War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0681 Chapter XL. ATTEMPT OF DESTROY U. S. STEAMER IRONSIDES.

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but feared that her cain cable would either ignite them or detain us alongside. In either case we must have been captured. A kind Providence, however, intervened and saved our little band from such disaster. When about 50 yards distant we were hailed "Ship ahoy!" After deliberating whether I should not give him some warning, I felt so sure of striking him, I finally answered "Hello," and in an official and stern tone as possible. Another hail, "What ship is that?" I answered, almost immediately, "The steamer Live Yankee."

We were still moving slowly past the bow. I gave the order to go ahead with the engine, and was informed at the same time that the enemy were boarding us. Without looking to see whether such was the case, I gave the order to defend the ship, and got my arms ready in time to prevent the firing upon some sailors that were looking at us from the ports. I saw they were not boarding, and I immediately ordered the men to hold and not fire. They dropped immediately, showing specimen of the effect of good discipline. Just at this time he hailed again, "Where are you from?" Answered, "Port Royal." I found that we had ranged just clear of his bow and out of danger of being boarded except by launches. I then went to the engine-room to see what was the matter, as fully two minutes had elapsed since the order had been given to go ahead. I found that the engine had caught upon the center, and notwithstanding a continued effort for at least four or five minutes, they failed to get started ahead. I was again hailed, "What ship is that?" Answered, "The United States steamer Yankee."

I again went to the engine-room, and by encouragement to the engineers found her in the act of starting. Another hail and another called me to the deck, and as none of my officers heard the question, I surmised it to be an order to come to anchor or to surrender. I answered, "Ay, ay, sir; I'll come on board." I found we were moving ahead slowly, and in two minutes must have passed out of his sight, as he commenced firing in the opposite direction. He afterward fired, sweeping the horizon, 2 shots passing on either side about 20 feet off.

It was my intention to attack one of the monitors, but after the experience with the engine I concluded it would be almost madness to attempt it. I theretofore steered back to the city.

General, in consequence of the tests to which I have put the ship in the two late adventures, I feel it my duty most unhesitatingly to express my condemnation of the vessel and engine for the purposes it was intended, and as soon as she can be docked and the leak stopped, would advise making a transport of her.

I beg to remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,



Commanding at Charleston, S. C.



August 20 [23], 1863.

CAPTAIN: Your report of operations in the attempt to destroy the Ironsides during the night of the 18th [20th] instant has been received. I regret exceedingly that you should have met with so many difficulties in your disinterested and praiseworthy enterprise; but I