped we were enabled to get a hawser from the Memphis, and were taken in tow.

I regret to report our casualties very large. Some twenty were killed and twenty wounded. Among the killed I have to mention the surgeon of the ship, Assistant Surgeon Jacob H. Gotwold, who was killed while in the act of rendering assistance to some of the wounded. Captain Wat-maugh, of the Memphis, kindly gave us the services of Acting Assistant Surgeon Brown, to whom I feel much indebted for the attention he has exhibited in caring for the wounded. Being unable to communicate with the senior officer present, personally or by signal, I deemed it my duty (Commander Frailey advising the step) to make the best of my way to Port Royal; Commander Frailey, by my request, advising the senior officer that I would leave in tow of the Memphis unless he gave other orders.

Accompanying please find list of casualties. In conclusion, I beg to call attention to the desire manifested by all under my command to destroy the enemy, and particularly to the cool and


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