Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/180
172 Southern Historical Society Papers.
the stern. Thick darkness prevailed. All hands had already en- dured what they thought was the utmost limit. Some of the crew almost lost control of themselves-. It was a terrible few minutes, " better imagined than described." We soon had the boat to the surface and the manhead opened. Fresh air ! What an experience I Well, the sun was shining when we went down, the beach lined with soldiers. It was now quite dark, with one solitary soldier gazing on the spot where he had seen the boat before going down the last time. He did not see the boat until he saw me standing on the hatch combing, calling to him to stand by to take the line. A light was struck and the time taken^ We had been on the bottom two- hours and thirty-five minutes. The candles ceased to burn in twenty-five minutes after we went down, showing that we had re- mained under water two hours and ten minutes after the candle went out.
The soldier informed us that we had been given up for lost, that a message had been sent to General Beauregard at Charleston that the torpedo boat had been lost that evening off Battery Marshall with all hands.
^Ve got back to the quarters at Mount Pleasant that night, went over early next morning to the city (Charleston) and reported to General Beauregard the facts of the affair. They were all glad to see us.
After making a full report of our experience, General Rains, of General Beauregard's staff, who w r as present, expressed some doubt of our having stayed under water two hours and ten minutes after the candle went out. Not that any of us wanted to go through the same experience again, but we did our best to get him to come over to Sullivan's Island and witness a demonstration of the fact, but without avail. We continued to go out as often as the weather per- mitted, hoping against hope, each time taking greater risks of get- ting back. On the last of January we interviewed the Charleston pilots again, and they gave it as their opinion that the wind would hold in the same quarter for several weeks.
On February 5, 1864, I received orders to report in Charleston to General Jordan, chief of staff, who gave me transportation and orders to report at Mobile, to build a breech-loading repeating gun. This was a terrible blow, both to Dixon and myself, after we had gone through so much together. General Jordan told Dixon he would get two men to take my place from the German artillery, but that I was wanted in Mobile. It was thought best not to tell the