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  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
Document Type
  • Primary Source Document
  • Publication
Wars & Conflicts
  • Civil War 1861-1865
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Location of Archival Materials

The Sinking of the USS Housatonic by the Submarine CSS H.L. Hunley, off Charleston, South Carolina, 17 February 1864

Original U.S. Navy Documents

Order of Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, U.S. Navy, commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron,
ordering defensive measures against Confederate torpedo boats.

Off Morris Island, South Carolina, January 7, 1864.

I have reliable information that the rebels have two torpedo boats ready for service, which may be expected on the first night when the water is suitable for their movement. One of these is the "David," which attacked the Ironsides in October; the other is similar to it.

There is also one of another kind [H. L. Hunley], which is nearly submerged and can be entirely so. It is intended to go under the bottoms of vessels and there operate.

This is believed by my informant to be sure of well working, though from bad management it has hitherto met with accidents, and was lying off Mount Pleasant two nights since.

There being every reason to expect a visit from some or all of these torpedoes, the greatest vigilance will be needed to guard against them.

The ironclads must have their fenders rigged out and their own boats in motion about them.

A netting must also be dropped overboard from the ends of the fenders, kept down with shot, and extending along the whole length of the sides; howitzers loaded with canister on the decks and a calcium [light] for each monitor. The tugs and picket boats must be incessantly upon the lookout, when the water is not rough, whether the weather be clear or rainy.

I observe the ironclads are not anchored so as to be entirely clear of each other's fire if opened suddenly in the dark. This must be corrected, and Captain Rowan will assign the monitors suitable positions for this purpose, particularly with reference to his own vessel.

It is also advisable not to anchor in the deepest part of the channel, for by not leaving much space between the bottom of the vessel and the bottom of the channel it will be impossible for the diving torpedo to operate except on the sides, and there will be less difficulty in raising a vessel if sunk.

Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Information on the Hunley obtained by the U.S. Navy from the interrogation of Confederate deserters.

JANUARY 7, 1864.

The "American Diver," [H. L. Hunley] was built at Mobile and was brought on two platform cars from Mobile to Charleston; saw her in all stages of construction at Mobile. Sometimes worked near her in the same shop. Thinks she is about 35 feet long; height about same as "David" (5½ feet); has propellers at the end; she is not driven by steam, but her propeller is turned by hand. Has two manholes on the upper side, about 12 to 14 feet apart. The entrance into her is through these manholes, the covers being turned back. They are all used to look out of. (Will give a sketch and description of her.) She has had bad accidents hitherto, but was owing to those in her not understanding her. Thinks that she can be worked perfectly safe by persons who understand her. Can be driven 5 knots an hour without exertion to the men working her. Manholes are about 16 inches high and are just above water when trimmed. Believes was brought here about 1st September; has seen her working in the water afloat; passed her in the gigshe being [sic] the last time before his arrival. Has drowned three crews, one at Mobile and two here, 17 men in all. When she went down the last time, was on the bottom two weeks before she was raised. Saw her when she was raised the last time. They then hoisted her out of the water, refitted her, and got another crew. Saw her after that submerged. Saw her go under the Indian Chief, and then saw her go back under again. She made about one-half mile in the dives. Saw her dive under the Charleston; went under about 250 feet from her, and came up about 300 feet beyond her. Was about twenty minutes under the water when she went under the Indian Chief. Her keel is of cast iron, in sections, which can be cast loose when she wishes to rise to the surface of the water. Believes she is at Mount Pleasant. One of her crew, who belongs to this vessel, came back for his clothes, and said she was going down there as a station, where they would watch her time for operations.

U.S. Navy Interrogation of George L. Shipp, Confederate deserter, regarding the Hunley.

JANUARY 8, 1864

Believes that the "American Diver" [H. L. Hunley] is at Mount Pleasant; saw her when they were getting the drowned men out of her. She was pulled upon the wharf at the time. He was about 30 yards from her. There were seven men drowned in her. Was looking at her when she went down 60 yards from the receiving ship. She went down several times but came up again. She would stay under water ten minutes each time, and would come up 75 to 80 yards from where she went down. At last she went down and would not come up again. She remained down nine days before she was raised. This was about two months ago. She was then taken to the wharf and hauled up. They launched her again in about a week, but nothing was done with her until lately, when they fitted her up again and sent her down to Mount Pleasant, where she now is. Does not know that she has dived since. It was promised to the men that went in her that she would not dive again. When she does not dive, she only shows two heads above the water about the size of a man's head. He thinks she is about 20 feet long and the manholes are about 8 feet apart. She is made of iron.

