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Colonel Wardrop requested to know the object, and was informed that it was to hold possession of Gosport Navy Yard. Colonel Wardrop reported to Captain Paulding, U. S.N., at four o'clock, P. M., and was ordered to embark on board of United-States steamer “Pawnee,” which was done at once, without a single ration; Captain Paulding saying he could not wait, and that rations would be obtained at the yard. Left Fort Monroe at five P. M. At dusk, reached the mouth of the Elizabeth River, and found the enemy had sunk five vessels in the channel to obstruct the passage. Between seven and eight P. M., a river steamer, loaded with passengers, passed us, bound to Norfolk. Our men were kept out of sight. At nine P. M., when within about two hundred yards of United-States frigate “Cumberland,” were hailed by an officer from her. They did not appear to hear our answer, when the officer hailed us again. Same effect. Then we distinctly heard from the deck of the “Cumberland” a voice, saying, “ Shall I fire, sir?” At the same moment, we saw six ports opened from United-States ship “Pennsylvania.” She was lying broadside to us. It was an anxious moment. It seemed as if our friends were intending to do the enemy's work. Another hail from the “Cumberland,” an answer from us, and the same voice, “Shall I fire, sir?” A hundred voices yelled “Pawnee,” and then cheer upon cheer broke from the “Cumberland” and “Pennsylvania,” and as heartily answered by us, who felt relieved from peril. The regiment immediately disembarked, and marched to a central position in the yard, and ordered to find quarters and rations; did not succeed in doing either. About eleven P. M., Captain Paulding informed Colonel Wardrop that he had been ordered to send out the United-States vessels “Merrimac,” “Raritan,” “Germantown,” and “Cumberland,” and destroy all public property that he could not carry away; that he had intended to hold the yard, if possible; but, from Captain Pendergast's representation, he doubted if he could. Captain Pendergast had felt so sure of this, that he had commenced destroying property during the afternoon, and had scuttled the very ships that he had been ordered to take away. Colonel Wardrop thought the yard might be held, and begged that Captain Paulding would consider the great stake, and try by some means to save the place. Captain Paulding said he would consult again before deciding. Near midnight, Captain Paulding informed Colonel Wardrop, in presence of Captain Pendergast, that he could not hold the yard, but should destroy all the buildings and ships and other property. Colonel Wardrop remonstrated strongly; advising that the “Cumberland” retain her position, while the “Pawnee” ran up and down the river, preventing the enemy from sinking any more obstruction, or building batteries on the

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David W. Wardrop (6)
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