wriggling, clawing, and sundry other manoeuvres I shuffled that hempen coil, and finding that I was not Hawes
de combat, nor my zeal dampened (but with some loss of dignity as a soldier), I went in search of less tight-fitting and clinging garments.
Of the 1,500 soldiers aboard, not a soul of them knew anything of the circus I had had.
The next morning came in with a cloudless sky, the ship on an even keel, on a glassy sea. As I went forward I looked over the rail and noticed that the water had a peculiar color.
To Sergeant Simmons
, who was to be my guest at the galley, I said: ‘We are in shoal water,’ and looking ahead, added, ‘and we are shoaling fast.
We shall be aground in less than five minutes. However, let us make sure of our potatoes.’
As we went below I heard the gong sound in the engine room, and at that instant the ship came to a full stop, but without a perceptible jar, on Frying-Pan Shoals—and within the five minutes specified.
Adequately to describe our experience during the eleven hours we were stranded on the worst coast of the United States
would take more time than this occasion affords or your patience would allow.
I have been on the rocks off an inhospitable coast of South America
, and on a lee shore elsewhere, but perhaps this was the most trying situation of all, because in this case infinitely more was involved.
Although the situation seemed desperate I never lost courage for a moment.
From my diary I have written out somewhat in detail an account of our experience on Frying-Pan Shoals; but to-night I can give you only a glimpse of what stared us in the face on that twenty-eighth day of February, 1862.
Of course I had but a superficial knowledge of our surroundings, but the school had been opened and I was in the mood to put myself in training.
To my amazement I found that the port anchor had been let go, notwithstanding the fact that that end of the ship was already stuck fast in the mud. As General Butler
came on deck he asked the captain, ‘What's that?’
pointing to the flag, Union down, in the port fore rigging.
‘Flag of distress,’ said the skipper.
‘Can you display it nowhere else?’
asked the general.
‘Yes, at the mizzen peak,’ replied