Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/218
210 Southern Historical Society Papers.
went to the bottom in less than two minutes, taking most of her crew with her.
The chains on the forward deck of the ram became entangled with the Southfield, which carried her bow to such a depth that the water began to pour into her portholes.
The situation was critical. It looked as if nothing could save the ram, but as the Southfield struck bottom she turned over, and the Albemarle was released.
The Miami, in the meantime, had broken apart from the sunken vessel, and opened fire from her big guns at such close range that the flash passed over and beyond the Albemarle.
Here a most remarkable circumstance occurred. A Q-inch shell struck the ram, rebounded, and exploded almost at the lanyard of the gun which it came from, killing Captain Flusherandsix men. Not- withstanding the confusion, the Federal crew made an effort to board the ram, but were fought off by the Confederates, who used both bayonets and the butts of their rifles, killing a majority of the crew before they could escape.
Seeing how determined the Confederates were, the Miami, a very swift vessel, turned tail, and, although pursued by the ram, suc- ceeded in making her escape.
She never reversed her engines until she had ploughed into Albe- marle Sound.
Captain Cooke successfully carried out his part of the plan by driving every vessel into the ocean.
The following day General Hoke attacked the fortifications and carried them, although he lost a good part of his men.
General Ransom's Brigade alone left nearly six hundred dead and wounded on the field.
General Ransom distinguished himself by leading his men over the enemy's works, where occurred a hand-to-hand fight.
The Federal Commander, General Wessells, made a gallant de- fense, but Ransom and Hoke forced him to surrender. The enemy's loss was very heavy. His dead lay in heaps, and his wounded were lying on all sides. During the assault the Albemarle played upon the forts also, but the Federal boats were too cautious to return.
After the capture of Plymouth, N. C., April 19, 1864 by Generals Hoke and Ransom in which action the Confederate ram, Albemarle, destroyed one gunboat of the Federal fleet and drove the others into Pamlico Sound; the Confederates were greatly encouraged and the Federals correspondingly discouraged and alarmed.