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[118] hatch, seized the hose and dragged it to the aperture. In a few moments the fire was extinguished, without an alarm having been created.

The Columbiad was fired but once after its crew was disabled. By the aid of an Army Captain (whose name, I am sorry to say, I have forgotten), belonging to a Missouri battery, Curtis and myself succeeded in getting a shot down the gun, with which we struck the Benton. The ill luck which befell the crew of the bow gun was soon to be followed by a similar misfortune to the crew of my broad-side gun. An eleven-inch shot broke through immediately above the port, bringing with it a shower of iron and wooden splinters, which struck down every man at the gun. My Master's Mate, Mr. Wilson, was painfully wounded in the nose, and I had my left arm smashed. Curtis was the only sound man in the division when we mustered the crew at quarters, at Vicksburg. Nor did the mischief of the last shot end with my poor gun's crew. It passed across the deck, through the smoke-stack, and killed eight and wounded seven men at Scales's gun. Fortunately, he was untouched himself, and afterward did excellent service at Grimball's Columbiad. Stationed on the ladder leading to the berth-deck was a Quartermaster named Eaton. He was assigned the duty of passing shells from the forward shell-room, and also had a kind of superintendence over the boys who came for powder. Eaton was a character. He had thick, rough, red hair, an immense muscular frame, and a will and courage rarely encountered. Nothing daunted him, and the hotter the fight, the fiercer grew Eaton. From his one eye he glared furiously on all who seemed inclined to shirk, and his voice grew louder and more distinct as the shot rattled and crashed upon our mail.

At one instant you would hear him pass the word down the hatch: ‘Nine-inch shell, five-second fuse—here you are, my lad, with your rifle shell, take it and go back quick—what's the matter that you can't get that gun out?’ and, like a cat, he would spring from his place and throw his weight on the side tackle, and the gun was sure to go out. ‘What are you doing here, wounded? Where are you hurt? Go back to your gun, or I'll murder you on the spot—here's your nine-inch shell-mind, shipmate (to a wounded man), the ladder is bloody, don't slip, let me help you.’

I have thrown in this slight sketch to show that our men were beginning to straggle, so badly were we Cut up. But still the ship was not disabled; seven guns were yet hammering away, and the engines were intact. But steam was down to a terribly low ebb. The party who fitted up the boilers had neglected to line the fire front with nonconducting

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