Boatswain's Department. Square-sail buntlines. Both vangs of main gaff. Starboard main-boom topping-lift. Peak halyards stranded. Port main-topmast stay and main-topmast back stay. One seine. All shrouds starboard main lower rigging stranded, and forward shroud of starboard fore lower rigging ditto; also one ratline carried away by same shot. Respectfully submitted. Commander Febiger seems to have handled his vessel well, and, with his officers and men, to deserve much credit for gallant conduct.
S. P. Lee, Acting Rear-Admiral.
Report of Lieut.-Commander F. A. Roe.
U. S. Steamer Sassacus, Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, May 6, 1864.Sir: I respectfully report on the action of this vessel with the rebel iron-clad Albemarle and gunboat Bombshell, at the head of Albemarle Sound, on the afternoon of the fifth instant, in company with the squadron under your command. Steaming up the sound, about four P. M. yesterday, the Sassacus occupied the station next astern the Mattabesett, and the Wyalusing following, when we made out the ram, accompanied by the Bombshell and another steamer, coming down, driving the Miami and picket boats before them. Following your lead in the Mattabesett, I headed up the pass on the starboard side of the ram, and when nearly abreast of her starboard beam the Sassacus delivered her broadside. In this time the ram sheered with her port helm, for the purpose of ramming, but our superior speed foiled her in this attempt, and the Sassacus passed around her stern with a hard port helm. Off the port quarter of the ram lay the Bombshell, which had opened fire simultaneous with the ram, with rifle guns, which had annoyed me a good deal. I gave her the starboard battery, each shot hulling her, when she displayed white flags, and signals of surrender. Passing up to close hail of her, I demanded of her if she had surrendered. They said they had, and the rebel flag was hauled down, and I ordered her to drop down out of the way, and anchor: this was done. As the Mattabesett had passed around the stern of the ram, and was heading down the sound again, the ram had turned partially round with a port helm, and now lay broadside to me. As the Sassacus had been drawn off some little distance by her operations and capture of the Bombshell, she had a good distance to get headway, and seeing a favorable moment before me, I ordered full steam and open throttle, and laid the ships fair for the broadside of the ram to run her down. The Sassacus struck her fairly, just abaft her starboard beam, in the position of the rear of the house or casemate, with a speed of nine to ten knots, making twenty-two revolutions, with thirty pounds steam. As I struck, she sent a hundred-pounder rifle shot through and through, from starboard bow to port side, on the berth deck. The collision was pretty heavy, and the ram careened a good deal, so much so, that the water washed over her deck forward and aft the casemate. At one time I thought she was going down; I kept the engine going, pushing, as I hoped, deeper and deeper into her, and also hoping it might be possible for some one of the boats to get up on the opposite side of me, and perhaps enable us to sink her, or at least, to get well on to him on all sides. I retained this position full ten minutes, throwing grenades down her deck hatch, and trying in vain to get powder into her smoke-stack, and receiving volleys of musketry, when the stern of the ram began to go round, and her broadside port bearing on our starboard bow, when the ram fired, and sent a hundred-pounder Brooks rifle shot through the starboard side on the berth deck, passing through the empty bunkers into the starboard boiler, clean through it, fore and aft, and finally lodging in the ward-room. In a moment the steam filled every portion of the ship, from the hurricane deck to the fire-rooms, killing some, stifling some, and rendering all movement for a time impossible. When the steam cleared away so I could look around me, I saw my antagonist was away from me, and steaming off. In the mean time the engine was going, as no one could do anything below, some sixteen men being scalded. I then put the helm hard a port, headed up the sound, and around to the land, in order to clear the field for the other boats. Soon as the steam cleared up, and the effect of the explosion over, the officers and men immediately went to the guns, and kept them going upon the enemy until we drifted out of range. I tried to ricochet several nine-inch shot, so that she might be struck on her bottom by the upward bound of the shot; but I had the mortification to see every shot strike the water inside of her, and rise on the opposite side of her. While alongside of her, and almost simultaneous with the fatal shot of the enemy, Acting Ensign Mayer sent a hundred-pounder solid shot at her port, which broke into fragments, one of which rebounded and fell on our deck, as did also some fragments of grenades. While thus together, I fired three separate shots into one of her ports; we clearly observed the muzzles of two of his guns broken very badly. After the separation of the two vessels, the Sassacus was headed finally down the sound, and continued to move very slowly, working on a vacuum, and finally stopped, when I dropped anchor. In the mean time the Mattabesett and Wyalusing gallantly went in, and the fight was nobly maintained by those vessels. While I regret the unfortunate accident which