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[212] his launch, from New York to the sounds, as well as the avowed object of destroying the Albemarle. The reader may well imagine the increased difficulty of effecting the object.

The party consisted of 15 officers and men in the launch, and 2 officers and 11 men in the cutter which was in tow. The distance from the mouth of the river to the object of attack was eight miles, the average width of river two hundred yards, and shores picketed. In case of being hailed in passing the Southfield, a mile below the Albemarle, on which a gun was supposed to be mounted, to command the bend, the cutter was to cast off and attack the men on the sunken steamer.

The launch and cutter passed along within twenty yards of the Southfield without discovery, indeed, until hailed by the lookouts on the ram. ‘The cutter was then cast off and ordered below, while the launch made for the enemy under a full head of steam. The enemy sprung rattles, rang the bell, and commenced firing, and at the same time repeating their hail; the light of a fire ashore showed me the ironclad, made fast to the wharf, with a pen of logs around her about thirty feet from her side.’ Passing close to the Albemarle in order to ensure coning squarely on the logs to press them in, the launch performed nearly a circle, running at first directly from her intended prey. ‘By this time the enemy's fire was very severe, but a dose of canister, at short range, served to moderate their zeal and disturb their aim.’ At this time corning head on to the Albemarle, Paymaster Swan, by Cushing's side, was wounded, ‘but,’ he says, ‘how many more I know not. Three bullets struck my clothing, and the air seemed full of them. In a moment we had struck the logs just abreast of the quarter port, breasting them in some feet, and our bows resting on them. The torpedo boom was then lowered, and by a vigorous pull I succeeded ’

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