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[372] and in speaking of what took place in the memorable fight at the Bluff, said to a Times reporter:

His death recalled to my mind one of the trying times and one of the important deeds that our navy did. I doubt but few are living to-day that took part in fortifying and defending Drewry's Bluff and obstructing the river at that point, to save Richmond, at the time the iron-clad Galena, Monitor and some gunboats attacked Drewry's Bluff.

After the fight off Newport News and Hampton Roads, and Norfolk was evacuated, and the Merrimac was blown up by the orders of Commodore Tatnall, the James river fleet, as it was called, was ordered to Drewry's Bluff.

The officers and crew of the Confederate fleet, which was composed of the Yorktown (or Patrick Henry), Jamestown, Beaufort, Raleigh, Teaser and Merrimac deserve great credit. They mounted the heavy guns in position on Drewry's Bluff and stood behind them, and it was no easy work in getting the heavy ordnance up the steep hill from the river. They had to work day and night to be ready to meet the enemy.

At the time the Federal fleet attacked Drewry's Bluff the Confederates had but few heavy guns mounted, compared to what were in position three months later, but the river was so strongly blockaded that it was almost impossible for the fleet to pass by, if they silenced the guns on the bluff. The obstructions consisted of rows of piles and stone, filled in between, and extending out from each side of the river to the channel, leaving an opening for the Confederate gunboats to pass through.

The day before the battle, Captain Barney, of the Jamestown received orders from the Navy Department to sink the ship in the open of the obstructions. The Jamestown was put in the passage way of piles, and all hands received orders to leave the ship and go on the Bluff, except myself, who was assistant engineer, and midshipman D. M. Lee, a brother of Fitz Lee.

Mr. E. Manning, chief engineer, gave me orders to sink the ship, which I did by taking out the plug of the sea-cock. Midshipman D. M. Lee and myself remained on board until the ship went down. The Jamestown was sunk lengthwise in the channel and her bow standing up the river. Canal boats, laden with stone, the steamboat Curtis Peck and the steamboat Northampton were sunk outside of the piles, thus making a very strong blockade.

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