the ram was out; we also discovered at the same time that our picket boats were falling back, pursued by the ram and two steamers in company. We immediately beat to quarters, (at twenty-seven minutes past four o'clock ;) being in close range, about five hundred yards, we opened fire, simultaneously with the Mattabesett and Sassacus, passing the ram at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards, firing rapidly. In rounding the ram we came in contact with one of her consorts. It was my intention to run her down, but discovered in time she had surrendered; we immediately backed clear of her, and again attacked the ram, which had been in contact with the Sassacus, who had run into her. As she cleared from the Sassacus, in firing from our vessel we cut her signal halyards; she hauled down the flag, and I supposed she had surrendered, as she did not hoist it again during the action, but was soon convinced to the contrary. At 5.30 flag-ship made general signal to keep close in line; at 5.45 repeated the signal; at 5.55 made signal to this ship to cease firing. At this time we were passing around the ram to form again into line, which had been interrupted by the Second division, who were firing at long range and over this ship. At 6.05 resumed our position in close order, by signal from the flag-ship. At 6.45, having again passed around the ram, signals were made to cease firing. At this time a report was made to me by the executive officer and third assistant engineer, J. J. Donahoe, who was stationed at the bell, that the ship was sinking. I immediately signalized it, and sent an order to chief engineer to start all the pumps. He informed me that it was not necessary, as the ship was not making more water than usual. I was hailed from the flag-ship, but could not understand what was said. I made again for the ram, and followed her up closely, passing around her, and firing as often as possible at her, the distance varying from one hundred yards and upwards. Near the close of the action one of the pieces of the forward port-side plating of the ram was seen to fly off, from the effects of one of our shot. At 7.30 signal was made to cease firing, and by private signal we anchored at eight o'clock. We received the following damages: One shell exploded in the starboard wheel-house, cutting away two of the outer rims of the starboard wheel, and blowing off a portion of the top part of the wheel-house; passing through the aft pilot-house, damaging the steering wheel, breaking the compass, tearing off a portion of the plating, and passing through and through the mainmast about thirty feet above deck; also through the hurricane deck into the starboard bath-room, and chipping a piece off of the top of the aft howitzer mounted on the hurricane deck. The second shot passed between the bottom of the gig and the rail, knocking off all her under planking, carrying away the starboard smoke-stack guy, killing one of the men at the nine-inch gun, tearing away the stanchion supporting the hurricane deck amidships, then through the engineer's store-room on the port guard forehead. The third shot came in on the starboard side of the berth deck, near the dispensary, tearing away ladder, bulkhead; through the port coal-bunkers, passing out in the port side a few feet forward of the boiler. The fourth shot came in on the starboard quarter about three feet above the water line, passing through the cabin, destroying mirror, chairs, furniture, &c., &c., bulkhead, companion-way, pantries; striking against a knee in the aft room, on the port side of ward-room, glancing upwards, tearing up the deck plankings, starting the water-ways, and breaking away two of the starts for the breechings, landing on deck; this proved to be a hundred-pound Whitworth solid rifle shot. The fifth passed over the quarter deck in a parallel line with the pivot gun, passing through one of the port shutters. Pieces of exploded shell cut away one of the shrouds of the main rigging; also the brails, passing through the mainsail. The officers and crew fought bravely, and have merited my highest thanks for the manner in which they handled their several batteries. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them. My executive officer, Acting Master William R. Hathway, who is one of the oldest appointments in this grade, I strongly recommend for promotion. The surgeon and paymaster rendered me very important aid in the supply of ammunition, and in making themselves generally useful. The chief engineer, H. H. Stewart, handled the machinery in a most able manner. I am also indebted to my clerk, George H. White, Jr., who acted as my Aid, for the efficient manner in which he carried out my orders. Expended the following ammunition:
I enclose you the surgeon and chief engineer's report.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
|75||ten-pound charges, a hundred-pounder rifle.|
|47||solid shot, a hundred-pounder rifle.|
|20||5″ shell, a hundred-pounder rifle.|
|8||percussion shell, a hundred-pounder rifle.|
|40||thirteen-pound charges, nine-inch gun.|
|30||ten-pound charges, nine-inch gun.|
|37||solid shot, nine-inch gun.|
|33||5″ shell, nine-inch gun.|
|18||shell, twenty-four-pounder howitzer.|
|27||shrapnel, twenty-four-pounder howitzer.|
Agawam, May 16, 1864.Lieutenant-Commander Queen, his officers and men, appear to have done well their part in this gallant action.
S. P. Lee, Acting Rear-Admiral.