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[212] and land, did not sail by chance in quest of adventure, but directed his course to places where the greatest number of the enemy's merchantmen were likely to be found, and to this the large number of captures he made is in no small degree attributable. On board one of the ships captured they got New York papers, from which he learned that General Banks, with a large fleet of transports, was to sail on a certain day for Galveston. On this he decided to go to the rendezvous appointed for his coal ship, and make all due preparation for a dash into the fleet when they should arrive at the harbor of Galveston, and therefore directed his course into the Gulf of Mexico.

In the meantime General Magruder had recaptured Galveston, so that on his arrival the lookout informed him that, instead of a fleet, there were five ships of war blockading the harbor and throwing shells into the town, from which his keen perception drew the proper conclusion that he had possession of the town, and that he was confronted by ships of war, not transports laden with troops. As each of the five ships observed by the lookout were supposed to be larger than his own, he had of course no disposition to run into that fleet. It therefore remained only to tempt one of the ships to follow him beyond supporting distance. The hope was soon realized, as a vessel was seen to come out from the fleet. The Alabama was under sail, and Captain Semmes says: ‘To carry out my design of decoying the enemy, I now wore ship as though I were fleeing from his pursuit, and lowered the propeller into the water. When about twenty miles from the fleet, the Alabama was prepared for action and wheeled to meet her pursuer. To the first hail made, the answer from the Alabama was, “This is her Britannic Majesty's steamer Petrel,” and the answer was, “This is the United States ship ——,” name not heard.’ Captain Semmes then directed the first lieutenant to call out through his trumpet, ‘This is the Confederate States steamer Alabama.’ A broadside was instantly returned by the enemy. Captain Semmes describes the state of the atmosphere as highly favorable to the conduct of sound, and the wind blowing in the direction of the enemy's fleet. The Federal Admiral, as afterward learned, immediately got under way with the Brooklyn and two others of his steamers to go to the rescue. The crews of both ships must have been standing at their guns, as the broadsides so instantly followed each other. In thirteen minutes after firing the first gun the enemy hoisted a light and fired an off-gun as a signal that he had been beaten. Captain Semmes steamed quite close to the Hatteras and asked if he had surrendered; then, if he was in want of assistance. An affirmative answer was given to both questions. The boats

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