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Doc. 18.-capture of the Atlanta.

Reports of Admiral Du Pont.

flag-ship Wabash, Port Royal harbor, S. C., June 17, 1863.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of Navy, Washington:
sir: Having reason to believe the Atlanta and other rebel iron-clads at Savannah were about attempting to enter Warsaw Sound by Wilmington River, for the purpose of attacking the blockading vessels there and in the sounds further south, I despatched some days ago the Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers, from this port, and the Nahant, Commander J. Downes, from North-Edisto, to Warsaw, where the Cimerone, Commander Drake, was maintaining the inside blockade. I have the satisfaction to report to the department this morning that the Atlanta came down by Wilmington River into Warsaw Sound, and was captured. This information has just been received in a telegram from Fort Pulaski, sent by Captain John Rodgers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Du Pont, Rear-Admiral Commanding South-Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

flag-ship Wabash, Port Royal harbor, S. C., June 17, 1863.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that since mailing my despatch, No. 316, I have received further details of the capture of the Atlanta, sent, through the kindness of Colonel Barton, by telegraph from Fort Pulaski.

The Atlanta, Captain William Webb, came down this morning, via Wilmington River, to attack our vessels in Warsaw Sound, accompanied by two wooden steamers, filled, it is said, with persons as spectators. The Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers, at once engaged her, firing in all five shots, three of which took effect, penetrating her armor, and killing or wounding the crews of two guns. Two or three of the pilots were also badly wounded, and the pilot-house broken up, whereupon the vessel grounded and immediately after surrendered.

The armament of the Atlanta was two seven-inch and two six-inch guns. She is but slightly injured.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. F. Du Pont, Rear-Admiral Commanding South-Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
P. S.--The officers and crew of the Atlanta numbered one hundred and sixty-five persons.

S. F. D.

flag-ship Wabash, Port Royal, S. C., June 19, 1863.
Sir: I have the honor to forward herewith, marked No. 1, the interesting report of Captain John Rodgers, of the Weehawken, of the capture, on the seventh instant, of the confederate ironclad steamer Atlanta, better known as the Fin gal, as well as the report of Commander Downes, of the Nahant, who participated in the capture, marked No. 2. [67]

The Fingal, in a dense fog, ran the blockade of Savannah a few days after the Port Royal forts were taken, in November, 1861. She has been closely watched ever since, and as in the case of the Nashville, the long and ceaseless vigilance of my officers has been rewarded. The Atlanta is now in Port Royal, under the American flag, having unaided steamed into this harbor from Warsaw.

The department will notice, in this event how well Captain Rodgers has sustained his distinguished reputation, and added to the list of the brilliant services which he has rendered to the country during the rebellion. It will be my duty to recapitulate those services which have taken place during his connection with my command in another communication.

Commander Downes, with his usual gallantry, moved as rapidly as possible toward the enemy, reserving his fire until he could get into close action, but lost the opportunity, from the brief nature of the engagement, of using his battery.

I have been told that the confederate government considered the Atlanta as the most efficient of their iron-clads.

The officers and crew of the Atlanta, with the exception of the wounded and one of the surgeons, have been transferred to the United States steamer James Adger, to be conveyed to Fortress Monroe. A list is herewith inclosed, marked No. 3.

I cannot close this despatch without calling the attention of the department to the coolness and gallantry of Acting Master Benjamin W. Loring, especially recommended by Captain Rodgers. I trust that the department will consider his services as worthy of consideration.

I forward herewith, marked Nos. 4, 5, and 6, the list of the officers and crews of the Weehawken, Nahant, and Cimerone.

Very respectfully,

S. F. Du Pont, Rear-Admiral Commanding South-Atlantic Blockading Squadron. To Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

Report of Captain Rodgers.

United States steamer Weehawken, Warsaw Sound, Ga., June 17, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to report that this morning, at ten minutes past four, an iron-clad vessel was discovered coming down at the mouth of Wilmington River; also two other steamers, one a side-wheel and the other a propeller. Beat to quarters and commenced clearing the ship for action. At twenty minutes past four shipped the cable and steamed slowly down toward the north-east end of Warsaw Island. At thirty minutes past four turned and stood up the sound, heading for the iron-clad, which at this time was discovered to have the rebel flag flying. The Nahant, having no pilot, followed in our wake. At five minutes of five the enemy, being about one and a half miles distant, fired a rifle-shot, which passed across our stern and struck near the Nahant.

At this time the enemy was lying across the channel, waiting our attack. At a quarter-past five o'clock, being distant from him about three hundred yards, we commenced firing. At half-past 5 o'clock the enemy hauled down his colors and hoisted the white flag, we having fired five shots. Steamed near the iron-clad and ordered a boat to be sent alongside.

At a quarter to six o'clock Lieutenant Alexander came on board to surrender the rebel ironclad Atlanta. He reported the vessel aground on the sand-spit that makes to the south-east from Cabbage Island. Shortly afterward Captain W. A. Webb came on board and delivered up his sword. Sent a prize crew to take charge of the vessel, under the command of Lieutenant Commander D. B. Harmony, of the Nahant. Sent also Lieutenant Commander J. J. Cornwell, of this vessel, and acting First Assistant Engineer J. G. Young to take charge of the engine.

On examination it was found that the enemy had been struck four times-first on the inclined side by a fifteen-inch coned shot, which although fired at an angle of fifty degrees with her keel, broke in the armor and wood backing, strewing the deck with splinters, prostrating about forty men by the concussion, and wounding several by broken pieces of armor and splinters. One man has since died. The second shot (eleven-inch solid) struck the edge of the overhung knuckle, doing no damage except breaking a plate or two. The third shot (a fifteen-inch coned) struck the top of the pilot-house, knocking it off, wounding two pilots and stunning the men at the wheel. The fourth shot, supposed to be eleven-inch, struck a port-stopper in the centre, breaking it in two and shattering it very much, and driving many fragments in through the port.

