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Rushed to destruction.

With great clouds of smoke pouring from the funnels and all attemps at concealment thrown to the winds, the swift Susanna rushed on, seemingly to sure destruction. Soon she came within range and every vessel opened up on her from a long distance. The Seminole was in the lead and sent solid shot across the bow of the long, dark ship that fairly skimmed the water. Foam splashed up over the deck, but the warning had no effect.

Cutting in, the warship decreased the distance between it and the Susanna until objects could be plainly seen from one deck to the other. Shot after shot went screaming through the air toward the blockade runner, but still she kept her course. The regular channel was blocked, but she went straight ahead. Raked fore and aft, the Susanna, quivering like a frightened animal, rushed on. All Galveston was on the wharves watching the engagement, hoping and praying for the safety of their vessel.

Suddenly the course of the Susanna was changed. Doubling [204] around the Seminole, she made straight for shallow water and the bar. On board the sloop of war they believed her captain had decided to beach her, and the chase was taken up in hope of capturing the crew and preventing the absolute destruction of the vessel.

But it was a part of the trick. Another turn, that sent the water swirling under the prow, and the course was again changed. Crossing at a dangerous and generally unknown place on the short bar, the Susanna entered the deeper channel of the bay. Her prow had been shot away and both smokestacks were wrecked, but, riddled with shot and shell as she was, she steamed slowly to the wharves and discharged her cargo.

During the entire engagement Captain Austin, according to the commander of the Seminole, coolly paced the bridge with his hands in his pockets and a cigar between his teeth. Not once did he leave his place or show a sign of trepidation, in spite of the fact that half a ton of black powder was stored directly beneath him. In the shower of shot and shell he stood as he had on the deck of the Manassas, facing almost certain death while his ship was being shot away beneath him. Cool courage, perfect seamanship, and an absolute knowledge of the harbor assisted him in performing another exploit that has never been equaled, and that only emphasizes the fact that some of the credit given to others belongs to him.

On the next voyage the ship commanded by Captain Austin was cornered and captured at sea by a Federal sloop of war and he was taken to Philadelphia in his own vessel, there to be thrown into prison. A short time afterward the struggle was ended.

Returning to Galveston, the hero went back to the merchant marine and again took command of a Morgan liner. It was at this time that he met and married Miss Georgia Grafton who resided in the Texas seaport. During the struggle Captain Austin was unknown to the girl he later took for a wife, but his vessel, the Susanna, had brought her many good things from foreign lands, and his reputation as the handsomest and most daring man in Texas was common property.

Some time later the couple removed to Savannah, where Captain Austin took charge of the construction of the jetties at the mouth of the river. There the family of two sons and one daughter grew up from childhood to maturity.

In 1889 this naval hero of the South died as a result of exposure during the war, and to-day his body rests upon the shores of the Atlantic, while the everbeating waves pay tribute to his greatness.

‘Nor should his glory be forgot while fame her record keeps.’

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