War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0448 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

D. B. Conrad, Asst. Surg. R. C. Bowles, First Lieutenant Marine Corps D. G. Raney; First Assistant Engineer G. D. Lining; Pilot A. T. post; Second Assistant Engineer J. C. O'Connell; Second Assistant Engineer John Hayes; Boatswain John McCredie; Gunner H. L. Smith; THIRD Assistant Engineers William Rogers, Oscar Benson, and William B. Patterson; Master's Mates, M. J. Beebee, R. M. Carter, W. S. Forrest, Paymaster's Clerk J. H. Cohen.

Numbers 19. Report of Lieutenant Commander Patrick U. Murphy, C. S. Navy, commanding gun-boat Selma.


August 15, 1864.

SIR: The shattered state of my nervous system, produced by the wound I received, has prevented my making my report before this.

Between 5 and 6 of the morning of the 5th it was reported to me a move was made by the fleet outside. I gave the order at once to get up steam, to weigh the anchor, and to lash it securely, then to go to breakfast, and, if we had time, for the crew to dress themselves in their best clothes. The Selma was lying to the south and east of the flag-ship, and much nearer the shore. After the anchor was weighed the steamer drifted up with the tide to the northward and eastward. While the crew were at breakfast the engagement commenced, and many shots were fired by both sides before I went to quarters; but as soon as the crew were through with their breakfast and the decks were cleared up I went to quarters and stood to northward and westward and as soon as I passed the stern of the Tennessee I opened fire on the enemy with all my guns, and continued to fire all of them for some time. When I perceived the Metacomet was towing the leading vessel (the Hartford) I gave the order to give her all the steam they could, that I might get ahead and on the port side of her. My intention was perceived, and before I could get into the position I wanted the Metacomet cast off and gave chase. A constant fire had been kept up all the time, first at once vessel, then at another, as the opportunity offered. Before the Metacomet cast off my best gunner had been killed by a piece of shell from the Hartford, I think; but several vessels were firing at me at the same time, and in a short time my next best met the same fate. The firing was then with the Metacomet, carrying ten guns, eight 9-inch and two 100-pounder Parrotts, one of the fastest vessels of their squadron. She tried hard to rake me, but was prevented by good steering. The Metacomet being so much faster, came quite near, and one of her 9-inch shells killed and wounded 7 at the same gun and disabled the gun. I had only been able to use two guns for some time, and the crew of Numbers 1 gun had just been sent off to assist in working those two. My first-lieutenant, Mr. Comstock, and Master's Mate Murray, were both killed by the same shell, and myself wounded in the arm. After firing one or two shots more, I perceived the Metacomet was about to rake me with grape and shrapnel, and the Port Royal, a steamer of the same class, was about to open fire on me, when I gave the order to haul down the colors, as I did not believe I was justified in sacrificing more of my crew in such an unequal contest. My wound was bleeding fast. I knew if I left the deck for one moment the vessel might be sunk. My deck was a perfect slaughter-pen when I surrendered.