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[270] grandly on, floating fortresses, each mounting more guns than all the batteries on the land, and the two first combined carrying more shot and shell than all the magazines in the fort contained. From the left salient to the mound Fort Fisher had forty-four guns, and not over 3,600 shot and shell, exclusive of grape and shrapnel. The Armstrong gun had only one dozen rounds of fixed ammunition, and no other projectile could be used in its delicate groves. The order was given to fire no shot until the Columbiad at headquarters fired, and that each gun that bore on a vessel should be fired every thirty minutes, and not oftener except by special order, unless an attempt was made to cross the bar, when every gun bearing on it should be fired as rapidly as accuracy would permit, the smooth bores at richochette.

Before coming within range, the wooden ships slowed down and the great ironsides and three monitors slowly forged ahead, coming within less than a mile of the northeast salient, the other ships taking position to the right and left, the line extending more than a mile. As the ironside took her position she ran out her starboard guns, a flash was seen from the forward one, then a puff of white smoke, a deep boom was heard and over our heads came an eleven inch shell, which I saw distinctly in its passage towards our flag staff, past which it exploded harmlessly with a sharp report. The signal gun had been trailed to bear on an approaching frigate, and as I gave the command the landyard was jerked, and a ten-inch shot went bowling along, richochetted, and bounded through the smoke-stack of the ‘Susquehanna.’

This was the commencement of the most terrific bombardment from the fleet which war had ever witnessed. Ship after ship discharged its broadsides, every description of deadly missile, from a three-inch rifle bolt to a fifteen-inch shell, flying wildly into and over the fort, until the garrison flagstaff was shattered. Most of the firing seemed directed towards it, and as it stood in the centre of the parade, all these bolts fell harmless as to human life, many of the shells, especially the rifle shots, going over the fort and into the river in the rear. The dead calm, which prevailed in nature, caused thesmoke to hang around the hulls of the vessels, so enveloping them as to prevent the effect of the shots our gunners were allowed to fire from being seen. It was two hours after the bombardment commenced before the flag was shot away, and in that time, although thousands of shot and shell

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Susquehanna, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

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