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[171] to the Columbiad about 3 o'clock P. M. with a verbal order from General Floyd to harass the transports. In obedience to this order, we prepared to shell the smoke. A shell was inserted, the gun was given the proper elevation, the lanyard was pulled, and the missile went hissing over the bend of the river, plunged into a bank of smoke, and was lost to view. This was called by an army correspondent, claiming to have been on one of the gunboats, a shot of defiance. Before the piece could be reloaded, the prow of a gunboat made its appearance around the bend, quickly followed by tree others, and arranging themselves in line of battle, steamed up to the attack. When they had arrived within a mile and a half of the batteries, a solid shot having been substituted for a shell, the Columbiad began the engagement with a ricochet shot, the rifle gun a ready second. The gunboats returned the fire, right centre boat opening, the others following in quick succession. After the third discharge the rifle remained silent on account of becoming accidentally spiked. This had a bad effect on the men at the Columbiad, causing them considerable uneasiness for their comrades at the upper battery. The Columbiad continued the action unsupported until the boats came within the range of the 32-pounders, when the engagement became general, with ten guns of the batteries opposed to the twelve bow guns of the ironclads, supplemented by those of the two wooden boats that remained in the rear throwing curvated shells. As the boats drew nearer, the firing on both sides became faster, until it appeared as if the battle had dwindled into a contest of speed in firing. When they arrived within three hundred yards of the lower battery they came to a stand, and then it was that the bombardment was truly terrific. The roar of cannons was continuous and deafening, and commands, if necessary, had to be given by signs. Pandemonium itself would hardly have been more appalling, but neither chaos nor cowardice obtruded themselves, and I must insist that General Wallace and Admiral Walke are mistaken in their assertions that the gunners were seen running from their guns. It is true there was some passing from the batteries to the Fort, but not by the artillerists in action, and as the passage was over an exposed place, in fact across the field of fire of the gunboats, it is a fair presumption that the transit was made as swiftly as possible. Of one thing I am certain, there was no fleeing from the Columbiad, and although her discharges were necessarily very slow, I think every one in hearing that day will testify that her boom was almost as regular as the swinging of a pendulum. If these two

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