Report of Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, U.S. Navy, regarding the
Confederate "Davids" and the "Diver" (H.L. Hunley).

[No. 16.]

Off Morris Island, January 13, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge having received your letter of the 5th instant, enclosing one from Mr. Haynes.

The information therein contained is, I doubt not, substantially correct in general.

One week ago, however, two deserters made known to me the whole project more in detail, confirming much that I had previously suspected.

It seems there are ten "Davids" building in Charleston, similar to that which torpedoed the Ironsides. Of these, one is completed and ready for service; the others are in different stages from the mere keel to a more advanced stage.

The "Diver," [H. L. Hunley] as she is now called, is also ready, and with the original "David" is now at Mount Pleasant, [S. C.], on the lookout for a chance.

The action of the "Davids" has been, of course, pretty well exemplified on the Ironsides; that of the "Diver" is different, as it is intended to submerge completely, get under the bottom, attach the torpedo, haul off and pull trigger. So far the trials have been unlucky, having drowned three crews of 17 men in all. Still she does dive, as one of the deserters saw her pass twice under the bottom of the vessel he was in and once under the Charleston. The "Diver" can also be used as a "David," so that there are really three of these machines ready to operate.

On receiving this intelligence I caused additional means of prevention to be used, as will be seen by copies of enclosed orders, and the Department may be assured that if any of our monitors are injured it will not be for lack of the utmost vigilance.

It is only in smooth water, and when the tide is slack, that any danger is imminent. As my flagship is disabled in the rudder, and has therefore to remain in the inlet, I leave her at night, go aboard of some steamer in the roads, and pass the night near the ironclads, giving my own personal attention to their condition. Last night I went up to the advanced monitor about 9 o'clock. It was an ugly, rainy night, but I found all on the alert. It is indeed dangerous to approach an ironclad, as they fire on the instant. Besides their outriggers and submerged nettings, the water in advanced and around is patrolled by several steam tugs and a number of cutters, while the scout boats are thrown out far ahead.

If those who so ignorantly or basely endeavor to persuade the public that the monitors here are idle could witness one night of such vigils, they would feel disgraced at having so wantonly traduced the officers and men, who give themselves to such incessant and hard service; a battle would be far preferable.

There is, no doubt, much to be apprehended from these torpedoes, and I have already suggested to the Department an extensive use of similar means. I again respectfully urge on your consideration the most prompt resort thereto; nothing better could be devised for the security of our own vessels or for an examination of the enemy's position.

The length of these torpedo boats might be about 40 feet, and 5 to 6 feet in diameter, with a high- pressure engine that will drive them 5 knots. It is not necessary to expend much finish on them.

With the ample mechanical means of the North it seems that in one month five or six could be gotten into service.

The deserters say that the rebels believe that their batteries will do us much damage if we attack, but rely chiefly on the torpedoes for defense, and apply them in a variety of ways, at the bows of their ironclads, upon their "Davids," upon rafts, which carry six of the 60-pounders in a line, and even their small boats are equipped to receive a torpedo.

I regret to find that the strike among the mechanics (referred to by the Department December 3) has delayed the completion of the monitors Onondaga, Tecumseh and Canonicus even beyond the date (January 1) anticipate by the Department (December 3).

They will be very welcome when they do come.

The Nantucket and Montauk are the only monitors here in the hands of the mechanics. The latter requires some attention to her boilers, which are rather tender, and a new gun; the Nantucket requires the additions, repairs, etc.

I shall be ready, however, when the Onondaga, Canonicus, Tecumseh, and Sangamon arrive.

Yesterday I had an interview with the agent for raising the Weehauken. He informs me that he is proceeding as rapidly as possible with the work, and proposes to construct a wooden coffer, so as to pump the water from above the vessel as well as out of her.

The following statement by one of the deserters is of interest: He is a mechanic from Michigan, and some for years since crossed into Kentucky, pursuing his vocation. Moving about, he at last found himself in Alabama, driving an engine on the railroad from Montgomery to Mobile. Forced by the conscription to bear arms, he chose the Navy as affording better chance to leave, and was sent to Charleston, where he was put into a boat. He, with two others, watched their chance for two months. It is evident that when the rebels are compelled to use such men as engineers and mechanics to pull a bow oar, they are consuming their own vitals.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. 

