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[147] to Charleston, leaving the Mahaska, Ottawa, and Nor. which to second army operations.

The Confederates, notwithstanding repeated failures in the use of torpedo-boats off Charleston, had still sufficient encouragement to continue endeavors, which resulted on the night of February 19th in the destruction of the Housatonic, a fine vessel of war, lying outside the Charleston bar, some four miles from Moultrie.

About 9 P. M. an object was seen moving toward the ship, supposed one hundred yards distant; it had the appearance of a plank on the water; in two minutes it had reached the ship. Within this time the crew had been called to quarters, the chain cable slipped, and engine backed.1 The torpedo-boat, for such she proved to be, struck the ship on the starboard side, forward of the mizzen-mast, and the Housatonic sunk almost immediately, the hammock nettings being just awash when the keel rested on the bottom. The crew ascended the rigging and were soon taken off by the boats from other vessels blockading. Ensign Hazeltine, and four of the crew were missing; they had been either stunned by the explosion or drowned as the vessel went down.

Pickering, who commanded the Housatonic, was severely bruised by the explosion. The torpedo-boat, which was designed to be wholly submerged if required, went down with the four men in her. She had on former occasions drowned her crews.

Notwithstanding the destruction of this torpedo-boat and her entire crew, another one, at 1 A. M. of March 6th, in North Edisto River, was discovered rapidly approaching the blockading

1 Had the vessel gone ahead instead of backing, when she slipped her cable, there is a reasonable probability that she would have escaped destruction.

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