eagerness to see what damage had been inflicted, a man crawled out of a hatch on the sloping topsides of the ram while she was so close that she was grating along beneath the Brooklyn's
A quartermaster, standing in the fore chains, hove the lead at him and knocked him overboard.
Undaunted, the ram turned upstream again, and the Mississippi
and the Kineo
, clearly outlined now in the glare of the burning fire-rafts, swung out into the channel and turned to meet her. If either had struck her fair they would have rolled her over like a log. Cleverly she eluded the onslaught and turned inshore; reaching the river bank, her crew swarmed out of her like ants.
Just then the Mississippi
gave her a broadside that knocked her into deeper water.
A few minutes later, all on fire, she passed Porter
's mortar vessels, and blew up with a faint explosion.
When the larger vessels came within the zone of fire and opened their broadsides, the cannonading was terrific.
Never before, in so few moments, had such a weight of metal been exchanged.
, in trying to avoid a fire-raft pushed by the Confederate tug Mosher
, had grounded; and the little steamer, which was under command of a river captain named Horace Sherman
, succeeded in lodging the huge torch along-side.
, from the quarter-deck, immediately took control of the situation.
Streams of water were turned on the flames that were leaping up the ship's sides and rigging; she appeared to be all ablaze, but at last Master
's Mate Allen
, who was in charge of the ship's fire brigade, succeeded in getting the flames under control, and by the time the flagship had worked off the bank and headed up the stream they were extinguished.
The dauntless little Mosher
received a broadside at close range and had sunk with all on board.
It was an awe-inspiring sight.
From the mortar batteries stationed down the stream the great shells rose in criss-cross fiery trails above the battle-smoke.
The continuous cannonading from the forts and vessels had resolved itself into a deep