Report of Captain Green, U.S. Navy, commanding USS Canandaigua, on the sinking of the Housatonic.

Off Charleston, S. C., February 18, 1864.

SIR: I have respectfully to report that a boat belonging to the Housatonic reached this ship last night at about 9:20, giving me information that that vessel had been sunk at 8:45 p. m., by a rebel torpedo craft.

I immediately slipped our cable and started for her anchorage, and on arriving near it, at 9:35, discovered her sunk with her hammock nettings under water; dispatched all boats and rescued from the wreck 21 officers and 129 men.

There are missing, and supposed to be drowned, the following-named officers and men:

Ensign Edward C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk Charles O. Muzzey, Quartermaster John Williams, Second-Class Fireman John Walsh, Landsman Theodore Parker.

Captain Pickering is very much, but not dangerously, bruised, and one man is slightly bruised.

I have transferred to the Wabash 8 of her officers and 49 men, on the account of the limited accommodations on board of this vessel.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Commodore S. C. ROWAN,
Commanding Officer off Charleston, S. C.

Report of Lieutenant Higginson, U.S. Navy, executive officer of the USS Housatonic.

Off Charleston, S. C., February 18, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the sinking of the U. S. S. Housatonic, by a rebel torpedo off Charleston, S. C., on the evening of the 17th instant.

About 8:45 p. m. the officer of the deck, Acting Master J. K. Crosby, discovered something in the water about 100 yards from and moving toward the ship. It had the appearance of a plank moving in the water. It came directly toward the ship, the time from when it was first seen till it was close alongside being about two minutes.

During this time the chain was slipped, engine backed, and all hands called to quarters.

The torpedo struck the ship forward of the mizzenmast, on the starboard side, in a line with the magazine. Having the after pivot gun pivoted to port we were unable to bring a gun to bear upon her.

About one minute after she was close alongside the explosion took place, the ship sinking stern first and heeling to port as she sank.

Most of the crew saved themselves by going into the rigging, while a boat was dispatched to the Canandaigua. This vessel came gallantly to our assistance and succeeded in rescuing all but the following-named officers and men, viz, Ensign E. C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk C. O. Muzzey, Quartermaster John Williams, Landsman Theodore Parker, Second-Class Fireman John Walsh.

The above officers and men are missing and are supposed to have been drowned.

Captain Pickering was seriously bruised by the explosion and is at present unable to make a report of the disaster.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Rear-Admiral JOHN A. DAHLGREN,
Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Report of Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, U.S. Navy, commanding the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

[No. 69.]

Port Royal Harbor, S. C., February 19, 1864.

SIR: I much regret to inform the Department that the U. S. S. Housatonic, on the blockade off Charleston, S. C., was torpedoed by a rebel "David" [H. L. Hunley] and sunk on the night of the 17th February about 9 o'clock.

From the time the "David" was seen until the vessel was on the bottom a very brief period must have elapsed; so far as the executive officer (Lieutenant Higginson) can judge, and he is the only officer of the Housatonic whom I have seen, it did not exceed five or seven minutes.

The officer of the deck perceived a moving object on the water quite near and ordered the chain to be slipped; the captain and executive officer went on deck, saw the object, and each fired at it with a small arm. In an instant the ship was struck on the starboard side, between the main and mizzen masts; those on deck near were stunned, the vessel begun to sink, and went down almost immediately. Happily the loss of life was small: Ensign E. C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk C. O. Muzzey, and three of the crew, Quartermaster John Williams, Second- Class Fireman John Walsh, and Landsman Theodore Parker.

Two boats of the Housatonic were lowered and received all they could hold; the Canandaigua, which knew nothing of the catastrophe, sent her boats immediately on hearing of it, and took off the crew, who had ascended into the rigging.

The enclosed printed orders will show the precautions which have been directed from time to time to guard the ironclads that lay inside the bar, and would naturally be the objects of attack from their importance and proximity, and I also transmit copy of a communication (January 15) to the senior officer outside on the same subject.

In addition I have been in the habit of giving personal attention to the inside blockade, sometimes visiting the picket monitors several hours after dark.

Being notified on the 5th of February by General Gillmore that he was about to throw a force into Florida, and would need naval assistance, I left promptly for the St. John's, in order to be sure that no aid should be wanted that was possible, leaving Commodore Rowan, an experienced officer, commanding the Ironsides, in charge of the blockade of Charleston.

