War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0829 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

in calling the depth of water) close in with breakers, and before her engines could be reversed she struck on the reef off Masonborough Inlet, where all efforts to get her off by lightening her of her guns and coal proving fruitless she became a total wreck. At midnight the foremast was cut away to prevent her canting broadside to the surf, in which case all on board would probably have perished. On the afternoon of the 15th the U. S. steamer Penobscot hove in sight and toward 4 p. m. two of her boats succeeded in approaching near enough o catch a small line thrown from the end of the bowsprit. By means of a strong rope attached to this thirty of our crew were dropped overboard and hauled some hundred and fifty yards through the surf to the boats, all but two reaching them alive. An end was put to this effort to rescue us by the coming on of the night, which brought a heavy gale from southwest that raised a violent surf, causing the vessel to strike with fearful force and exposing us momentarily through the long hours of the night to be swept from the quarter-deck where all hands were crowded for greater safety, drenched by the seas that broke over them and the rain which fell in torrents and toward morning half frozen by the bitter cold which followed a sudden shift of the gale northwest.

While in this helpless and perishing condition, with no vessel in sight and our only chance for life being apparently an escape to the shore, a fire was opened upon the wreck from two batteries a short distance back of the beach several of whose shells passed just over the vessel, on which I ordered the white flag to be hoisted at the peak in token of our surrender (not having a gun to reply with) and the ensign to be set upon down in the rigging as a signal of distress. Soon after this the southernmost battery ceased its fire, but the other kept it up nearly two hours longer not seeing as I was afterwards told our white flag. Between 9 and 10 a. m. (16th) two U. S. steamers made their appearance in the offing, and the firing on the wreck from the northern battery being still kept up I dispatched to the commander of the nearest a boat that narrowly escaped being swamped by the surf with a note requesting him to send in his boats and endeavor to take us off. To our astonishment, however, instead of doing this after his communication with the other vessel both of them commenced replying to the batteries at long range. Upon seeing this I at once (although the wind was at the time bowing a violent gale offshore) lowered my last boat and ordered an officer to pull in for any practicable point with a flag of truce and inform the commander of the post of our defenseless condition and surrender when the battery ceased firing on us.

On the return of the boat I went on shore myself at the request of Colonel Lamb but surrendered to Colonel Wilson, of one of the Georgia regiments, who informed me that the was the senior officer on the station.

It was not till the following morning (17th) that the ship's company could be got on shore when we were taken to Wilmington and ordered thence to Richmond the same night by General Whiting.

On reaching Goldsborough, however, the twenty-eight seamen only who accompanied us pursued the route to Richmond, myself and officers being sent on to this place by order as I have since been told of General Smith.

Never having seen the proclamation of President Davis issued on the 12th ultimo I am not competent to speak with confidence of its tenor or bearing on our case; but if I have been correctly informed that it is directed in express terms only against officers of the Army of the United States who shall be found in arms on the soil of any of the Confederate States endeavoring to foment a servile insurrection I