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[88] employed him), who had belonged to the Ordnance Department of the English army, came down to teach us what he knew about drill at the guns, and how to arrange the powder in the magazine, and the shells in their houses. He also taught us some hygiene exercises.

They sent us down a ten-inch Columbiad from Richmond, which we mounted on the western emplacement, already prepared, took it in charge, and began to drill with it also. The company thus had all three guns under its charge, mounted and ready for action, and numbered from east to west, as follows: Gun No. 1, eight-inch; Gun No. 2, eight-inch (64 pounder), and Gun No. 3, ten-inch (128 pounder). I was assigned to Gun No. 2, as gunner, and remained at the same post as long as the company remained at the fort.

Meanwhile some workmen were detailed from the company —Lieutenant Ivey among them—to work, obstructing the channel of the river below the wharf, driving piles with steam piledriver, building cribs and loading them with stone. The steamers Jamestown and Curtis Peck were sunk at the last moment to help make the blockade more secure.

All of us were thus kept busy until about the first of May, when one day, while at work on the battery at the fort, we saw several steamers loaded to the guards with soldiers, closely following each other, being carried to reinforce the batteries down towards the mouth of the river. They seemed to be in high spirits, for they cheered us as they passed hastily by. But only after a few days we again saw them returning up the river, looking sad and apparently very dejected.

Still we kept at work, when one day late in the afternoon we saw the foremost of our battery steamers slowly making their way up from Norfolk, which had been evacuated by the Confederate troops, leaving the navy-yard to fall into the hands of Federal forces, and we learned through the newspapers that the Merrimac (Virginia), had been blown up, thus leaving our river open to this place.

On Tuesday, May 13, 1862, about noon, while we were at work at the fort, one of our exchange steamers—under flag of truce—came up the river, passed up through the blockade, stopped

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