, and, doubtless, the phantom of a naval engagement in the Tagus
floated before their eyes.
Before the setting of the sun on that mild, calm day, these two men-of-war appeared off the entrance to the port.
This, in no small degree, added to the nervousness on shore.
It had certainly the appearance, if not confirmation strong, of a pursuit, and seemed as though these vessels had not seen enough of the Stonewall
But this idea was dispelled by their coming into the port and anchoring.
By so doing they subjected themselves to the international rule — prohibiting therm from leaving the port until the lapse of twenty-four hours after the departure of the Stonewall
The weather was good, the sea was smooth, and it was argued that if they desired to meet the Stonewall
in action they would have remained outside.
Perhaps the weather was too
good, the sea too smooth — conditions most favorable to the Stonewall
, for in a heavy sea she could not have fought her guns at all, while the Niagara
could have not only fought hers, but, towering above, could have run over her, provided
she had not run “afoul” of her most salient point, the spur at the bow. It is not, however, my purpose to express an opinion as to how the Stonewall
might have been destroyed.
The coaling of the vessel was not finished until after the night had set in, when the pilot of the port refused to take her out to sea, as he did not consider it safe to attempt doing so. Although the quiet of the night, for all was calm and still, had not brought peaceful rest to the slumbers of the Lisbon officials while these belligerents lay in their port, relief came at early dawn when they saw this troublesome little craft turn her bow towards the ocean and proceed down the river.
On passing the Niagara
(they had anchored about a mile below), the commander of the Stonewall
was pleased to see on the “quarter-deck” of the Niagara
his quondam shipmate and friend, bearing the rank of commodore.
They had cruised in the West Indies
on board of the same ship, the “old Erie
,” when one was “sailing master,” the other a “green midshipman.”
This midshipman, ere the end of the cruise, had seen some service, had passed some dangers during the three years spent in those boisterous latitudes.
When the “Erie
” was visited by that dire disease, the yellow fever, it pervaded the ship from cabin to forecastle, striking down the captain, most of the officers and forty of her crew in the course of a few days.
The captain, ere he became too ill, gave this midshipman orders, with the appointment of an “acting lieutenant
,” to take the ship into