War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0450 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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after magazine was now discovered filling with water. I went below to examine it and found much water had accumulated in it and was rapidly increasing. Not being aware of any shot having entered near the water that part of the ship, and being unable to see any danger, upon inspection from the side, which could have caused such a leak, I directed the executive officer, with the carpenter's mate, to get into a boat and make examination of the counter. He found a shot had broken in the outer planking under the port quarter, about the water line, and which from marks seemed to have glanced below in the direction of the stern-post. This could not be stopped, by reason of the impossibility of getting to it, because of the flare of the counter. As this break could not have caused all the water under the counter, and had started the timbers near the stern-post. The ship had received a shock during the engagement which shook her from stem to stern, being much more violent than that of shots passing through. The bilge pumps were immediately worked, but there was no water in the engine room. Finding the magazine rapidly filling, also the after hold and shell room, with no water in the engine room, I caused the after bulk-head of the engine room to be knocked down, so as to allow the flow of water to the bilge pumps. By this time the stern had settled some and the steering became difficult. Under these circumstances I determined to withdraw from action. The enemy's fleet had now passed. Finding the ship would sink in a short time, and thinking I might be able to reach the shore, now best of my way toward the fort, steering the ship principally with the side-wheel, which position I reached without embarrassment from the enemy (thanks to an opportune rain squall, which shut me from view) and placed her bow upon the beach within 500 yards of Fort Morgan at about 9. 30. I am happy to state there was no confusion nor panic under the circumstances of our position, but that every work was done with deliberation and without undue excitement. The ship delivered fire to the enemy at the moment of striking the shore.

At the time of beaching the magazine was nearly filled. I had caused all the powder to be removed to the cabin. The shells were removed as rapidly as possible, but not before many of them had become submerged. The usefulness of the ship having been destroyed by the enemy, I devoted myself and crew to the preservation of all valuable material, and landed all the powder, shell shot, gun equipment, &c., which I gave to the general commanding at Fort Morgan, to whom I thought they might be useful in the expected siege. The crew were then landed with their bags and blankets, muskets, cutlasses, and small-arm ammunition, and the ship abandoned at 12 o'clock, with her battle-flags flying, and her stern settled as far as it could, about two fathoms. I did not spike the guns, because they could be secured by the fort and could not spike the guns, because they could be secured by the fort and could not be taken by the enemy. Having thus left my command, it became necessary to devise a retreat for my crew. They were not necessary to the fort, as I was informed when I offered their services. Already I had secured two boats belonging to the Tennessee, left by her at anchor, and with four boats of the Gaines, one having been destroyed by shot, I left the fort at 8 p. m. and reached Mobile at 7 a. m. on the 6th with 129 officers and men, small-arms, &c., and six boats; passed the enemy's fleet without observation, and reported myself and crew to the senior officer for further service.