At twenty minutes past eight the engine of the Atlanta was secured by Engineer J. G. Young, and the vessel backed off into deep water, when she was brought to an anchor.

The wounded, sixteen in number, were removed to the steamer Island City, which had been kindly brought over from Fort Pulaski by Colonel Barton, United States army. The officers of the vessel were sent to the tug Oleander, and a portion of the crew to the United States steamer Cimerone, for transportation to Port Royal.

The Atlanta was found to have mounted two six-inch and two seven-inch rifles, the six-inch in broadside and the seven-inch working on a pivot, either as broadside or bow and stern guns. There is a large supply of ammunition for these guns, and other stores, said to be of great value by some of the officers of the vessel.

There were on board at the time of capture, as per muster roll, twenty-one officers and one hundred and twenty-four men, including twenty-eight mariners. The captured rebel officers told me that they thought we should find the speed of the Atlanta reach ten knots. They believe her the strongest iron-clad in the Confederacy, and confidently anticipated taking both the Nahant and Weehawken.

The behavior of the officers and crew was admirable. [68] Lieutenant Commander J. J. Cornwall did his duty zealously and efficiently. Acting Master Benjamin W. Loring, whom I recommend for promotion for gallant behavior under the fire of Fort Darling, served the guns admirably, as the result shows. His energy and coolness were every thing that could be wished. Executive officer Lieutenant Commander J. J. Cornwell informs me that on the berth deck the powder and shell divisions, under Acting Master C. C. Kingsbury, wore the aspect of exercise so completely, that no one would have thought the vessel was in action. The engine under the direction of Acting Assistant Engineer James George Young, always in beautiful order, was well worked. Mr. Young has, I hope, by his participation in this action, won the promotion for which, on account of his skill and valuable services, I have already recommended him. In a word, every man in the vessel did his duty.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

John Rodgers, Captain. To Rear-Admiral S. F. Du Pont, Commanding South-Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Report of Commander Downes.

United States iron-clad steamer Nahant, Warsaw Sound, June 18, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to submit the following statement of the participation of this vessel in the capture of the rebel iron-clad steamer Atlanta, captured by the Weehawken and Nahant yesterday morning in these waters:

The Atlanta was first discovered at early dawn, about three miles distant, standing toward us, coming out from the Wilmington River, and rapidly approaching. At first she was mistaken for our usual visitor, a steamer that had reconnoitred us daily at about this hour; but a few moments sufficed to show us the true character of the vessel, and we instantly commenced weighing anchor and clearing ship for action.

The Weehawken, slipping her cable, passed us standing out seaward. At about forty-five minutes past four A. M. cleared ship for action, and in a few moments, our anchor being weighed, we followed in her wake. At this time the Atlanta fired the first shot, which passed close to our pilot-house. The Weehawken having at this time turned, was approaching the enemy, who continued, however, to direct his fire upon us, though without effect. At five A. M. the Weehawken closed with the enemy, and opened fire on him with accuracy, this vessel approaching at the time with the intention of running him abroad before delivering fire; but at the fourth fire of the Weehawken the enemy struck, and hoisted the white flag, the firing ceasing after one more shot from the Weehawken, this vessel not having the satisfaction of expending one shot in reply to the enemy's fire, which had been directed exclusively at her.

Lieutenant Commander Harmony proceeded on board the prize at half-past 5 A. M., taking possession and hoisting the American ensign.

During the action two of the enemy's armed steamers were in sight up the river, crowded with people, apparently observing the progress of events, who steamed up the river when the result was attained.

The behavior of officers and men was, as usual, every thing that could be desired. Acting Ensign Clarke, though quite sick, and under the doctor's charge, proceeded to his station at the first call, and remained there until the affair was decided.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

John Downes, Commander. To Captain John Rodgers, Senior Officer present, United States Steamer Weehawken.

Report of Admiral Lee.

Newport's news, June 22, 168.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy :
Your telegram just received. Admiral Du Pont sent the Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers, and Nahant down to Warsaw Sound, to look out for the Atlanta. June seventeenth, at six A. M., the Atlanta came down, accompanied by two gunboats. The engagement was exclusively between the Weehawken and Atlanta. The latter mounted four of the Brooke rifles-two of seven-inch on the bow and stern pivots, and two of six-inch on each end. She could fight two of the former and one of the latter on a side. Rodgers engaged the rebel at close quarters. The first fifteen-inch shot, fired by himself, took off the top of the Atlanta's pilot-house and wounded two of her three pilots. Another fifteen-inch shot struck halfway up her roof, iron-plated, four inches thick, killing one and wounding seventeen men. Eleven shots were fired in all; five by the Weehawken and six by the Atlanta. The latter got aground and surrendered. The fight was short, the victory signal. The Weehawken sustained no injury of any sort.

The Atlanta steers well, and made six knots against a head sea going to Port Royal. She was completely provided with instruments and stores for a regular cruise. She had a ram, a saw, and a torpedo on her bow. Ex-Lieutenant W. A. Webb commanded her. Her complement was one hundred and sixty-five souls. The Atlanta is said to have come down confident of capturing the monitors easily, and her consorts, filled with spectators, were prepared to tow them to Savannah. She will soon be ready for service under the flag of the Union.

S. P. Lee, Acting Rear-Admiral.

Secretary Welles to Captain Rodgers.

