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“ [224] of two of her guns were badly broken.” This is evidently a mistake, as the Albemarle has but two guns, each one working in three ports, and not a man on board was injured. The muzzle of one gun was broken, and the four deserters from the ram report that it was damaged in the early part of the action on the port side, but they continued to use it throughout the engagement. The stems of the double-enders, as well as the rudder-guards, are nearly perpendicular, are very frail, and are not calculated to run up on the deck. Had they been armed, I am of opinion that the Sassacus would have brought sufficient weight upon the deck to have sunk him.

I herewith enclose a diagram of the position of the Sassacus and Albemarle at the time of collision, and after they had been separated by the ram's steaming ahead. I have sent also to Rear-Admiral Lee a fragment of a solid shot fired from the one hundred-pounder rifle of the Sassacus when close alongside, proving that the various reports heretofore made of the invulnerability of the ram have not been much exaggerated.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant.

Melancton Smith, Captain and Senior Officer, in Sounds of N. C. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

U. S. Steamer Sassacus, off Bluff point, Albemarle Sound, (Midnight,) May 5, 1864.
Sir: I have not had opportunity to send you a written despatch earlier. I sent you verbal reports by the Ceres, which it appears you have not received.

I struck the. ram Albemarle fairly, just abaft her beam, at about nine or ten knots speed. The blow jarred and careened her so much that the water flowed freely over her decks, and gave her so great a tilt,.that I at one time hoped I should sink her. I kept the engine going, and retained my position there, forcing her broadside to for some ten minutes, hoping some of our gunboats might get up alongside, opposite to me, as she was unable to harm them by ramming. Finding this could not be, and she starting ahead, the Sassacus slued obliquely towards her starboard side, when she fired, raking us, putting a one hundred-pound rifle shot clean through our starboard boiler, fore and aft. We then fired the pivot rifle, striking her port side, and a fragment of this shot flew back upon my deck. This shot was broken into fragments. I fired again with similar results. I put three rifle shot into her port, and the muzzles of two of her guns were badly broken. The shock of the collision was heavy, but did me no damage that I yet know, except breaking and sluing aside the projection outside the rudder. She does not leak. I received two severe shots from the ram while alongside of her, which were returned with interest.

After the boiler was burst, the escape of steam blinded everybody, from the hurricane deck down to the fire-room. The steam was terrible. One man died instantly, and I shall probably lose four or five more. The chief engineer, Mr. Hobby, is badly scalded, but most nobly and heroically remained at his post, and saved us from a worse disaster, of explosion to the other boiler, and of being helpless. Soon as I drifted round clear of the ram, and amidst the suffocating steam, my men and officers jumped to the guns, and continued pouring out solid shot into the enemy, until we drifted down out of range. The engine was still working slowly on a vacuum, and I succeeded in getting her out of the way of the other gunboats, and was forced to withdraw finally from action only because the engine at last stopped.

In the mean time, before I rammed the ram, the enemy's gunboat Bombshell, with three rifle howitzers and one twenty-pounder Parrott, which had been playing upon us, was hulled, and ordered to surrender, which she did, hauling down the rebel flag. I ordered her to drop down below the scene of action and anchor, which she did.

After I got the Sassacus out of the way, I sent the army steam-tug to bring her alongside of me and anchor. This was done. The Ceres came up, and I removed from her the officers and men captured from the Bombshell; they are now on board this vessel. I sent a prize crew to the Bombshell, started her fires, and I believe she is now ready to move under steam.

I was compelled to haul all fires on board of this vessel, but am now trying to get steam on the port boiler. Some pipes are knocked away, yet I hope to get able to move slowly to-morrow. The starboard boiler is, I fear, totally ruined. I have no wounded to speak of from the enemy's shot. We were hulled several times, and the injury to the boiler is, I believe, the most serious I have.

My people behaved most gallantly; the officers nobly. I believe the ram is damaged; but if solid shot split into fragments, and fly back upon my deck, it is a proof that she is more formidable than the Atlanta or Merrimac.

When alongside of her we threw grenades down her hawse hatch from aloft. I had charges of powder prepared ready to throw down her stack, but could not do it from aloft.

She played musketry upon me severely all the time. I was well prepared for my work, and so far as I can know, the effort to run her down was fairly made. She is too strong for us.

I regret most profoundly that I was obliged to drift out of the fight just as it was becoming interesting, and when my services were still needed, but I fear I am now totally hors de combat. I shall await your orders here, as I learn the enemy has been driven out of the sound into his retreat. If we did not gain a victory, we have not suffered a defeat, and the enemy was driven before our wooden boats.

Be pleased to send me instructions about the Bombshell and my own ship. I will endeavor to send you a more specific report soon, and I pray you will excuse this hasty and imperfect one.

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

F. A. Roe, Lieutenant-Commander. Captain M. Smith, Commanding Naval Forces, Sounds of North Carolina.

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