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Doc. 204.-destruction of the Venus.

Lieutenant Commanding Lamson's report.

United States steamer Nansemond, off New-Inlet, Wilmington, N. C., October 21, 186.
sir: I have the honor to report the capture and entire destruction of the blockade-runner Venus, from Nassau to Wilmington, with a cargo of lead, drugs, dry goods, bacon, and coffee.

This morning at half-past 12 she attempted to run the blockade, but was discovered by this vessel, and after a short chase overhauled. When abeam I opened fire on her--one shot striking her foremast; another exploding in her wardroom; a third passing through forward, and killing one man; and a fourth striking under the guard near the water-line, knocking in an iron plate, and causing her to make water fast, she was run ashore. We boarded her at once, capturing her captain and twenty-two of her officers and crew.

The United States steamer Niphon, Acting-Master [573] J. B. Breck commanding, which was lying near where she went ashore, came immediately to my assistance. I ran a nine-inch hawser to the Venus, and Captain Breck sent a seven-inch hawser to the Nansemond's bow; but all our efforts were unavailing, as the tide had turned ebb, and she was going at least fourteen knots per hour when she went ashore. Finding it impossible to move her, I ordered her to be set on fire, which was done in three places by Acting-Ensigns Porter and Henderson of this vessel. Our boats were for some time exposed to a sharp fire of musketry from the beach, and the vessel was within range of one of the batteries.

We had just commenced shelling her machinery when another vessel was seen off shore, and by the light of the burning steamer I was able to give him one shot and started in pursuit, but it was so cloudy and hazy that we lost sight of her almost immediately. I ran east at the rate of fourteen knots till seven o'clock, but did not get sight. of him again, and ran back, making the land to the northward.

In the mean time Captain Breck, with the assistance of the Iron Age, Lieutenant Commander Stone, had completed the destruction of the Venus, her boilers having been blown up and her hull riddled with shell.

I have to express my thanks to Captain Breck for the prompt assistance rendered me by sending his boats to assist in carrying my heavy hawser, and by sending a hawser to the Nansemond's bows. His boats then reported to Acting-Ensign J. H. Porter, who was in charge of the Venus. The fire forward not burning as well as was expected, he sent a boat on board in the morning and re-kindled it.

The Venus was two hundred and sixty-five feet long and one thousand tons measurement, and is represented by her captain and officers to have been one of the finest and fastest vessels engaged in running the blockade. She had the finest engines of any vessel in this trade, and was sheathed completely over with iron. She drew eight feet of water, and when bound out last crossed the bar at low-water, with over six hundred bales of cotton on board. The wrecks of the Hebe, Douro, and Venus are within a short distance of each other.

Inclosed is a list of the officers and crew of the Venus, captured before they could escape.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. H. Lamson, Lieutenant Commanding. Rear-Admiral S. P. Lee, Commanding N. A. B. Squadron.

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J. B. Breck (4)
J. H. Porter (2)
R. H. Lamson (2)
Venus (1)
B. F. Stone (1)
S. P. Lee (1)
Henderson (1)
Doc (1)
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October 21st, 186 AD (1)
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