Navy Department, June 25, 1863.
sir: Your despatch of the seventeenth instant, announcing the capture of the rebel iron-clad steamer Fingal, alias Atlanta, has been received. Although gallantly sustained by Commander John Downes, of the Nahant, the victory, owing to the brevity of the contest, was yours, and gives me unaffected pleasure to congratulate you upon the result. Every contest in which the iron-clads have been engaged against iron-clads has been [69] instructive, and affords food for reflection. The lessons to be drawn are momentous.

On the eighth of March, 1862, there were lying at anchor in Hampton Roads the first-class steam frigates Roanoke and Minnesota, the sailing frigates Congress and St. Lawrence, the razee Cumberland, and several gunboats. In the presence of this formidable force, representing the highest offensive power of the wooden navy, boldly appeared the rebel iron-clad steamer Merrimac, and notwithstanding the broadsides poured into her by, and the heroic defence of, the Congress and the Cumberland, these two wooden vessels were easily destroyed, and the fate of the others was only reserved for the morrow. During the night, however, the Monitor, the first vessel of her class, arrived, and on the ninth of March, when the morning mists lifted and showed the Merrimac and her wooden consorts approaching to complete the work of destruction, our defence consisted, not in the great ships that were still afloat and their numerous heavy guns, but in a single small iron-clad vessel, armed with two guns. History has recorded the courage and skill of Commander John L. Worden, who, disappearing in the smoke of the advancing fleet, dispersed and put to flight their wooden steamers, turned at bay the Merrimac, grappled with that formidable monster, and drove her back into Norfolk, and kept her there until the evacuation of that place led the rebels to destroy their famous iron-clad rather than encounter and risk her capture by her puny antagonist.

The lessons of that contest taught us the inadequacy of wooden vessels and our existing ordnance to meet armored ships. For inland operations the Monitor turret was immediately adopted, and the fifteen-inch gun of Rodman, being the only gun of greater weight than the eleven-inch yet tested, was ordered to be placed in the turret of the vessels that were constructing. The result of this policy is developed in the action through which you have just passed. In fifteen minutes, and with five shots, you overpowered and captured a formidable steamer, but slightly inferior to the Merrimac, a vessel that the preceding year had battled, with not very serious injury to herself, against four frigates, a razee, and for a time with one Monitor armed with eleven-inch guns, thus demonstrating the offensive power of the new and improved Monitors, armed with guns of fifteen-inch calibre.

Your early connection with the Mississippi flotilla, and your participation in the projection and construction of the first iron-clads on the Western waters; your heroic conduct in the attack on Drury's Bluff; the high moral courage that led you to put to sea in the Weehawken upon the approach of a violent storm, in order to test the sea-going qualities of these new craft, at the time when a safe anchorage was close under your lee; the brave and daring manner in which you, with four associates, pressed the iron-clads under the concentrated fire of the batteries of Charleston harbor, and there tested and proved the endurance and resisting power of these vessels, and your crowning, successful achievement in the capture of the Fingal, alias Atlanta, are all proofs of a skill and courage and devotion to the country and the cause of the Union, regard. less of self, that cannot be permitted to pass unrewarded. To your heroic, daring, and persistent moral courage, beyond that of any other individual, is the country indebted for the development, under trying and varied circumstances on the ocean, under fire from enormous batteries on land, and in successful encounter with a formidable antagonist, of the capabilities and qualities of attack and resistance of the monitor class of vessels and their heavy armament. For these heroic and serviceable acts I have presented your name to the President, requesting him to recommend that Congress give you a vote of thanks, in order that you may be advanced to the grade of Commodore in the American Navy.

Very respectfully, etc.,

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy. Captain John Rogers, United States Navy, commanding United States Steamer Weehawken, South-Atlantic Squadron, Port Royal, S. C.

Philadelphia Inquirer account.

Port Royal, S. C., June 19, 1863.
Now that the smoke of the late brilliant naval action in this vicinity has cleared away, and the Atlanta, flying the Stars and Stripes, is riding safely at anchor in this harbor, within hailing distance of the Wabash and other respectable United States sea-dogs, I am able, from a personal inspection of the craft, as well as from an account which I have gathered from eye-witnesses, to furnish your readers with an intelligible description of the capture of the Atlanta by the Weehawken. And, first, we may as well settle the nativity of said vessel, as much discussion has already arisen here as to whether she is, or was, the Fingal, the Georgia, or the Atlanta.

You will recollect, that upon the twelfth of November, 1861, the Fingal, an English, Clydebuilt steamer, ran our blockade, and carried a valuable cargo of arms and ammunition in to the rebels at Savannah. She had aboard of her also several batteries of the celebrated Armstrong guns, which the rebels immediately mounted in Fort Pulaski, and which fell into our hands when we captured that fort. In the following January, the rebels having loaded the Fingal with a cargo of one thousand bales of cotton, endeavored to re-run the blockade, but were detected by our cruisers, and driven back up the Savannah River. After this occurrence the idea seemed to occur to them that the Fingal might be converted into an iron-clad, and to this result they have industriously devoted themselves for the last fourteen months. After she was near completion her name was changed to the Georgia, and subsequently she received a new christening as the Atlanta, which name she has borne for over six months.

From a perusal of her log-book, which was captured, together with her other valuables, I [70] learn, by an entry made on the twenty-fourth day of January, 1863, that the Atlanta, then having been fully completed, was ordered to engage our blockading squadron and Fort Pulaski, and in the general fire run out to sea. In accordance with this programme she was fully manned and equipped for her voyage, and her sides slushed for action. But Admiral Du Pont, having been advised of this intended movement by deserters from Savannah, immediately adopted such precautions that the Atlanta's officers, seeing that their plans had been betrayed, immediately gave up their adventure, although their craft was in sight both of the blockading fleet and Pulaski. She returned to Savannah, and attempted nothing serious until lately, which adventure is the subject of the present letter.

