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[174] Catskill, Commander Rogers; Patapsco, Lieutenant-Commander Badger; Nantucket, Commander Beaumont and Weekawken, Commander Calhoun. There were, besides five gunboats, the Paul Jones, Commander Rhind; Ottowa, Commander Whiting; the Seneca, Commander Gibson; the Chippewa, Commander Harris, and the Wissahickon, Commander Davis. Swiftly and noiselessly approached, the white spray breaking from their sharp prows, their long dark hull lines scarcely showing above the water, and the coal black drum-like turrets glistening in the morning's sun. Approaching still nearer they formed the arc of a circle around ‘Wagner,’ the nearest being about three hundred yards distant from it. With deliberate precision they halted and waited the word of command to sweep the embrasures of the fort where our intrepid cannoneers stood coolly by their guns. As the flagship Montauk wheeled into action at close quarters, a long puff of white smoke rolled from the mouth of the ten inch Columbiad on the sea face of the fort, and the iron plated turret of the Monitor reeled and quivered beneath the crashing blow. Then the pent up thunders of the brewing storm of death burst forth in all their fury, and poured upon the undaunted ‘Wagner’ a remorseless stream of nine, eleven and fifteen inch shells. Monitor after monitor, ship after ship, battery after battery, and then, altogether hurled a tempest of iron hail upon the fort. About seventy guns were now concentrating a terrific fire upon it, while the guns of ‘Wagner,’ aided at long range by the batteries of Sumter and Gregg, and those on Sullivan's and James islands, replied. Words fail to convey an adequate idea of the fury of this bombardment. ‘It transcended all exhibitions of like character encountered during the war.’ It seemed impossible that anything could withstand it. More than one hundred guns of the heaviest calibre were roaring, flashing and thundering together. Before the Federal batteries had gotten the exact range of the work, the smoke of the bursting shells, brightened by the sun, was converted into smoke wreathes and spirals which curved and eddyed in every direction; then as the fire was delivered with greater precision, the scene was appalling and awe inspiring beyond expression, and the spectacle to the lookers on was one of surpassing sublimity and grandeur. In the language of General Gilmore, ‘the whole island smoked like a furnace and shook as from an earthquake.’ For eleven long hours the air was filled with every description of shot and shell that the magazines of war could supply. The light of day was almost

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Whiting (1)
R. L. Rogers (1)
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Q. A. Gilmore (1)
Pierre Gibson (1)
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