War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0053 Chapter XXIX. CAPTURE U. S. TRANSPORT W. B. TERRY.

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guns into the broadside of the boat, many of the balls going entirely through and out at the opposite side. Not a single state-room escaped being pierced through. Our pickets had fired on their reconnoiterers and then ran. This precipitated an attack by their whole force, which took us by surprise. From what I afterward saw I was in the after-cabin when the firing commenced, and went immediately through the cabin and down the forward gangway onto the lower deck to see about the cannon. Before reaching the after-deck, where they were placed, both were discharged and deserted without spiking. I found every man lying flat down behind the ice-box and coal pile. I do not accuse them of cowardice for this, because no set of men on earth could have loaded the guns in their exposed position amidst such a perfect hail-storm of bullets as was being poured through the cabins and deck. Their discharges wee mingled with the wildest shouts I have ever heard. All of them were within 60 yards of the boat. Being satisfied that any further attempt at resistance would be worse than folly, and believing it my duty no longer to hazard the lives of my passengers and crew (not forgetting myself), I called with all the power of voice I could command for them to cease firing until I could show a flag of truce. I do not know that they heard me, but they did not cease firing. I then went up into and through the cabin, got a boom-handle, put a small sheet on it, went out on the guard in front of them, and waved it. There were as many as fifty shots fired by them after I presented my extempore flag of truce, four of which went through it. Their officers say that they ordered firing to cease the moment the flag was shown, but that some of their men did not hear it and could not see the flag. Captains Napier and Algee came immediately on board and took formal possession in the name of the Confederate States of America.

All forces were then set at work throwing overboard the coal and everything that would lighten her, and in a few hours succeeded in hauling her over the rocks. They used her that evening to ferry some troops across the river, and the next morning stripped her of all furniture and stores and burned her about 10 o'clock. The Terry had 8 officers, including myself. Her deck and cabin crew numbered 17 (all negroes), and we had 5 passengers, all of whom, with officers and crew, were taken prisoners. The soldiers were taken, excepting two of the pickets, who are missing (probably in the woods). The passengers work the boat until she was burned. We were then paroled and allowed to construct a raft out of the spars and stages and turned loose on the river, without provisions of any kind, to make our way to Fort Henry as best we could.

In the attack there were none killed, unless it might possibly be the two missing pickets. One passenger was seriously wounded in the knee; another, the only lady passenger, received a painful, though not dangerous, wound in her thigh. One of the gunners and one negro received two wounds each, not dangerous. The soldiers and negroes, some of whom were free, were all sent back int he country immediately after capture. With Captains Napier and Algee we have no fault to find while prisoners with them. They treated us gentlemanly and respected our rights to private property of all kinds, but some of their men pilfered much of our clothing that was not under lock and key.


Master U. S. Transport-Steamer W. B. Terry at time of capture.