The First Ironclad. 199
On the first favorable night, in a small steam launch. Captain Austin and six brave men went gliding out of the harbor. Unob- served they steamed to the steps leading down from the steamer's side. Confident of security, but one man had been left on deck, and he hailed the launch as it tied up to the vessel's side.
" This is launch No. 7," came the response from Captain Austin. 41 Where's the captain of this ship?"
" He's asleep in the cabin," answered the watchman.
" Lead me to him ? " demanded Captain Austin.
Without a thought of danger the sailor turned and led the way along the deck, the leader of the expedition following. As he climbed up the side of the vessel the remainder of the crew came close behind. Each had been instructed as to his duty, and without a word they went to their different posts.
Without knocking, the watch led the visitor into the captain's cabin. When he was awakened he was looking down the barrel of a revolver.
The hatches had been closed on the crew, and the six men were in control. Quickly slipping anchor chains, the vessel was headed toward the harbor. She was lying to the westward of the channel and must necessarily cross the mouth. Scarcely had she started when she was hailed.
"Transport Fox, bound for Key West," came the response from the deck of the vessel as she glided past.
Again she was hailed, but the same reply took her safely on to- ward the goal. Once in the channel, she was quickly put about, and the next morning found her tied up at the Mobile wharves. Thous- ands of muskets and a hull full of ammunition were turned over to the Confederacy with the ship. Captain Austin became the lion of the hour, and was presented with an elegant gold watch by the citi- zens of the town.
THIS SURPASSES FICTION.
It was after the capture of New Orleans that Captain Austin fell into the clutches of the enemy and was lodged there in prison. But jail walls could never hold him. Within a few days he was assisted to his liberty and secreted in the home of a sympathizer. For ten days he remained in hiding before a means of escape from the city was devised. Finally one dark night a friend from the outside came to the house and led Captain Austin with his companion to the water front. Swimming out in the muddv water, the two men climbed