Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/102

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96 Southern Historical Society Papers.

bows striking at the gangway, we struck the wheelhouse, so that the next boat, commanded by Lieutenant Loyall, had the deadly honor of being first on board. Leading his crew, as became his rank, duty and desire, he jumped and pulled into the gangway now a blazing sheet of flame, and being nearsighted, having lost his glasses, stumbled and fell prone upon the deck of the gunboat, the four men who were following close up on his heels falling on top of him stone dead, killed by the enemy's bullets; each one of the unfortunate fellows having from four to six of them in his body, as we found out later. Rising, Lieutenant Loyall shook off his load of dead men, and by this time we had climbed up on the wheelhouse, Commander Wood's long legs giving him an advantage over the rest of us ; I was the closest to him, but had nothing to do as yet, except to anxiously observe the progress of the hand-to-hand fighting below me. I could hear Wood's stentorian voice giving orders and encouraging the men, and then, in less than five minutes, I could distinguish a strange synchronous roar, but did not understand what it meant at first ; but it soon became plain : " She's ours," everybody crying at the top of their voices, in order to stop the shooting, as only our own men were on their feet. I then jumped down on the deck, and as I struck it, I slipped in the blood, and fell on my back and hands ; rising immediately, I caught hold of an officer standing near me, who with an oath col- lared me, and I threw up his revolver just in time to make myself known. It was Lieutenant Wilkinson, who the moment he recog- nized me, exclaimed: "I'm looking for you doctor; come here." Following him a short distance in the darkness, I examined a youth who was sitting in the lap of another, and in feeling his head I felt my hand slip down between his ears, and to my horror, discovered that his head had been cleft in two by a boarding sword in the hands of some giant of the forecastle. It was Passed Midshipman Palmer Sanders, of Norfolk. Directing his body, and those of all the other killed, to be laid out aft on the quarter deck, I went down below, look- ing for the wounded in the ward-room, where the lights were burn- ing, and found half a dozen with slight shots from revolvers. After having finished my examination, a half an hour had elapsed, and when ascending to the deck again I heard the officers of the various corps reporting to Commander Wood; for immediately after the capture of the vessel, according to the orders, the engineers and fire- men had been sent down to the engine-room to get up steam, and Lieutenant Lovall as executive officer, with a number of seamen had attempted to raise the anchor, cast loose the cable which secured the