On the seventh instant, it was announced that the Atlanta was about to achieve the most signal victory of the war, and properly christen the newly-adopted confederate flag. The people in Savannah were jubilant, and assembled en masse upon the wharves to bid her a suitable farewell. The Atlanta, owing to her drawing fifteen feet of water when loaded for the intended cruise, and St. Augustine's Creek not being deep enough to float her in this condition, she only took on board her crew at Savannah, and steamed down the river, drawing but eleven feet of water. Her provisions and stores followed her upon some gunboats belonging to Tatnall's mosquito fleet, and when she had successfully passed through St. Augustine's Creek, which runs from Cranston's Bluff to the head of the Wilmington River, she then received on board all her stores, provisions, ammunition, etc., and was made ready for action. It occupied six days in getting her down safely from Savannah to the head of Wilmington River.

We were fully apprised of this intended excursion by deserters, who, from time to time, have escaped from the Atlanta, and unbosomed their hearts to Admiral Du Pont. From these chivalric sons, Admiral Du Pont learned that the Atlanta was about to assume the offensive, and imitate her worthy predecessor, the Merrimac. Accordingly, ten days ago he sent the Weehawken, Captain John Rodgers commanding, and the Nahant, Commander Downes, to watch the Atlanta, and give her every satisfaction which she might demand. The Weehawken and Nahant proceeded to Warsaw Sound, and took up their positions near the mouth of the Wilmington River, which empties into this sound.

Captain Rodgers stationed a picket-boat every night up the river, in order that he might not be taken unawares, and the two monitors rode at anchor, anxiously awaiting an introduction to their mutual enemy. On the morning of the seventeenth, the picket-boat, as was its wont, had returned to the Weehawken, and the men having reported no suspicious-looking steamer, turned into their bunks, where the rest of the crew were already enjoying themselves in a sleep undisturbed except, perhaps, by the vision of a sinking ram. When the picket returned, it was about five o'clock A. M., and hardly had they “bunked,” before the Atlanta was seen coming down the river some three miles distant. She was coming at a rapid rate, and was followed by two Worden gunboats.

No time was to be lost, and the monitors were ready for action in less time than I can describe it. Owing to its being flood-time the monitors were not “bow on” that is, their sterns were toward the Atlanta, and it was necessary for proper action that they should turn around and face the enemy. For fear, on account of the shallowness of the water, that he might run aground in executing this manoeoeuvre, Captain Rodgers steamed down the Sound, as also did the Nahant, to deep water, and having successfully turned, he steamed up with all haste to meet the Atlanta, which was coming down upon him with full speed, intending, beyond a doubt, fight.

In order that you may fully appreciate the sequel to this rebel adventure, I will here, while the Atlanta and the monitors are approaching each other, narrate, as I have it from the officers themselves, the object and intention of their expedition. The following was their plan: They were fully aware of the presence of the Weehawken and Nahant in Warsaw Sound, but they intended to engage these monitors, and having captured them, to send them up in tow of their gun-boats to Savannah. If on engaging our monitors they found themselves unable to whip and capture them, then they intended to run past them, and put out to sea. Having gained the ocean, they were to proceed immediately to Charleston harbor, and engage the blockading fleet there, in conjunction with the rebel rams at Charleston, which were to come down to our fleet upon certain signals, which had already been agreed upon, being made by the Atlanta. Our blockaders having been annihilated, the Atlanta and her consorts would proceed to Wilmington, and raise our blockade there in a similar manner. After these important victories had been gained, then an indiscriminate raid upon the Northern seaboard towns and cities was to be made, and general havoc ensue upon the land and sea. This was their intention; let us see how

The best laid schemes of men and mice gang aft aglee.

But, before detailing the engagement, I would, for the amusement of your female readers, state that the two wooden gunboats which accompanied the Atlanta were crowded with Savannah ladies, who had come down to see the abominable Yankees receive a severe castigation, and wave their perfumed cambrics at the victorious Atlanta as she proudly steamed out to sea covered with glory, while they would escort back to Savannah our disabled monitors.

But we left the Atlanta steaming down upon our monitors, while the latter, especially the Weehawken, was making counter advances. The Nahant, for some reason or other, did not seem to get along very well, and the Weehawken soon left her some distance astern. The Atlanta, when she arrived within six hundred yards of the Weehawken, [71] ran aground, but succeeded in immediately backing off, and regaining her course. But again, as if some strange fatality attended her, she ran aground the second time, and in this condition opened fire upon the Weehawken, which was then within four hundred yards of her. Our officers, however, did not know that the Atlanta was aground until the action was over. The first shot which the Atlanta fired was from her pivot gun, but it fell short of the Weehawken, and demonstrated that the gunner who sighted that shot was a novice in the art.

Captain Rodgers himself, anxious as ever for a good beginning, sighted his fifteen-inch gun, loaded with a solid shot, and away went this huge missile against the shutter of the starboard aft port-hole, and shivering it as well as the iron and wood-work adjoining, fell off into the water without doing further injury. The Atlanta, in reply, fired another shot from her pivot gun, which, like its predecessor, fell short.

Captain Rodgers again sighted his fifteen-inch pet, and the solid shot hurled through the air, carrying away, in its fearful passage, the pilothouse of the Atlanta. The falling iron and woodwork wounded severely two out of the three pilots, so that the Atlanta was not only with but one pilot, but also minus her pilot-house.

