Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/12

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

and with such officers and men as we had. The crash into the Cumberland was terrible in its effect, though hardly felt by us, and in thirty minutes after the first gun was fired by us she was at the bottom, with the top-sail yards just clear of the water.

"The Congress gave us her guns as we passed, but though the shot fell like hailstones on our roof, we passed on, and settled the Cumberland in short style. By this time our dear old beauty was in shoal water with her head up stream, and 'twas fully twenty minutes before we could turn her to fire well and rapidly on the Congress—meanwhile receiving the fire of the battery on the Point, though I cannot vouch for this exactly, for in such a row 'twas hard to say where in thunder all the licks came from.

"Very soon the Congress ran ashore— purposely, I suppose, to save herself from such a fate as the Cumberland and we had not given her many shots before she hauled down the Stars and Stripes and soon afterwards hoisted the white flag at her peak.

"Parker and Alexander, in the Beaufort and Raleigh, were ordered to go to her, send her men on shore, bring the officers on board, and burn the ship; but on going alongside, Pendergrast (Austin) surrendered the ship to Parker, and told him that he had too many wounded to burn the ship. Billy told him to have the wounded removed at once; and while the Raleigh and Beaufort were at this humane work the Yankees on shore opened fire on them, killing some of their own men, among them a lieutenant.

"Parker and Alexander then left her with some twenty or thirty prisoners, the fire from shore being too hot; and as Alexander backed out in the Raleigh he was fired at from the ports of the Congress, though she had surrendered to us. A dastardly, cowardly act! Buchanan not getting Parker's report, and the frigate not being burnt, he accepted my volunteered services to burn her; and, taking eight men and our only remaining boat, I pulled for her, with Webb in the gallant little Teazer steaming up soon afterwards to cover me. In the meantime the Patrick Henry, Jamestown, and Teazer had come splendidly into action just about the time or a little before the Congress struck, and when I left the old beauty they were doing grand work with their guns on the Minnesota and shore batteries.

"I did not think the Yankees on shore would fire at me on my errand to the Congress, but when in about two hundred and fifty yards of her they opened on me from the shore with muskets and artillery;