War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0446 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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steaming up the channel into the bay-the former in a single line nearest to Fort Morgan, and the latter in a double line, each two vessels lashed together. When they approached sufficiently near to draw the fire from Fort Morgan signal was made to the squadron to follow your motions, and the Tennessee was moved down to the middle of the channel, just outside the line of torpedoes stretching across it, from whence she immediately opened her battery upon the advancing fleet. Every effort was made at the same time to ram each of the leading vessels as they entered the bay; but their superior speed enabled them to avoid this mode of attack, the first, with the admiral's flag, passing ahead, and the remainder astern before the ship could be turned to encounter them. As she followed them into the bay, the leading monitor, the Tecumseh, was discovered to be sinking, and in a few minutes she disappeared, taking down nearly all on board, consisting, as since learned, of 100 souls. The Tennessee's battery was used to the greatest advantage as long as the fleet were within range, and when they reached a point about four miles from Fort Morgan, and were in the act of anchoring, she steamed alone up toward them (the other vessels of your squadron having been dispersed) and attacked them as soon as she was near enough to render her fire effective. The whole fleet was again put in motion to receive her, and she received four tremendous shocks by the heaviest vessels running into her at full speed, soon after which I received an order from you in person to stand for Fort Morgan, as it had been reported by the acting chief engineer that the ship was leaking rapidly. At this time it was reported to me that the wheel chain had been carried away, and, ordering the relieving tackles to be use, I made a personal examination of the broken chain, to ascertain if it could be repaired. This was found to be impossible, without sending men outside of the shield to expose themselves several minutes to the fire of the enemy's vessels, by which the after deck, ovosely watched and constantly swept until the close of the action. Returning to the pilot-house for the purpose of observing more closely the movements of the enemy, I soon received a report that you had been wounded, when I went aft to see you, and while there learned that the after port cover had been struck by a shot, which instantly killed a man engaged in removing the pivot bolt upon which it revolved, and wounded yourself and one of the gun's crew, the latter mortally. I then learned that the two quarter-port covers had been so jammed by the fire of the enemy as to render it impracticable to remove them, and the relieving tackles had been shot away and the tiller unshipped from the rudder-head. The smoke pipe, having been completely riddled by shot, was knocked down close to the top of the shield by the concussion of vessels running into the ship. At the same time the three monitors were using their 11 and 15 inch solid shot against the after end of the shield, while the largest of the wooden vessels were pouring in separate broadsides at the distance of only a few feet; and I regret to say that many favorable opportunities of sinking those vessels were unavoidably lost by the failure of our gun-primers. The bow port cover was struck by a heavy shot, as also the cover of the forward port on the port side; and two of the broadside port covers were entirely unshipped by the enemy's shot. The enemy was not long in perceiving that our steering gear had been entirely disabled, and his monitors and heaviest vessels at once took position at each quarter and astern, from whence they poured in their fire without intermission for a period of nearly half an hour, while we were unable to bring a single gun to