Nothing daunted, however, she returned the fire from her fore starboard gun, but alas! for the aim, the shot failed to hit the Weehawken. Rodgers again sighted, and grazed the wreck of the pilot-house. The Atlanta did not return the fire, and again the Weehawken sent forth a fifteen-inch, which went completely through the Atlanta's smoke-stack. To this the Atlanta replied with her pivot gun, and her shot fell within two feet of the Weehawken. When within a hundred yards of the rebel craft, Captain Rodgers, wishing to encourage such a laudable ambition on the part of the Atlanta's guns, sighted his gun for the fifth shot, and crash went the solid fifteen-inch ball against the Atlanta's side, just aft of the starboard fore port-hole. You can judge of the velocity of this shot when I tell you that it completely bent in a wrought-iron armor four inches thick, and shivered into fragments a four-inch thickness of live oak plank and a four-inch thickness of Georgia pine plank. These flying fragments struck the men working the larboard fore gun, killing one and wounding thirteen of them. The force of the blow was so great, that every man working the pivot gun fell to the deck completely stunned. The ball itself rolled off from the Atlanta's side, and fell into the water.

This last shot of the Weehawken caused all visions of the blockade, Charleston, and Wilmington, to rapidly fade from the mental vision of the Atlanta's officers, and immediately the white flag was seen waving from the wreck of her pilothouse. The action was only of fifteen minutes duration, and she fell a prize to the Weehawken's prowess in twenty-six minutes from the time she appeared in sight, and as the white flag fluttered from her deck, the Savannah ladies were seen rapidly going up Wilmington River, to bear to the people of Savannah not the glorious news of victory, but the sad tidings of defeat.

Upon seeing the white flag our men cheered most lustily, and Captain Rodgers immediately despatched Captain Harmony, of the Weehawken, in a small boat to the Atlanta, to receive her commander's sword and take possession of her in the name of the Navy of the United States. As soon as Captain Harmony arrived on board he received the sword of Captain Webb, hauled down the new confederate flag which was flying at her stern, and ran up our own victorious ensign. He then went forward and was ordering his men to cast anchor, when Captain Webb exclaimed: “For God's sake, Captain, don't cast off these anchors; we have a torpedo underneath this bow.” Captain Harmony turned to him with the utmost nonchalance, and said: “I don't care any thing about your torpedoes, I can stand them if you can, and if you don't wish to be blown up with me, you had better tell me how to raise the torpedo.”

To this Captain Webb readily assented, and, calling some of his men, pulleys were attached to a large iron rod which ran out from the prow, and soon there appeared coming out of the water a huge torpedo attached to the end of this rod, which projected thirty feet beyond the bow. Captain Harmony ordered his men to carefully remove the cap from the torpedo, and then fill it with water, in order that the powder might be destroyed. This was done, and the torpedo, holding fifty pounds of powder, was raised aloft on this rod, and was.secured at an angle of about forty-five degrees from the deck.

A remarkable circumstance in this affair is the fact that Captain William Webb, formerly a lieutenant in our navy, and commanding the Atlanta, is an old class-mate of Captain John Rodgers, who commands the Weehawken. Captain Harmony also found that the other officers were old and intimate acquaintances of his before the rebellion occurred.I have no doubt but. that these discoveries lent an additional zest to the victory.

Captain Webb, after surrendering his vessel, summoned the crew on deck, and addressed them as follows: “I have surrendered our vessel because circumstances, over which I had no control, have compelled me to do so. I know that you started upon this expedition with high hopes, and you have been disappointed. I most earnestly wish that it had happened otherwise, but Providence, for some good reason, has interfered with our plans, and we have failed of success. You all know that if we had not run aground that the result would have been different, and now that a regard for your lives has influenced me in this surrender, I would advise you to submit quietly to the fate which has overtaken us. I hope that we all may soon be returned to our homes, and meet again in a common brotherhood.”

At the conclusion of this speech, Captain Webb became so affected that he fainted. What a contrast this speech presents to the one which [72] the same man had delivered, upon that same deck, to the same crew, but an hour previous, when he promised them, in a grandiloquent oration, that, “Before breakfast we will have in tow the Yankee monitors.”

One cannot imagine a more villainous looking set of men than this same Atlanta crew. They are all Georgia “crackers,” the poorest “white trash” of Georgia, without education, or any thing, in fact, which would entitle them to be called men, except that they have the human form. Not one man among them is a sailor, but they are all soldiers. The officers, being perfect gentlemen, compared strangely with this gang of cut-throats. The men, however, were grievously disappointed, and loudly declaimed against their ill-luck.

Fourteen officers and fifty men, including those wounded, were transferred to the steamer Island City, and the remainder of the officers and crew were placed on board of the Oleander. They were all brought up to this place yesterday morning, and again transferred to the United States steamship Vermont, and the wounded properly cared for. This afternoon they were all put aboard the United States gunboat James Adger, which will carry them to New-York. The entire crew, officers and men, number one hundred and sixty-five, and a more dejected looking set of naval heroes never trod the deck of our gunboat before.

Upon examining our prize, Captain Rodgers found that she had an immense stock of provisions and stores. These, at the least calculation, were amply sufficient for a two months cruise, and of the best quality. The clothing found on her was of a superior make and texture, and sufficient to keep the crew well clothed for a year. Her chronometers and sextants, of which she had a large number, were very choice and valuable. The officers' quarters were fitted up very luxuriously, and revealed a well-selected stock of liquors, segars, tobacco, etc. Every thing about her, in fact, indicated not only that she was a pet of the rebels, but that her unfortunate voyagers had started upon a long cruise.

The Atlanta is armed with six guns, one seven-inch pivot gun fore and aft, and two six-inch guns on each broadside. These guns are all the Brooks guns, which, you will recollect, made such good execution against our iron-clads, in the late attack on Charleston. They are, also, all rifled, and throw that long steel-pointed missile of English manufacture. The Atlanta has two magazines, one fore and one aft, well protected, and, upon opening one of them, five hundred rounds of ammunition were found in it. The other magazine is supposed to contain the same amount, and, indeed, her officers say that she has on board one thousand rounds. When you consider that one hundred rounds is a ship's regular armament, you cannot but conclude that the Atlanta's cruise intended some damage. She had also, in addition, a plentiful supply of torpedoes, cutlasses, boarding-pikes, guns, revolvers, etc. Her armament is truly gigantic.

