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[105] in the action, and who will no doubt call attention to the conduct of such individuals as most distinguished themselves.

As I had an elevated position in the main rigging near the top, I was able to overlook not only the deck of the Hartford, but the other vessels of the fleet. 1 witnessed the terrible effects of the enemy's shot, and the good conduct of the men at their guns, and although no doubt their hearts sickened, as mine did, when their shipmates were struck down beside them, yet there was not a moment's hesitation to lay their comrades aside, and spring again to their deadly work.

Our little consort, the Metacomet, was also under my immediate eye during the whole action up to the moment I ordered her to cast off in pursuit of the Selma. The coolness and promptness of Lieutenant Commander Jouett throughout merit high praise; his whole conduct was worthy of his reputation.

In this connection I must not omit to call the attention of the Department to the conduct of Acting Ensign Henry C. Nields, of the Metacomet, who had charge of the boat sent from that vessel, when the Tecumseh sunk. He took her in under one of the most galling fires I ever saw, and succeeded in rescuing from death ten of her crew, within six hundred yards of the Fort. I would respectfully recommend his advancement. The commanding officers of all the vessels who took part in the action deserve my warmest commendations, not only for the untiring zeal with which they had prepared their ships for the contest, but for their skill and daring in carrying out my orders during the engagement. With the exception of the momentary arrest of the fleet, when the Hartford passed ahead, and to which I have already adverted, the order of battle was preserved, and the ships followed each other in close order past the batteries of Fort Morgan, and in comparative safety too, with the exception of the Oneida. Her boilers were penetrated by a shot from the Fort, which completely disabled her, but her consort, the Galena, firmly fastened to her side, brought her safely through, showing clearly the wisdom of the precaution of carrying the vessels in two abreast. Commander Mullany, who had solicited eagerly to take part in the action, was severely wounded, losing his left arm.

In the encounter with the ram, the commanding officers obeyed with alacrity the order to run her down, and without hesitation exposed their ships to destruction to destroy the enemy.

Our iron-clads, from their slow speed and bad steering, had some difficulty in getting into and maintaining their position in line, as we passed the Fort, and, in the subsequent encounter with the Tennessee, from the same causes were not as effective as could have been desired, but I cannot give too much praise to Lieutenant Commander Perkins, who, though he had orders from the Department to return North, volunteered to take command of the Chickasaw, and did his duty nobly.

The Winnebago was commanded by Commander T. H. Stevens, who volunteered for that position. His vessel steers very badly, and neither of his turrets will work, which compelled him to turn his vessel every time to get a shot, so that he could not fire very often, but he did the best under the circumstances.

The Manhattan appeared to work well, though she moved slowly. Commander Nicholson delivered his fire deliberately, and, as before stated, with one of his fifteen-inch shot broke through the armor of the Tennessee, with its wooden backing, though the shot itself did not enter the vessel. No other shot broke through her armor, though many of her plates were started, and several of her port shutters jammed by the fire from the different ships.

The Hartford, my flag-ship, was commanded by Captain Percival Drayton, who exhibited throughout that coolness and ability for which he has been long known to his brother officers. But I must speak of that officer in a double capacity. He is the Fleet Captain of my squadron, and one of more determined energy, untiring devotion to duty, and zeal for the service, tempered by great calmness, I do not think adorns any navy. I desire to call your attention to this officer, though well aware that in thus speaking of his high qualities, I am only communicating officially to the Department that which it knew full well before. To him, and to my staff, in their respective positions, I am indebted for the detail of my fleet.

Lieutenant I. Crittenden Watson, my Flag-Lieutenant, has been brought to your notice in former despatches. During the action he was on the poop attending to the signals, and performed his duties as might be expected, thoroughly. He is a scion worthy the noble stock he sprang from, and I commend him to your attention.

My Secretary, Mr. McKinley, and Acting Ensign H. H. Brownell, were also on the poop, the latter taking notes of the action, a duty which he performed with coolness and accuracy.

Two other Acting Ensigns of my staff, Mr. Bogart and Mr. Heginbotham, were on duty in the powder division, and, as the reports will show, exhibited zeal and ability. The latter, I regret to add, was severely wounded by a raking shot from the Tennessee, when we collided with that vessel, and died a few hours after. Mr. Heginbotham was a young married man, and has left a widow and one child, whom I commend to the kindness of the Department.

Lieutenant A. R. Yates, of the Augusta, acted as an additional aid to me on board the Hartford, and was very efficient in the transmission of orders. I have given him the command temporarily of the captured steamer Selma.

The last of my staff, and to whom I would call the attention of the Department, is not the least in importance. I mean Pilot Martin Freeman. He has been my great reliance in all difficulties in his line of duty. During the action, he was in the main-top, piloting the ships into


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