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[89] in front of the battery, ‘hailed,’ and told us to get ready, as five gunboats, including the Monitor and Galena, were at Harrison's bar, coming up the river to make an attack on this place.

Then all was hurry and some confusion, but we kept on steadily, making preparation to defend the fort. I think we loaded all three guns this day.

The crew of the Merrimac had, in the meantime, since their arrival from Norfolk, a few days before, been busily engaged mounting a gun on the river bluff, outside of a little to the west of the fort, covering it with heavy logs, so as to form a casement over it, and another, maybe still higher up the river, this latter was out of range.

We were told by some of our working party that some of their working party declared that to attempt to defend the place would only make it a slaughter pen, and they further told our men that the boats would run our company out of the battery in five minutes after the action began.

Wednesday, May 14th, every one very busy making things ready at the battery, when near towards noon, probably, the boats having reached a point around the bend in the river to eastward, and out of sight from us in the fort (for the large ravine east, southeast and south from it, was then covered with original forest growth), fired a shot, directed over the fort, although high overhead, but we were startled by its vicious rush through the air, and as it was the first hostile one many of us had ever heard, besides it was of gigantic size, compared to those generally used, and we heard it drop away back toward the turnpike. But they did not fire another that day, and we kept on at work until night, and were told before we retired to our quarters that a signal shot would be fired by the sentry on post at the battery, as a signal, that the hostile boats had appeared around the bend at Chaffin's Bluff, and to warn us to hurry to the fort, and to take our places at the guns. But none were fired that night, so most of us slept very well, but some of the men were kept at work all night.

Thursday, May 15, 1862, was cloudy, after smart rain last night, and likely for more to-day; some light showers fell. We

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Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)
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Walter Harrison (1)
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May 15th, 1862 AD (1)
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