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[473] reserved his fire up to the moment of the sinking of his vessel, although then within two hundred yards of his intended victim. Whether this was done for the purpose of trying the effect of the torpedo he is believed to have had suspended from his bow before using his 15-inch guns, is more than any one now living can positively know, but the probabilities point so plainly in that direction that I am convinced of the justice of this belief.

It was the intention of Admiral Buchanan to ram the flagship Hartford and sink her, even if the Tennessee went down with her; but the only possible chance of accomplishing this object was by crossing her course as she steamed into the bay. As for catching a vessel going at a speed of twelve miles an hour with one utterly incapable of more than half that speed, it is to be presumed that even Lieutenant Kinney, of the Army Signal Corps, is seaman enough to comprehend the impossibility of such a feat. While endeavoring to cross the course of the Hartford and run into her, the bow gun of the Tennessee (a 7-inch rifle) was fired at her twice, at point-blank range, but from some unaccountable cause, both shots failed to do any execution. The Hartford had avoided the blow by slightly changing her course, and had passed beyond the ram into the bay without having received any material damage.

Just at this moment of supreme disappointment the crew of the Tennessee began to cheer, and upon inquiring the cause my attention was directed to the leading monitor of the fleet, and looking through one of the narrow slits in the side of the pilot-house, I discovered her to be in the act of going down, bottom upward, and one of her boats engaged in rescuing those who had managed to escape from her. Thrilling as such a scene would have been under other circumstances, the necessity for instant and assiduous attention to those who remained, and were now complete masters of the situation, precluded the possibility of giving more than a passing thought to the fate of the gallant souls who had gone down in the Tecumseh.

Lieutenant Kinney states that the “great ram,” after making an unsuccessful effort to sink or injure any of the Union vessels, and after receiving a heavier blow from the Monongahela than it had inflicted, also retired to the Fort, and almost in the same breath, he says that both that vessel and the Lackawana had their own prows destroyed, and were otherwise injured, by ramming the Tennessee, while the “huge iron frame of that vessel scarcely felt the shock.” This, however, is a mere inconsistency, and conveys the truth; it can, therefore, be the more easily excused in one who attempts to become the historian

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