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[46] to believe that the gunboat could easily be captured, and that their confidence in their leaders was so great that they would have followed anywhere.1

In the remarkable naval battle of Mobile Bay, Aug. 5, 1864, which was virtually a contest between the Confederate ram Tennessee, claimed as invulnerable, and the monitors, Admiral Porter attributes the highest merit of all to a Massachusetts officer, Commander (now admiral) Nicholson of the Manhattan, who alone pierced by his shot the formidable armor of the Tennessee. ‘The charge for the fifteen-inch gun, as regulated by the Bureau of Ordnance, was only thirty-five pounds of powder; but Captain Nicholson nearly doubled it, using sixty-five pounds, taking the responsibility of bursting the gun, but proving in fact that it could bear that charge for a limited number of rounds. The result was that he pierced the armor of the ram and dispelled the illusion of Buchanan and his men,—that their ram was invulnerable.’2


Xii. Operations in North Carolina.

The expedition to North Carolina under General Burnside was one of the most important events in the early part of the war, as it afforded a valuable test of the new levies; and its immediate success was striking, although it led to no such great final results as had been looked for. His force, which embarked at Annapolis on Jan. 5, 1862, included five Massachusetts regiments; the 21st (Lieutenant-Colonel Maggi), brigaded under General Reno, and the following, brigaded under General Foster: the 23d (Colonel Kurtz), the 24th or New England Guards Regiment (Col. T. G. Stevenson), the 25th (Colonel Upton) and the 27th (Col. H. C. Lee). The expedition, including about twelve thousand men in all,3 encountered severe storms, arrived at Hatteras Inlet January 14, and met with great difficulty in crossing the bar, so that it was reported in Boston as lost. After landing at Roanoke Island on February 7, an advance was made early on February 8, the 25th Mass. being placed in the front, with Co. A, Capt. (afterwards general) Josiah Pickett in command, and preceding as skirmishers,

1 Commander Selfridge's report, with Admiral Porter's commentaries, may be found in the latter's Naval History of the Civil War, p. 514.

2 Porter's Naval History of the Civil War, p. 594. Compare p. 578 (‘the only shot which penetrated’). In Captain Nicholson's report (p. 584) he claims four shots from the Manhattan as ‘doing most of the real injuries she [the Tennessee] has sustained.’

3 Present for duty 12,589. (Official War Records, IX, 358.)

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