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[601] hours. The rebels kept a couple of guns on the upper batteries firing on the vessels, hitting some. of them several times without doing much damage. The Wabash and Powhatan being within their range, the object seemed mainly to disable them, but a rapid fire soon closed them up. Everything was coolly and systematically done throughout the day, and I witnessed some beautiful practice.

The army commenced landing about two o'clock, Captain Glisson, in the Santiago de Cuba, having shelled Flag-pond battery to ensure a safe landing, and they commenced to re-embark about five o'clock, the weather coming on thick and rainy. About a brigade were left on the beach during the night, covered by the gunboats. As our troops landed, sixty-five rebel soldiers hoisted the white flag and delivered themselves up, and were taken prisoners by the seamen landing the troops, and conveyed to the Santiago de Cuba. Two hundred and eighteen more gave themselves up to the reconnoitring party, all being desirous to quit the war.

I don't pretend to put my opinion in opposition to that of General Weitzel, who is a thorough soldier and an able engineer, and whose business it is to know more of assaulting than I do, but I can't help thinking that it was worth while to make the attempt after coming so far.

About twelve o'clock I sent in a detachment of double-enders, under Commander John Guest, to see if I could effect an entrance through the channel. The great number of wrecks in and about the bar has changed the whole formation, and where the original channel was we found a shallow bar.

I sent Lieutenant W. B. Cushing in to sound and buoy out a channel, if he could find one, with orders to Commander Guest to drag for torpedoes and be ready to run in by the buoys when ordered. The examination was not at all satisfactory. A very narrow and crooked channel was partly made out and buoyed, but running so close to the upper forts that boats could not work there.

Lieutenant Cushing went in in his boat as far as Zeke's Island, but his researches would not justify my attempting the passage with six double-enders, some of which had burst their rifled Parrott guns and injured many of their men.

As it was getting late, and the troops were making slow progress in landing, I withdrew the vessels and boats that were searching for the channel, and sent them to help land the troops, otherwise we might have succeeded in buoying it out, though it was a difficult thing for the boats to work under the fire of the upper batteries.

One boat belonging to the Tacony was sunk by a shell, and a man had his leg cut off. Still they stuck to their work until ordered to withdraw for other duty. In conclusion, allow me to draw your attention to the conduct of Commander Rhind and Lieutenant Preston. They engaged in the most perilous adventure that was, perhaps, ever undertaken, and though no material results have taken place from the effects of the explosion, that we know of, still it was not their fault.

As an incentive to others, I beg leave to recommend them for promotion; also, that of Lieutenant R. H. Lamson, who piloted them in and brought them off. No one in the squadron considered that their lives would be saved, and Commander Rhind and Lieutenant Preston had made an errangement to sacrifice themselves in case the vessel was boarded — a thing likely to happen.

I enclose herewith the report of Commander Rhind, with the names of the gallant fellows who volunteered for this desperate service. Allow me also to mention the name of Mr. Bradford, of the Coast Survey, who went in and sounded out the place where the Louisiana was to go in, and has always patiently performed every duty that he has been called on to carry out.

My thanks are due to Lieutenant Commander K. R. Breeze, fleet captain, for carrying about my orders to the fleet during the action, and for his general usefulness; to Lieutenant Commander H. A. Adams for his promptness in supplying the fleet with ammunition. Lieutenant M. W. Sanders, Signal Officer, whose whole time was occupied in making signals, performed his duty well; and my aids, Lieutenant S. W. Terry and Lieutenant S. W. Preston, afforded me valuable assistance.

I have not yet received a list of the casualties, but believe they were very few from the enemy's guns. We had killed and wounded about forty-five persons by the bursting of the Parrott guns.

I beg leave to suggest that no more be introduced into the service.

There is only one kind of firing (at close quarters) that is effective, and that is from nine, ten, and eleven-inch guns; they cannot be equalled.

Until further orders I shall go on and hammer away at the fort, hoping that in time the people in it will get tired and hand it over to us. It is a one-sided business altogether, and in the course of time we must dismount their guns, if, as General Weitzel says, we cannot “injure it as a defensive work.” The government may also think it of sufficient importance to undertake more serious operations against these works.

An army of a few thousand men investing it would soon get into it, with the aid of the navy. When smooth water permits I will go to work looking for a channel over the bar, which has not yet been found to my satisfaction.

I must not omit to pay a tribute to the officers and crew of the monitors-riding out heavy gales on an open coast without murmuring or complaining of the want of comfort, which must have been very serious. They have shown a degree of fortitude and perseverance

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A. C. Rhind (3)
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Weitzel (2)
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S. W. Terry (1)
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