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Thus we stood, ready for the word to ‘commence firing’ at the proper time.

The boats, continuing to advance, finally took up the following positions: The three wooden ones—Aroostock, Port Royal and Naugatucket, lay to and stood about ‘bows on’ at the mouth of Wilton creek, which enters on the north side of the river, about three-fourths of a mile from the fort, and hugged the bank pretty well. The Monitor and Galena—iron-clads— kept on till about six hundred yard from the fort, when the Galena stopped, turned ‘broadside,’ with her stern not far from the Chesterfield low water-mark, and threw out her anchors. The Monitor took up her position nearly abreast of the the Galena, going over her flag-staff, and struck a lime-pile on river. And from where we stood she looked pretty much like a barge inverted tank, on a very low raft, and we did not need to be told her name, for we knew her at a glance.

Some weeks before this day after we could handle the guns pretty well, an army officer, who had been at Roanoke Island, came to the fort and to my gun (No. 2), and showed us how to fire two five-second shells from said gun, being the first and only I had ever heard fired and exploded up to that time. I acted as Post No. 1, and he acted as gunner, and explained to me very carefully about pointing the gun for that range.

As soon as the last boat took position Captain Farrand shouted: ‘As soon as you get a chance fire on them!’ When Captain Drewry, seeing me about to point the gun, climbed up to me, and said: ‘Let me aim this gun,’ when I stood and looked over his shoulder, and thinking about what I had been told by the officer aforementioned about the range, said to him: ‘Captain, you are aiming the gun too high.’ He replied: ‘Oh, no, you come with me,’ when we went to windward to avoid the smoke, had the gun fired, and saw the shot just miss the top of the Galena, going over her flag-staff, and struck a lime-pile on the right short, some distance beyond. Then he turned to me and said: ‘You go try your hand.’ This, I think, was the first shot fired during the engagement. Then I ran back to my post on the gun, served the vent — the detachment continuing to load as coolly as if on parade. We ran the gun ‘ in battery ’ and I pointed it, aiming at the Galena ‘amid-ship,’ about half-way

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