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[92] to explode torpedoes,1 led the line; the Passaic, Captain Percival Drayton; the Montauk, Captain John L. Worden; the Patapsco, Commander Daniel Ammen; the New Ironsides, Commodore Thomas Turner (as flag-ship), followed by the Catskill, Commander George W. Rodgers; the Nantucket, Commander D. M. Fairfax; the Nahant, Commander John Downes, and the Keokuk, Commander A. C. Rhind.

The vessels were ordered to pass without returning the fire from batteries on Morris Island; when within easy range of Fort Sumter they were to open upon it, and take position to the north and west, at a distance of eight hundred yards, firing low, and at the centre embrasure. The necessity for precision of fire was enjoined. Vessels were to be prepared to render assistance to each other as far as possible, and a special code of signals was arranged, that could be operated on board of the ironclads.

Noon on the following day (7th) was the earliest hour that the pilots were willing to move. Signal was made, and the vessels got under way. The Weehawken in weighing anchor fouled the torpedo grapnels attached to the raft before mentioned, on her bows; this delayed movement until 1.15. The vessels then proceeded up in line ahead at distances varying a good deal, but intended to be one hundred yards apart; they steered very badly if obliged to stop the engines, sheering every way, and the raft on the bow of the Weehawken delayed her, and caused wild steering along the whole line, so it was about 2.50 P. M. when she was opened on by Moultrie, followed at once by Sumter, and all of the batteries

1 It was formed of very heavy timbers crossing at right angles, bolted together, about fifty feet in length, shaped not unlike a boot-jack, the bows of the vessel propelling within the notch. The after-ends or jaws of the raft were secured by chains to the bow of the vessel. The wave-motion acting on this cumbrous mass was quite different from that of the monitor. It proved to be a battering ram, and loosened the armor plating on the bows of the Weehawken.

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Morris Island (South Carolina, United States) (1)
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