336 Southern Historical Society Papers.
was discovered the Nashville was out of reach of the enemy's guns, which, however, fired shot after shot in impotent rage, all falling short as we widened the distance under full steam, mak- ing safe harbor at Morehead City on the 28th day of February, 1862.
Captain Pegram, after visiting Richmond and reporting to the Navy Department for instructions, returned to the ship, bring- ing information that the Nashville had been sold to private parties in Charleston. The order to remove all Confederate States' property, including armament, charts and instruments, from the vessel, was promptly executed, and the ship was left under my command, with two midshipmen, Messrs. Sinclair and Hamilton ; Boatswain Sawyer, Chief Engineer Hood, three sailors, four firemen, cook and steward, to be kept in order until taken possession of by the agent of the purchasers.
General Burnside's movement upon Newbern, N. C, was then being executed, and Captain Pegram, with the officers and crew of the Nashville, went through on one of the last trains that could escape, after which all communication inland was com- pletely cut off. Burnside's expedition was moving upon More- head City, and the capture of the Nashville seemed inevitable. The blockading fleet had been increased, and the Federal troops were on the march to seize the vessel as she lay tied up at the wharf.
A DARING ACT.
Without a crew or means of defense, without even a chart or chronometer, short of coal and provisions, the idea of saving the ship was simply vain. There seemed a single chance, however, and I determined to take that chance. The fall of Fort Macon was only a question of time, and a very short time at that ; the blockade must, therefore, be broken. Quietly and secretly we set to work, and being assured by my Chief Engineer (Hood) that with his small force and the assistance of the deckhands he could keep the vessel under steam, we made ready to run through the blockading fleet. I was fortunate in securing the services of Captain Gooding, an excellent coast pilot, who was then in command of the sailing ship blockaded in the harbor. He brought with him a chart, chronometer and sextant, and such