On my return I touched here to examine into the condition of our depots, and particularly in regard to the repairs on the monitors, intending also to visit the blockade of Savannah River.

The Department will readily perceive the consequences likely to result from this event; the whole line of blockade will be infested with these cheap, convenient, and formidable defenses, and we must guard every point. The measures for prevention may not be so obvious.

I am inclined to the belief that in addition to the various devices for keeping the torpedoes from the vessels, an effective preventive may be found in the use of similar contrivances.

I would therefore request that a number of torpedo boats be made and sent here with dispatch; length about 40 feet, diameter amidships 5 to 6 feet, and tapering to a point at each end; small engine and propeller, an opening of about 15 feet above with a hatch coaming, to float not more than 18 inches above water, somewhat as thus sketched.

I have already submitted a requisition on the Bureau of Construction (January 16) for some craft of this kind, copy enclosed, which, with the great mechanical facilities of the North, should be very quickly supplied.

I have also ordered a quantity of floating torpedoes, which I saw tried here and thought promised to be useful. Meanwhile I hope the expected monitors may soon arrive, when an attack on the defenses of the lower harbor may be made.

I have attached more importance to the use of torpedoes than others have done, and believe them to constitute the most formidable of the difficulties in the way to Charleston. Their effect on the Ironsides, in October, and now on the Housatonic, sustains me in this idea.

The Department will perceive from the printed injunctions issued that I have been solicitous for some time in regard to these mischievous devices, though it may not be aware of the personal attention which I have also given to the security of the ironclads; I naturally feel disappointed that the rebels should have been able to achieve a single success, mingled with no little concern, lest, in spite of every precaution, they may occasionally give us trouble. But it will create no dismay nor relax any effort; on the contrary, the usual enquiry will be ordered, though the whole story is no doubt fully known.

I desire to suggest to the Department the policy of offering a large reward of prize money for the capture or destruction of a "David;" I should say not less than $20,000 or $30,000 for each. They are worth more than that to us.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockdg. Squadron.

Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Proceedings of a court of inquiry convened on board the USS Wabash, February 26, 1864.

U. S. STEAM FRIGATE WABASH, March 7, 1864.

The testimony having been closed, the court was cleared for deliberation, and after maturely considering the evidence adduced, find the following facts established:

First. That the U. S. S. Housatonic was blown up and sunk by a rebel torpedo craft on the night of February 17 last, about 9 o'clock p. m., while lying at an anchor in 27 feet of water off Charleston, S. C., bearing E. S. E., and distant from Fort Sumter about 5½ miles. The weather at the time of the occurrence was clear, the night bright and moonlight, wind moderate from the northward and westward, sea smooth and tide half ebb, the ship's head about W. N. W.

Second. That between 8:45 and 9 o'clock p. m. on said night an object in the water was discovered almost simultaneously by the officer of the deck and the lookout stationed at the starboard cathead, on the starboard bow of the ship, about 75 or 100 yards distant, having the appearance of a log. That on further and closer observation it presented a suspicious appearance, moved apparently with a speed of 3 or 4 knots in the direction of the starboard quarter of the ship, exhibiting two protuberances above and making a slight ripple in the water.

Third. That the strange object approached the ship with a rapidity precluding a gun of the battery being brought to bear upon it, and finally came in contact with the ship on her starboard quarter.

Fourth. That about one and a half minutes after the first discovery of the strange object the crew were called to quarters, the cable slipped, and the engine backed.

Fifth. That an explosion occurred about three minutes after the first discovery of the object, which blew up the after part of the ship, causing her to sink immediately after to the bottom, with her spar deck submerged.

Sixth. That several shots from small arms were fired at the object while it was alongside or near the ship before the explosion occurred.

Seventh. That the watch on deck, ship, and ship's battery were in all respects prepared for a sudden offensive or defensive movement; that lookouts were properly stationed and vigilance observed, and that officers and crew promptly assembled at their quarters.

Eighth. That order was preserved on board, and orders promptly obeyed by officers and crew up to the time of the sinking of the ship.

In view of the above facts the court have to express the opinion that no further military proceedings are necessary.

Captain and President.

Second Lieutenant, U. S. Marines, Judge-Advocate.

Forwarded for the information of the Navy Department by,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Report of Lieutenant W. L. Churchill, U.S. Navy, on examining
the wrecks of sunken blockade runners and the Housatonic.

