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[228]

On several occasions she brought such munitions of war which the Confederacy was in pressing need of, and at least three battles were fought with munitions for which the Confederates had waited, and which she landed safely in their hands.

Plot after plot was formed at Nassau to get hold of the Hattie, but none of them were successful. She slipped in and out like a phantom, taking the most desperate risks, and being attended by quite extraordinary good luck.

The last entrance of the Hattie into Charleston occurred one night in Febuary, 1865. The Confederacy was then in extremis, and the Federal fleet off Charleston, numbered eighteen or twenty sail.

It was a starlight night, and at an early hour, the Hattie crept forward among the fleet. She had been freshly painted a blue-white, her fire made no smoke, and not a light was permitted to shine on board. With her engines moving slowly, she let the wind drive her forward There were eight or ten vessels outside the bar, and as many within. Those outside were successfully passed without an alarm being raised. The Hattie ran within 300 feet of two different blockaders without her presence being detected. To the naked eye of the lookouts she must have seemed a hazy mist moving slowly along.

The little steamer was quietly approaching the inner line of blockaders, when a sudden fire was opened on her from a gunboat not 200 feet distant, and the air at the same time was filled with rockets to announce the runner's presence.

At that time the Federals had the whole of Morris Island, and Fort Sumter had been so battered to pieces that monitors took up their stations almost in pistol shot of it.

As soon as the Hattie was discovered, all steam was put on and she was headed straight for the channel. She ran a terrible gauntlet of shot and shell for ten minutes, but escaped untouched.

Then came the real peril. Just below Sumter, in the narrowest part of the channel, the Hattie encountered two barge-loads of men stationed there on picket.

Her extraordinary speed saved her from being boarded, but the volleys fired after her wounded two or three men and cut three fingers off the hand of the pilot holding the spokes of the wheel.

Two hundred yards ahead lay a monitor, and she at once opened fire and kept her guns going as long as the Hattie could be seen, but not a missile struck, and she arrived safely at her wharf.


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