She has inside three decks; first, the gun-deck, two hundred feet long by forty wide; immediately below this is a deck two hundred and eighty feet long, which is subdivided into the captain's cabin, aft, the ward-room, the petty officers' quarters, and forward the men's quarters. Below this deck is the third, the orlop deck, in which are stored all the stores, provisions, etc. Immediately fore and aft of this deck are the magazines. The engines and their necessary complements, of course, occupy the centre of the vessel. These engines are the same which were in her when she ran the blockade as the old Fingal. They were built on the Clyde, and are models for their beauty and action.

First and on the outside were wrought-iron bars, six inches wide by two inches thick, running perpendicularly with her sides, and properly secured, both above and below, by rivets and bolts. Across these bars, horizontally, and on the inside, ran bars of like-material and pattern, fastened to the outside layer by the strongest rivets. Within this layer, and fastened to it, were two thicknesses of live oak, two-inch plank also, running perpendicularly and horizontally, and again within these were two more similar thicknesses of Georgia pine plank, forming the last series of her armor. You will thus see that her armor is twelve inches thick, and presenting all the solidity which could be given it by four inches of wrought-iron, four inches of live oak, and four inches of Georgia pine.

Her port-holes, however, were made especially strong. Extra layers of iron and plank, so that the embrasure measures from the inside to the outside forty inches. These port-holes were a foot and a half long by one foot in width, and were protected by wrought-iron shutters, formed by two transverse layers of iron bars, of the same dimensions as those which compose her armor. These shutters hung upon a pivot, firmly adjusted over the port-hole, and were raised or lowered by a small chain which, being attached to the side of each shutter, ran through a small aperture into the gun-deck.

Forward of the smoke-stack was an elevation on the top-deck, to all appearances like as a cone; upon this cone was a small square look-out, just large enough on the inside to allow a man's head to turn with freedom. On each side of this lookout were two small apertures, in the shape of parallelograms, slanting toward the interior, and presenting to the pilot's optics in the look-out two look-outs, an inch and a half long by an inch wide. This look-out was of wrought-iron four inches thick, and the cone upon which it stood was the same thickness, with this additional strength, however, that the interior of the pilothouse being square, the interstices between the sides of the upper part of the pilot-house and the concave surface of the cone were filled with eight-inch, square, live-oak blocks. From the top of the look-out to the base of the cone was but two feet and a half, so that the pilot exposed only about one third of his person, the rest of the pilot-house being within the body of the ship and [73] reached by a step-ladder from the gun-deck. The second shot from the Weehawken, although it was a glancing one, wrenched off this look-out and smashed in the cone. From this pilot-house were seven speaking-tubes connecting with their appropriate rooms below, and all properly lettered and numbered, so that the man at the wheel can readily communicate with those below.

Her length from bow to stern-post is a small fraction over three hundred feet. The gun-deck covering is at its base two hundred feet long and forty feet in width, and at its top one hundred feet in length by fourteen feet in breadth. You will thus see that her roof does not slope all the way up, but has a very respectable top-deck. From the gun-deck to the roof the perpendicular height is six feet, and the sides of the roof sloping at an angle of forty-five degrees, the standing height is eight feet. The lower edge of the roof is twenty inches above water-mark, so that she stands above the water about eight feet. From her aft roof edge it is fifty feet to the stern-post, and from her fore roof edge it is also fifty feet to her bow. The distance from her gun-deck to her keel is sixteen feet and a fraction over. Her steering apparatus is perfect and her rudder completely submerged in the water, thereby being in the safest place imaginable. Her iron-plating extends two feet below the water-line.

It is evident that the rebels have taught us a good lesson on the torpedo subject, as connected with iron-clads, from which we may well afford to learn. It has been a question how a torpedo could be safely carried in front of a vessel without interfering with its steering and other movements, and be at the same time secure from explosion until the proper time. The Atlanta's torpedo gearing solves the question. The forward part of the ram of the Atlanta is solid iron, twenty feet in length, and so overlaid by steel bars, with their ends protruding below the cut-water that a huge steel saw is formed, which would cut any wooden gun-boat in existence. This ram at its bow-end comes to a point, if I may so call it, about two inches square.

From the deck of this iron ram, just ahead of its juncture with the vessel, arises a strong iron bar with a pivot at its top, to which is attached a massive iron boom which runs just over the ram's prow, and then forming an elbow, it descends three feet below the water-line, where it forms another elbow, and then running out some two feet it forms at its end a powerful socket or ring. In this socket is firmly inserted another iron boom, which extends beyond the socket twenty-eight feet, and at its end is hung the torpedo, all capped and ready for the explosion. From this cap runs an insulated wire along the boom and ending in the pilot-house, where are the necessary electrical arrangements with which the pilot could explode the torpedo as soon as it was run under a vessel. You can hardly conceive of a more perfect or efficient engine of destruction than such a torpedo, and thus carried. The iron ram also is savage enough in its appearance, and would saw a hole in a wooden vessel without much difficulty.

Such is but a feeble description of the rebel ram Atlanta, which Captain John Rodgers has the honor to present to the Government. She is certainly superior, in many respects, to any ram which has yet been built; and, as Webb said, if she had not run aground, the result would have been different. She is a very fast vessel. When she came into the harbor, yesterday, she was making, in a heavy sea, seven knots an hour; and our officers, as well as her own, say that she can, under full speed and in ordinary weather, make eleven knots easily. This speed is much greater than that of any of our monitors, and she might, if she had not run aground, steamed away from them, defying pursuit. As it was, Providence interfered in our behalf, and the Atlanta, immovable in the mud, became an easy prey. It was a remarkably short engagement; only nine shots in all being fired-five by the Weehawken, and four by the Atlanta.

