enormous projectile rushes through its huge para-bola, with the weight of ten thousand tons, home to its mark.
That mark is the face of Sumter
, which already flying displays palpable proofs of the horrid impact.
Half — a dozen ugly pock-marks show conspicuous, and a huge crater is formed in the parapet near the eastern angle.
We look with interest at these effects, and look forward with good hope to seeing a breach at length effected, if only the iron-clads can remain long enough under fire to batter away.
If only they could have remained!
But what craft, pray, could
remain under such a hurricane of fire?
And what is this coining down out of the fight?
It is the Keokuk
; we know her by her double turret.
She has defied Sumter
under its very walls, and now comes out to report to the flag-ship that she has received her death-blow, and is in a sinking condition!
The flag-ship herself has had one of her port-shutters shot away, thus exposing her gun-deck, and red-hot shot has penetrated her wooden bows.
In addition, three others showed signs of disablement, and there was little more than sufficient daylight left for the fleet to gain its old anchorage.
At five o'clock the Admiral
makes signal to retire.
Beyond the fact that half the fleet was disabled, neither those who were engaged, nor we who were spectators, had any means of ascertaining the nature of the damage our iron-clads had sustained until the fleet had retired and resumed its old anchorage off the shore of Morris Island
At the conclusion of the fight, however, I obtained the use of a steam-tug, and was thus enabled to pass from vessel to vessel.
I spent the entire night in this work, and have thus the means to report definitely of the amount and nature of the damage they received.
From the nature of the circumstances, however, the indications can be purely of a descriptive character, without any claim to scientific precision.
received in all thirty wounds, several of them bad fractures of the deck and sides, below and above the water-line.
The most fatal blow, however, was given by a heavy rifled shot, which struck the pilot-house, and dislodged several of the bolts, one of which, driven violently inward, wounded all of the three inmates of the pilot-house — the Captain
, (Captain Downs
,) the Pilot
, (Isaac Sofield
,) and the Quartermaster
, (Edward Cobb
.) The Quartermaster had been struck by the bolt on the back of the skull, which received a compound comminuted fracture.
When I saw the poor fellow, late at night, he was in a state of coma, his life ebbing away.
He died this morning.
The pilot's wound was a severe contusion of the neck and shoulder, and he is doing well.
received merely a slight contusion of the foot.
Other bolts were driven in, in the turret also, and the following were wounded: John McAlister
, seaman, (Canada
,) concussion of brain; John Jackson
, seaman, (Massachusetts
;) Roland Martin
, seaman, (Massachusetts
;) and James Murry
, seaman, (Massachusetts
,) slightly hurt by bolts in the turret.
also received twenty-five or thirty wounds.
The most extraordinary shot was from a large ten-inch rifled projectile, which struck the top of the turret, scooping out a huge portion of the iron, breaking all of the eleven plates of an inch thickness each, and spending its force on the pilot-house, (which is placed on the top of the turret,) in which it made a crater three inches deep, and producing such a shock on the pilot-house as to start its top and raise it up three inches! Had not the force of the impact been broken on the turret, there can be little doubt that this shot would have gone clean through the pilot-house.
Another shot hit the turret, forcing the place struck inward, and producing a big swell on the interior.
The same shock disabled the carriage of the eleven-inch gun, while portions of the interior iron-casing fell down, and, lodging in the groove of the turret, stopped its revolution.
, besides receiving a number of wounds, had her turret so jarred that the cover of the port could not be opened, and consequently the fifteen-inch gun could not be used.
These three are all of the monitor type.
In addition, the other monitors each received shots more or less, though not disabling them.
Thus the Catskill
was hit twenty times.
The worst wound was from a rifled shot, which broke the deck-plating forward, going through it, breaking a beam beneath, and spending its force on an iron stanchion, which it settled half an inch.
The Ironsides was frequently struck.
One of the shots broke off and carried away one of her port shutters, and her wooden bows were penetrated by shell, though they were prevented from doing the damage they otherwise must have done, by Commodore Turner
's precaution of protecting the exposed part of the vessel with sand-bags.
But the poor Keokuk
—— she, of all others, was the most fearfully maltreated.
This vessel was struck ninety times, and she had nineteen holes above and below the water-line, some of a size through which a boy might crawl.
Her turrets (five and three quarter inches of iron in thick-ness) were fairly riddled and came out of the contest mere sieves.
During the action twelve of her men were wounded, among whom was her commander, the gallant Rhind
The others are as follows:
, Acting Ensign
, dangerously wounded; Charles McLaughlin
, seaman, dangerously wounded ; James Ryan
, seaman, severely; William McDonald
, seaman, severely; Richard Nicholson
, Quartermaster, slightly; David Chaplin
, seaman, slightly; C. B. Mott
, landsman, slightly ; J. W. Abbott
, seaman, slightly; J. O'Connor
, landsman, slightly; George Wilson
, seaman, slightly; J. Brown
, seaman, slightly; Henry Swords, seaman, slightly.
During the night her pumps were kept at work, to throw out the leaks she was making.