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[208] deck on the starboard side abaft the casemate. The Sassacus steamed heavily, in the hope of forcing the vessel under. As the Sassacus came in contact, the Albemarle fired a rifle shell, which passed through both sides near the bow of the Sassacus. While in that position three solid shot from a 100-pounder rifle were fired into the Albemarle and were shattered, coming back in fragments on the deck of the Sassacus. At the moment of the third discharge the vessel had swung so as to permit the after gun of the Albemarle to bear from a broadside port, and a shell was sent into the Sassacus which passed longitudinally through her starboard boiler. The vessel was then filled with steam and dropped astern. The report of her commanding officer says: ‘In the meantime the engine was going, as no one could do anything below; some sixteen men being scalded. 1 then put the helm hard aport, headed up the sound, and around to the land, in order to clear the field for the other boats.’ After the explosion of the boiler the signal-books were thrown overboard, but no reason is given therefor. While dropping out of action the guns continued to play on the Albemarle.

The flag of the Albemarle was shot away about the time the Sassacus was disabled, and it was not hoisted again during the action. As her firing was interrupted from some cause it was thought she had surrendered, and until she resumed the use of her guns she was spared the fire from her adversaries.

The attacking force at that time (5.15 P. M.) was in great confusion; the vessels so surrounded the Albemarle as in a great degree to prevent any effective fire against her. Our attention was turned to getting them [the vessels] into line. At 5.20 signal was made to the Miami to pass within hail, and when she did so she was ordered to ‘go ahead and try ’

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