The Nahant did not get up to the scene of action until the surrender had been made, so that, much to the regret of Commodore Downes, he was not able to contribute in a positive manner to the victory, although he made every endeavor to bring the Nahant up into action. Admiral Du Pont pronounces the Atlanta the most perfect iron-clad, with the exception of her penetrability, that he has ever seen, and she is certainly the most valuable prize taken by our navy during the war. Her loss, also, to the rebels is as severe as that of the Merrimac, which she resembles very much, both in her appearance and construction, although she has many improvements upon the old terror of Hampton Roads. By this victory Captain Rodgers has endeared himself more than ever to a loyal and anxious people, and I cannot close this letter without expressing a desire, that I know will be cordially responded to throughout the North--long life and success to Captain Rodgers, and the valiant crew of the Weehawken.

Providence Journal account.

Port Royal, S. C., June 17, 1863.
The work commenced so well in this section in the burning of the Nashville by the Montauk, in February last, has been continued by the ironclad Weehawken.

The routine of affairs in this harbor was somewhat disturbed this morning by the reception of news from shore to the flag-ship Wabash, through the signal code, that the Weehawken had captured the rebel iron-clad steamer and ram Atlanta, in Warsaw Sound, and that the officers and men of the rebel ram would soon be in Port Royal. Captures and rumors of captures are so much in vogue in these latter days that we hardly knew how much confidence to have in the aforesaid despatch, and yet, inasmuch as it came to the flag-ship in so legitimate a manner, we thought it must indeed be true, and a few hours brought “confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ.”

You remember the Atlanta (originally the Anglo-rebel blockade-runner Fingal) came into Savannah last spring, with an immensely valuable [74] cargo of arms and munitions of war. The excitement occasioned by this accession to their supplies, and the running of the Fingal through our fleet, was very great; but the reduction and occupation of Fort Pulaski by the Union forces in this vicinity, participated in by part of the Third Rhode Island regiment, commanded by your efficient young townsman, Colonel Rogers, put an effectual stop to the continuance of such affairs, and the only way to sea left open to the denizens of Savannah was by the inlet or passage to Warsaw Sound, which has been used to a certain extent, only, however, to a point in the north-west of Warsaw Sound, where there is a rebel work called Thunderbolt battery.

It was, however, soon after the arrival of the Fingal that it was determined to convert her into a rebel ram-of-war, and steps were immediately taken for the prosecution of the plan. She was a fine ship, with powerful engines, about seven hundred tons burthen, and the only fault was her draught of water, which was nearly sixteen feet. Her upper works were cut away, and she was under process of remodelling after the pattern of the Merrimac. Months ago it was supposed she must be nearly ready for sea, and the sudden appearance of her black roof, coming into this harbor, would hardly have been a matter of surprise. But every preparation was made for such a possible occurrence, and the result has proved that if she had come in, she would have met with such a reception that she probably would never have gone out again. In January the Montauk was sent to Ossabaw, and the Passaic to Warsaw, and at that time it was understood the Fingal, which had now been remodelled and rebuilt, and was christened the Atlanta, would make an attempt to go to sea notwithstanding the iron-clads. But, in fact, she was not ready, and only wanted completion to make the attempt.

The iron-clad Weehawken has been lying in this harbor since the fight at Charleston, and on Saturday was ordered to Warsaw. Sunday morning the iron-clad Nahant left her anchorage in Edisto for the same destination. This morning, after so long waiting, the attempt was made with all rebel assurance, and resulted in a grand failure. The news was received here at ten o'clock this forenoon, and at four o'clock P. M., the steamer, with the officers and the wounded men, came into the harbor, and alongside the store-ship Vermont. The officers, numbering thirteen, and the men, numbering one hundred and thirty-seven, had been amply provided for on the Vermont.

The wounded consisted of sixteen men, one of whom, by the name of Barrett and belonging to Georgia, was so severely wounded that he died on the passage to Port Royal. The wounds of the others were various in their character; one had his shoulders and head lacerated and bruised, one was so severely wounded that amputation of one or more limbs may be necessary, while the other woulds were flesh-wounds of no dangerous character. Mr. Thurston, the Lieutenant of Marines, was knocked down by a splinter, and another officer, Mr. Wragg, the master, was struck over the left eye with a piece of iron broken off the rebel armor; those were the only officers injured.

The commander of the vessel is an old officer in the Union service, by the name of W. A. Webb, and appears to be a gentlemanly, mild man. He is the third officer that has commanded the vessel. The first assigned was named McBlair, and it is said he was relieved because he did not run by the Yankees and go to sea. That, however, must be a mistake. The next commander was a St. Clair, and he died not long since.

The executive officer, Mr. Alexander, is an old officer in our service, as is also Mr. Barbot, second officer and “lieutenant for the war,” and the third lieutenant, Mr. Arledge. The surgeon, Dr. Freeman, and the assistant surgeon, Dr. Gibbs, are old naval officers. The officers all appear to be gentlemen, and are much chagrined to think of their capture.

It seems the Atlanta left Savannah about two weeks ago, intending to go to sea via Warsaw Sound, proceed to Port Royal, and do such destruction as might be permitted her, and then push on to Charleston, where she was to make a foray upon the fleet and then enter the city, although it was not understood in Charleston that this was intended.

