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[215] disengaged and resumed her firing, the engagement became general; the smaller vessels firing so rapidly that it was dangerous for the larger ones to approach, and they appeared also to be ignorant of all signals, as they answered without obeying them. The engagement continued until about 7.30, when, it becoming dark, the Commodore Hull and Ceres were sent ahead to keep the ram in sight, and to remain on picket duty off the mouth of the Roanoke River, if he succeeded in entering it; the Mattabesett, Wyalusing, Miami, and Whitehead coming to anchor in the sound two miles and a half below. Eight torpedoes have been furnished by the army, and an attempt was made last night to place them in the mouth of the river: the entrance being watched, it was found impracticable. Another effort was made to-day, at two o'clock P. M., when. the ram was discovered two miles above on his way out. During the engagement a seine was laid out across the ram's bow, in obedience to orders, to try and foul his propeller, but he passed over it without injury. A torpedo was rigged out from the bow of the Miami, and she was ordered to go ahead and attempt to explode it, but from some cause, yet unexplained, it was not done. She ran up, however, sheered off and delivered her broadside, and continued to fire at him rapidly. The injuries sustained by the ram are thought to be considerable, but his motive power is evidently uninjured. His boats were knocked off from the decks, and his stack riddled, and it is also believed that one of his guns was disabled. The ram is certainly very formidable. He is fast for that class of vessel, making from six to seven knots, turns quickly, and is armed with heavy guns, as is proved by the one hundred-pounder Brooks projectile that entered and lodged in the Mattabesett, and one hundred-pounder Whitworth shot received by the Wyalusing, while the shot fired at him were seen to strike fire upon the casemates and hull, flying Upwards and falling in the water without having had any perceptible effect upon the vessel. I had tried the effect of ramming (as suggested by the department) in the case of the Sassacus, and was deterred from repeating the experiment by the injury she had sustained, and a signal from the Wyalusing that she was sinking, which, if the latter had been correct, (and I was not informed to the contrary until after the vessels came to anchor,) would have left too small a force of efficient vessels to keep the control of the sound, which I now hold, and shall be able to maintain against any rebel force that they will be able to organize at this point when present damages are repaired. I am convinced that side-wheel steamers cannot be laid alongside of the Albemarle without totally disabling their wheels, which is the reason for not adopting the suggestion contained in your order to me of the twenty-third instant. It is reported that the rebel barges with troops were at the mouth of the Croatan River, ready to come out, and a steamer was seen in that direction; but in regard to the first I have no positive information.

I herewith enclose a list of casualties on board the several vessels engaged, and will forward the detailed reports of the expenditure of ammunition and damages they sustained so soon as they are received from the commanding officer. I also forward you a hurried sketch of the appearance of the ram.

I am sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Melancton Smith, Captain, and Senior Officer of the Sound. Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, Commanding N. A. B. Squadron.

Additional report of Capt. Smith.

United States steamer Mattabesett, off Roanoke River, May 5, 1864.
Sir: I should have embodied in my report the number of prisoners, arms, &c., captured in the Bombshell, but the Sassacus, who took her in charge after being herself disabled, is anchored some distance below, and has not communicated with me, and I have no available steamer to communicate with him. I am trying again to place torpedoes in the bend of the Roanoke River, two miles and a haif from the mouth.

I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Melancton Smith, Captain. Acting Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, Commanding N. A. B. Squadron.

General order as to plan of attack.

United States steamer Mattabesett, Albemarle Sound, May 2, 1864.
the steamers will advance in the third order of steaming, the Miami leading the second line of steamers.

Commodore Hull,Wyalusing,

The proposed plan of attack will be, for the large vessels to pass as close as possible to the ram, without endangering their wheels, delivering their fire, and rounding to immediately for a second discharge.

The steamer Miami will attack the ram, and endeavor to explode her torpedo at any moment she may have the advantage, or a favorable opportunity. Specific orders cannot be given for the attack, as the manoeuvring of the ram cannot be anticipated, and the only order considered necessary is to sink, destroy, or capture by some or all methods here suggested. The stern of the ram is to be fired at by any of the vessels having a heavy gun, taking care not to fire when any of our own vessels are in range. The propeller is to be fouled, if possible, by lines from the stems of our vessels, or with the fish-net, as heretofore proposed.

The stack of the ram is supposed to be capped, rendering it impossible to throw powder or shell down, but all vessels having hose should be prepared to lead them up under the cap in the event of getting alongside. The stern and ports are probably the most vulnerable points, and should

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