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[229] difficult to know how to steer; and as in the impenetrable gloom the only object at which they could aim was the flash of the guns, the danger became imminent that they might fire into each other. This gave the rebels great advantage; for with their stationary guns trained upon the river, though they fired into dense darkness, they could hardly fire amiss. Occasionally a gust of wind would sweep away the smoke, slightly revealing the scene in the light of the great bonfire on the bluff. Again the black, stifling canopy would settle down, and all was Egyptian darkness.

At one time, just as the “Richmond” was prepared to pour a deadly fire into a supposed battery, whose flash the gunners had just perceived, Lieutenant Terry shouted out, “Hold on, you are firing into the ‘Hartford!’ ” Another quarter of a minute and they would have been pouring a destructive broadside into the flagship which could scarcely have failed to sink her.

A shell from a rebel battery entered the starboard port of the “Richmond,” and burst with a terrific explosion directly under the gun. One fragment splintered the gun-carriage. Another made a deep indentation in the gun itself. Two other fragments struck the unfortunate boatswain's mate, cutting off both legs at the knee, and one arm at the elbow. He soon died, with his last breath saying, “Don't give up the ship, lads!” The whole ship reeled under the concussion as if tossed by an earthquake.

The river at Port Hudson, as we have mentioned, makes a majestic curve. Rebel cannon were planted along the concave brow of the crescent-shaped bluffs of the eastern shore, while beneath the bluff, near the water's edge,

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