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[209] shore and watched the transport taking on board women and children, whom they were sending away on account of General Hoke's demonstration.

With the greatest caution, almost afraid to take a long breath, for fear of detection, Elliott and his companions made their way back and reached the Albemarle after midnight. Elliott stated to Captain Cooke his firm conviction that the ram could pass the obstructions, and urged him to make the attempt.

His earnestness was so great that Captain Cooke at once determined to do so, and had the men aroused, and gave orders to get up steam as quickly as possible.

The Albemarle was soon under way, but the enemy was entirely ignorant of her approach. In fact, they had no knowledge that the Confederates owned a boat in the river.

She passed over the obstructions safely, but very soon a gun belched forth from the fort at Warren's Neck, and Captain Cooke realized that he was on a perilous journey.

The Federal battery opened fire vigorously, and the shells rattled against the ram in rapid succession.

Elliott had protected her sides with hanging chains, and they proved a very fine shield.

The ram was soon beyond the range of the guns, but a little lower down she passed a fort on which was mounted a very heavy gun. The big shells went whizzing over her bow and beyond, crashing through the timber for two miles.

The firing aroused the Federal fleet at Plymouth, and two vessels, the Miami and the Southfield, started to look for the trouble.

The vessels carried each six 9-inch guns, one 100-pounder Parrott rifle, and a 24-pounder howitzer.

The two vessels were lashed together and ascended the river with entire confidence among the officers that nothing in the Roanoke river could check them one minute.

Captain Flusher, the senior Federal officer, stated that his purpose in lashing the vessels together was to get the Confederate craft, whatever it might be, between his vessels, and capture it with little trouble.

Captain Cooke, however, as soon as he sighted the Federal boats, ran the Albemarle close to shore, and when in proper position, he suddenly turned her toward the middle of the stream, and, giving her all the steam he could, he dashed the prow into the side of the Southfield before a gun was fired. Cutting her almost in twain, she

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