Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/13

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7
The Real Projector of the CSS Virginia.

and the way the balls danced around my little boat and crew was lively beyond all measure. Soon two of my men were knocked over, and, while cheering them on I got a clip through the side which keeled me up for a second or two; but I was soon on board the Teazer, Webb having very bravely come to my protection. Old Buch.[Buchanan], seeing what the scoundrels were doing, made our recall, and deliberately backing the Virginia up stream poured gun after gun, hot shot and incendiary shells into her stern and quarter, setting her on fire; but while doing this he was knocked over by a minnie ball through his left thigh, and the medics laid us together in the cabin, while brave, cool, determined old Jones fought the action out in his quiet way, giving them thunder all the time.

"As you supposed, the Minnesota and Roanoke came to the assistance of the two sailing frigates, but the former got aground, and the latter ran actually turned tail, and, as the sailors say, 'pulled foot' for Old Point. The St. Lawrence got a dose and cleared out, leaving the Minnesota alone in her sad plight, hard and fast aground, with some tugs trying to lighten her, and taking the fire from our squadron, to which she replied as well as she could, generally from her forward pivot gun. She being aground, and night coming on, of course Jones could not carry on the fight, and after a hard night of it the Commodore and I were landed early on Sunday morning at Sewell's Point, and (Catesby ap R. Jones) took the ship into action that day, fighting her like a bold seaman, as he is. He must tell you of his tussle with the Eric, a very devil of an iron battery, for he has just come in and said he had a letter from you. God bless old Buchanan for a true-hearted patriot and bold, dashing sailor, as brave as brave can be; but he exposed himself entirely too much, and was struck by a musket or minnie ball while on the upper deck, I believe, for I was under the doctor's hands then, and could not be with him at the time. I am writing in bed, and by 'fits and starts,' so excuse all inaccuracies and want of details, of which I will tell you when we meet.

"Mrs. Minor is with me, and I am decidedly more comfortable, though my wound is a severe but not dangerous one. The ball struck a rib and glanced, coming out over the heart. It knocked me down for a second or so, but I got up and cheered my men, some of whom were panic-stricken by the shower of balls, though they rallied when I got them to the Teaser.

"Send the signal book! When I can be moved the doctors will