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[304] in order to keep the two vessels from passing each other too rapidly, and to keep their respective broadsides bearing upon each other. Captain Winslow, in his report, says that he determined to keep full speed on and run under the stern of the Alabama and rake her. But Semmes sheered and kept his broadside to the Kearsarge. In consequence, the ships were forced into a circular track during the engagement.

For over an hour the two vessels fought, with their starboard sides constantly opposed. The Kearsarge had gone into the action with her fires raked perfectly clean and employing artificial draft; even the safety-valves were lashed down, and she kept at her utmost speed throughout the engagement. The men on her deck fought with the deliberation and coolness that had characterized her daily drills, and the engineer's division, after the action, came in for its share of praise. Semmes' crew fought with desperation and bravery, and the men stood bravely to their guns. But very soon the well-placed shots from the heavy 11-inch guns began to have their effect; the Alabama, stricken between wind and water, began to leak badly, and Captain Semmes and his officers soon perceived that they had but a short time longer to continue fighting. The chief engineer had reported that the water had begun to enter the fire-room, and First Lieutenant Kell, being sent below to ascertain the amount of the damage, came back on deck with the news that the ship was sinking. At once, Captain Semmes ordered his ship's head put toward the shore, but, the water rising, the Alabama's furnaces were soon flooded; she was doomed. Every thought was now directed toward saving the lives of the crew; the flag was hauled down, and Mr. Fullam, the Alabama's master's mate, was sent in a small boat to the Kearsarge with a request for immediate assistance in saving the wounded men. Before the Kearsarge's boats could reach the side of her adversary she settled and sank, leaving her officers and many of her crew struggling in the waves.

The Deerhound was soon among them; lines were thrown

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