Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/127

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The Story of the Arkansas. 117

heard Brady ask Captain Brown if he should cut that boat in two. The Captain returned an affirmative answer, and the game pilot steadied our ship for the ram. I had in a five-second shell, which I wished to get rid of before we got to the iron-clads, and so set it in motion. It struck his mud-drum, emptying the hot steam and water into the small barricaded engine room, where the crew and a com- pany of sharp shooters were seeking protection, about a hundred of whom were killed. The poor fellows came pouring up the scuttles, tearing off their shirts and leaping overboard as soon as they reached the air. But that gave us no rest. The shot struck upon our sides as fast as sledge- hammer blows. Captain Brown was twice knocked off the platform stunned, his marine glass was broken in his hand, and he received a wound on his temple; but recovering himself, he gallantly — no, heroically — resumed his place, and continued to direct the movements of his ship from a position entirely exposed to the fire of not only great guns, but thousands of sharp-shooters, who were pattering the balls all around and about him. The man of steel never flinched, but carried us straight and clear through. I know that this great battle, and the great commander, have been ignored by the seel which ruled the navy, but when the history of our corps is written. Brown will rank first. Some one called out that the colors had been shot away. It reached the ear of Midshipman Dabney M. Scales, and in an instant the glorious fellow scrambled up the ladder past Captain Brown, and fearlessly treading the terrible path of death, which was being swept by a hurricane of shot and shell, deliberately bent on the colors again, knotted the halyards and hoisted them up, and when they were again knocked away would have replaced them had not he been forbidden by the Captain. Midshipman Clarence Tyler, aide to the Captain, was wounded at his post alongside the Cap- tain. We were passing one of the large sloops-of-war when a heavy shot struck the side abreast of my bow-gun, the concussion knocking over a man who was engaged in taking a shot from the rack. He rubbed his hip, which had been hurt, and said they would " hardly strike twice in a place." He was mistaken, poor fellow, for immedi- ately a shell entered the breach made by the shot, and bedding itself in the cotton -bale lining on the inside of the bulwark proper, exploded with terrible effect. I found myself standing in a dense, suffocating smoke, with my cap gone and hair and beard singed. The smoke soon cleared away, and I found but one man (Quartermaster Curtis) left. Sixteen were killed and wounded by that shell, and the ship set on fire. Stevens, ever cool and thoughtful, ran to the engine-room