,’ on the Ashley River
The 2500 men from Savannah
had arrived, and the Chief of Subsistence
was ordered to make proper provision for them.
The storm was evidently approaching.
Its premonitory signs, as reported by the Signal Corps, were—first, the increase of the enemy's force in the Stono
and the North Edisto
; second, the unusual activity visible among the vessels composing the fleet.
In fact, during the evening of the 5th, the ironclads, including the frigate New Ironsides
and eight monitors, had actually crossed the bar, and anchored in the main ship channel.
Though out of range as yet, they had not before approached so near.
There was but one conclusion to draw: the long-delayed and anxiously expected attack was now about to take place.
At last, on the 7th of April, a little after 2 P M., the monitors advanced for action.
It was with a feeling akin to relief that officers and men stepped into their positions, at the different batteries and pieces assigned them.
The long roll was beaten.
There would have been loud cheering, had not discipline and strict orders prevented.
By order of the Commandant at Sumter
three flags, the garrison, regimental, and Palmetto
flags, were hoisted; the band played ‘Dixie,’ and thirteen guns were fired, to salute the ensigns that floated high in the air, as if to say, ‘We are ready!’
's ships came up in the following order: four monitors—the Weehawken
, the Passaic
, the Montauk
, the Pa-tapsco;
then the New Ironsides
, as flag-ship; then the Catskill
, the Nantucket
, the Nahant
, and, bringing up the rear, the doubleturreted monitor Keokuk
They were commanded by experienced and gallant officers of the United States Navy.
Their armament, including that of the New Ironsides
, consisted of thirtythree guns ‘of the heaviest calibre ever used in war, to wit, 15 and 11 inch Dahlgren
guns, and 8-inch rifled pieces.’
The steam-ers Canandaigua, Housatonic, Unadilla, Wissahickon
, and Huron
constituted the reserve, and were kept outside the bar.
It may be of interest to submit an extract from the plan of attack and order of battle, adopted by the Admiral
and distributed to the various commandants who took part in the engagement: