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[306] from the yacht, and many exhausted men, including the Alabama's commander, were picked up. This done, the yacht steamed away for England.

During the action the Alabama fired about three hundred and seventy times, but only twenty-eight of her shots struck the Federal vessel, whose immunity from harm was due, perhaps, in a measure, to the fact that she had slung along her sides her spare chains sheathed with light planking, from which some of the shells and even the solid shot of her foe had bounded harmlessly. The Kearsarge fired one hundred and seventy-three projectiles, and the Alabama was probably struck about as many times as was the Kearsarge. The latter had a narrow escape from destruction, for after the action there was found lodged in her stern-post a 100-pound shell that was unexploded. A close student of such matters and an authority on this special sea-fight, Passed Assistant Engineer Frank M. Bennett, has written about this shell as follows,

“The truth is, however, that this shell struck the counter of the Kearsarge at least twenty feet from the stern-post and would have exploded there, where the damage would have been slight, had it possessed any explosive power, for it was a percussion shell. . . .”

When she sank, the famous Confederate cruiser scarcely left a trace behind. A broken whale-boat, a few floating oars and struggling swimmers alone were on the surface. Her loss in killed and wounded was not far from forty, and one officer, Assistant Surgeon Llewellyn, and nineteen men, including the carpenter and one assistant engineer, were drowned. On board the Kearsarge there were but three casualties and no deaths, although a brave and gallant sailor, William Gowin, died a few weeks later from his wounds. When the news reached him that the Alabama's colors had been lowered, he insisted that the surgeon who was attending him should go on deck and join in the ringing cheers of victory.

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