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[478] artillery credit for their silence, but never even doubted that they were there just as General Forrest said they would be. Dawn had arrived, and with it our bow guns told the Yankees we meant business. Soon all was uproar in Johnsonville. Long files of infantry could be seen on the banks. Dozens of steamers, side by side, lined the shore. From out of this mass of vessels two or three gunboats made their appearance, saluting me as they arranged themselves side by side, heading toward me. I backed down stream; they came head on. The distance between us was about half a mile, about good point-blank range. I had given the entire command below decks to Sergeant Leonard, instructing him to fire as rapidly as possible. I was giving instructions to my pilots and watching the bank for our artillery, when my attention was attracted by the violent gestures of William Weaver, an Ohio river pilot and a member of my battery, whom I had placed in the pilot house in case of injury to my regular Tennessee-river pilot. I could not hear him speak, the din and uproar were terrific. Finally, I understood his gestures were to look at something in our rear, or down stream. On passing around the pilot house I saw a sight to make him gesticulate. There were seven of the largest Ohio river gunboats within easy gunshot range. Why they did not shoot I could not say, unless they were afraid of striking their friends who were in easy range just above me. I now was certain the artillery was not on the river below me else the gunboats below could not pass without my hearing the conflict. The vessels above me, no longer fearing an ambuscade, and doubtless not wishing to divide the honors of my capture with the Ohio river fleet, closed down on us rapidly. It was perfectly evident now we could not save our vessel. The only question was, should we surrender, or blow her up, taking our chances for escape? Having no one to consult with, I soon determined to blow her up. I ordered a number of mattresses, used by the mariners, and made of shavings, to be cut open and thrown into the magazine. On this was poured a barrel of oil. A man stood by with a burning lamp to touch it off when I gave the word, and not before. Another wistful look along the shore for Forrest, another shot at the enemy, and the order was given to head her hard down for shore. She struck a sand bar in three feet of water, and about seventy-five yards from the shore. The torch was applied, and almost before you could jump into the water the flames burst through the hurricane roof, the enemy firing several rounds of canister or grapeshot at us as we were wading and scrambling up the bank, but happily without injury. The gunboats withdrew a short distance, fearing our vessel in her death throes more than they did whilst living. Soon our

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