Monday morning last found the iron-clads Weehawken and Nahant in Warsaw Sound. The Atlanta had come in the mean time to Thunderbolt battery, where she lay at anchor. Finding that the iron-clads were there caused no disarrangement of plans, except so far as the destruction of them was determined upon, before proceeding to sea, for, as they say, they had no doubt at all of their ability to destroy both the Weehawken and Nahant, considering their own armor proof against eleven-inch or even fifteen-inch shot. At half-past 2 o'clock yesterday morning the Atlanta got under way from her anchorage, which was about four miles from the iron-clads, and stood down the passage from the battery to the Sound. a temporary grounding delayed her somewhat, but she got off, and was soon in sight of the iron-clads, which were undoubtedly a little surprised to receive so carly a call. She steamed on toward the Weehawken, and her officers were astonished to see every thing so still on board the Weehawken, and no attention paid to their approach. Still she steamed on, and firing from her rifle elicited no response from the Weehawken. She was now only one hundred and fifty yards from the iron-clad, when a column of fir issued from the iron turret, and a fifteen-inch went crashing through and through the rebel armor, completely prostrating the whole crew of one gun, (sixteen men,) and, in the language of the officers, “filling and covering the deck with splinters of iron and wood.” An eleven-inch shot immediately followed from the Weehawken's small gun, which in like manner passed through and through, but doing less damage. Again a fifteen-inch was fired at them, which struck on what they call the “knuckle” of the armor, (where the armor of the angular side, which slopes to the water, [75] makes a turn down and in toward the hull,) crushing in iron and wood and every thing before it, indeed, making a hole completely through, yet not passing in itself, but glancing up the side it struck the bottom and projecting side of the pilot-house, passing into and demolishing it, and wounding the two pilots within. It was useless to continue a conflict so one-sided, and after seeing the effect of the iron-clad projectiles, they hauled down their new flag and surrendered their vessel. The action lasted but forty-five minutes. The officers seem completely astounded at the effect of the fifteen-inch shot, and had all confidence that their four-inch plate armor would prove impenetrable, that they should capture both iron-clads, and do as they pleased generally, which confidence proves to have been misplaced. The officers seemed pleased to have got out of such a difficulty so easily, are communicative and sociable, and evidently feel relieved. They are in what I suppose should be called uniform, but it's rather a hardlooking uniform. It is of the universal gray, and bears the devices pertaining to each particular rank, in gilt lace or red cord embroidery, and to some extent resembles our own method of naval uniform trimming. The rank of the executive officers is signified by a gilt shoulder-strap filled with blue, with a single star, like a brigadier-general. A commander has two stars, and so on.

Most of their coat-buttons are our own naval buttons, with a frequent sprinkling of army buttons among them, especially on the cuffs. Some of them have buttons with the coat-of-arms of Virginia, South-Carolina, or some other State, upon them. They have a button of their own adoption, an anchor with crossed cannon, but it is not generally worn yet. Most of the uniforms look “home-made” enough, and are faded and rusty.

The marine officer has a sword, and a fine one it is, with equipments, made by Firman & Sons, 153 Strand and 13 Conduit street, London.

The officers say that it was almost intolerable on board the Atlanta, there being no method of ventilation, and the heat was intense. It was continually dark below, candles having to be used both night and day. Some of the officers are new, and all of them think that if confined on board the vessel or at sea they would not be able to live long. They speak of all the arrangements of the steamer as being exceedingly inconvenient. They say that the Fingal, or Atlanta, has been but recently finished, and could steam ten knots an hour. Her engines are unusually fine ones, and of Glasgow make. From her bow there projected a torpedo, fastened on the end of a spar fixed to the steamer's bow, the spar being twenty feet long and five feet below the surface. This they intended to run against the iron-clad, so that the torpedo should strike the hull and explode against it. From experiments made in Savannah they had no doubt that the explosion would have destroyed the iron-clad.

The officers were all allowed to retain their side-arms and personal effects, and will probably leave the Vermont soon for a passage North. They say that the defences of Charleston are more complete now than ever, and that the gun which caused so much harm to the iron-clads in the recent fight at Fort Sumter is of their own make, and not an English gun. They call it the Brooke gun, as it was invented by one of their ordnance officers of that name. They also say that but few guns, little ammunition, and little of any of the material of war come to them from foreign sources, as they are able to manufacture for themselves. They speak of a lack of some of the necessaries of life through the Confederacy, and of the high prices of all articles. One of them, showing a confederate one dollar bill, made the remark: “It takes six of them to get a dollar in gold.” The James Adger has been ordered to take them North, we understand. I send a list of the officers:

CommanderWilliam A. Webb, of Virginia.

First Lieutenant and Executive Officer — J. W. Alexander, of North--Carolina.

Second Lieutenant (for the war)--Alphonso Barbot, of Louisiana.

Third Lieutenant--J. H. Arledge, of Florida.

SurgeonR. J. Truman, of Virginia.

Assistant Surgeon--R. R. Gibbes, of South--Carolina.

Lieutenant Marines-R. G. Thurston, of South--Carolina, wounded.

PaymasterW. B. Nicon, of Virginia.

Master — T. L. Wragg, of Virginia, wounded.

Chief Engineer--Edward J. Johnson, of Florida.

Second Assistant — George W. Tennent, of Georgia.

Third Assistant — Joseph J. West, of Virginia.

Third Assistant — William J. Morrill, of Alabama.

GunnerThomas B. Travers, of Virginia.

Passed MidshipmanWilliam R. Dalton, of Alabama.

MidshipmanJ. A. G. Williamson, of Virginia.

June 18.

The Atlanta arrived this afternoon at four o'clock, and came to anchor near the flag-ship. She is quite a formidable looking craft, resembling the Merrimac, or, as she is called in Dixie, the Virginia.

S. B. T.

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