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[332] means of defense, I should, on the approach of the expedition, destroy my vessel and come into his fort as a reinforcement to him. I then divulged to Colonel White my plan of escape and notified him of my intention to run out that evening, requesting him to see that I was not fired upon by his command. He was delighted with the plan and wished me God-speed. On the evening of March 17, 1862, between sunset and moonrise, the moon then being nearly full, I tripped my anchor and ran out. As soon as I was under way a rocket was sent up from the lower side of Bogue Island, below Fort Macon, by an enemy's boat, sent ashore from the blockaders for the purpose of watching me, giving me the assurance that my movement had been detected.

Steaming towards the entrance at the bar, I found the three vessels congregated close together under way and covering the narrow channel. Just before reaching the bar I slipped my anchor, which in hoisting had caught under the forefoot, in order to prevent its knocking a hole in the ship's bottom, as I knew we would strike in going over the bar. We were going at full speed, say fourteen knots per hour. I was in the pilot house with Gooding and two others were at the wheel. The blockaders, under way and broadside to me, were across my path. I ran for the one farthest to the northward and eastward, with the determinatfon to go through or sink both ships. As I approached rapidly I was given the right of way and passed through and out under a heavy fire from the three vessels. They had commenced firing as soon as I got within range and continued until I passed out, firing in all, as well as we could determine, about twenty guns. The moon rose clear and full a short time afterwards and found us well out to sea, no attempt being made to pursue us that we could discover.

We ran on out to the inner edge of the Gulf Stream, where we remained until the next day, and in the afternoon of the 18th of March shaped our course for Charleston. Arriving in the midst of the blockading fleet there before dawn of the 19th, we discovered their position by the great number of rockets which they were sending up to signal the fact that our presence was known. This, together with the fact that the stone fleet had been sunk in the channel, leaving only the Maffitt's channel open, and not knowing how far even that was obstructed, made me conclude not to attempt to run in. With an exhausted crew and short of coal, I put back and ran clear of the blockaders. At daylight on the 19th made Cape Roman, steaming close in to land, and tracked up the beach, intending to try to enter

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