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[93]

The “Pawnee

The quarterdeck and starboard battery of U. S. S. “Pawnee” appear here from photographs taken in Charleston Harbor. Here on the morning of April 12, 1861, officers and crew watched in an agony of suspense the pitiless iron rain that fell upon Sumter in the bombardment that began the Civil War. The “Pawnee,” the “Pocohontas,” the “Harriet Lane,” and the “Baltic,” together with two tugs, had sailed from New York with provisions and reinforcements for Major Anderson's little garrison. As the vessels approached Charleston Harbor, before daylight of April 12th, they heard the boom of shotted guns; and in the gray dawn, smoke rose sullenly in the direction of Sumter. When daylight disclosed the Stars and Stripes still waving over the fort, amid the roar of heavy artillery, Commander Stephen Clegg Rowan, of the “Pawnee,” immediately volunteered to run his vessel in to the relief of the garrison. Lieutenant Gustavus V. Fox, later Assistant Secretary of the Federal Navy, in command of this expedition, would not consent to such a perilous undertaking, and the fleet lay helplessly by until the surrender of the heroic defenders at four o'clock in the afternoon of the 13th. The next day the garrison was taken off in the “Baltic.” The “Pawnee” was next assigned to patrol duty in the Potomac, and on May 24th, in cooperation with the zouaves of the lamented Ellsworth, compelled the Confederates to evacuate Alexandria. Lieutenant Reigart B. Lowry landed and took formal possession of the town, with a detachment of seamen. This was the first Federal foothold in Virginia.

On the “Pawnee” --the ship that saw Sumter captured

Guns of the “Pawnee


 

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