Port Royal Harbor, S. C., November 27, 1864.

SIR: After a careful examination of the wrecks of the sunken blockade runners and Housatonic, I have the honor to make the following report:

I find that the wrecks of the blockade runners are so badly broken up as to be worthless. The Housatonic is very much worm-eaten, as I find from pieces which have been brought up. She is in an upright position; has settled in the sand about 5 feet, forming a bank of mud and sand around her bed; the mud has collected in her in small quantities. The cabin is completely demolished, as are also all the bulkheads abaft the mainmast; the coal is scattered about her lower decks in heaps, as well as muskets, small arms, and quantities of rubbish.

I tried to find the magazine, but the weather has been so unfavorable and the swell so great that it was not safe to keep a diver in the wreck. I took advantage of all the good weather that I had, and examined as much as was possible.

The propeller is in an upright position; the shaft appears to be broken. The rudderpost and rudder have been partially blown off; the upper parts of both are in their proper places, while the lower parts have been forced aft. The stern frame rests on the rudderpost and propeller; any part of it can be easily slung with chain slings, and a powerful steamer can detach each part.

I have also caused the bottom to be dragged for an area of 500 yards around the wreck, finding nothing of the torpedo boat. On the 24th the drag ropes caught something heavy (as I reported). On sending a diver down to examine it, proved to be a quantity of rubbish. The examination being completed, I could accomplish nothing further unless it is the intention to raise the wreck or propeller, in which case it will be necessary to have more machinery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Acting Volunteer Lieutenant, Commanding.

Rear-Admiral J. A. DAHLGREN,
Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Original Confederate States Navy Documents

Notes from papers of First Engineer Tomb, C.S. Navy,
regarding the submarine torpedo boat, H.L. Hunley.

CHARLESTON, S. C., January, 1865.

There was a submarine torpedo boat, not under the orders of the Navy, and I was ordered to tow her down the harbor three or four times by Flag-Officer Tucker, who also gave me orders to report as to her efficiency as well as safety. In my report to him I stated, "The only way to use a torpedo was on the same plan as the 'David'that is, a spar torpedoand to strike with his boat on the surface, the torpedo being lowered to 8 feet. Should she attempt to use a torpedo as Lieutenant Dixon intended, by submerging the boat and striking from below, the level of the torpedo would be above his own boat, and as she had little buoyancy and no power, the chances were the suction caused by the water passing into the sinking ship would prevent her rising to the surface, besides the possibility of his own boat being disabled." Lieutenant Dixon was a very brave and cool-headed man, and had every confidence in his boat, but had great trouble when under the water from lack of air and light. At the time she made the attempt to dive under the receiving ship in Charleston Harbor, Lieutenant Dixon, James A. Eason, and myself stood on the wharf as she passed out and saw her dive, but she did not rise again, and after a week's effort she was brought to the surface and the crew of 7 men were found in a bunch near the manhole. Lieutenant Dixon said they had failed to close the after valve.

The last night the "David" towed him down the harbor his torpedo got foul of us and came near blowing up both boats before we got it clear of the bottom, where it had drifted. I let him go after passing Fort Sumter, and on my making report of this, Flag-Officer Tucker refused to have the "David" tow him again. The power for driving this boat came from 7 or 8 men turning cranks attached to the propeller shaft, and when working at their best would make about 3 knots. She was very slow in turning, but would sink at a minute's notice and at times without it. The understanding was that from the time of her construction at Mobile up to the time when she struck Housatonic not less than 33 men had lost their lives in her. She was a veritable coffin to this brave officer and his men.


Extract from Journal of Operations, kept at Confederate headquarters, Charleston, S.C.,
regarding the accident to the submarine torpedo boat.

October 15, 1863. Raining again this morning, and too hazy to get report of the fleet.

To-day was exceedingly quiet, and the enemy did not fire a single shot, although Batteries Simkins and Cheves were in slow action, the former firing 33 rounds and the latter 10 rounds.

An unfortunate accident occurred this morning with the submarine boat, by which Captain H. L. Hunley and 7 men lost their lives in an attempt to run under the navy receiving ship. The boat left the wharf at 9:25 a. m. and disappeared at 9:35. As soon as she sunk air bubbles were seen to rise to the surface of the water, and from this fact it is supposed the hole in the top of the boat by which the men entered was not properly closed. It was impossible at the time to make any effort to rescue the unfortunate men, as the water was some 9 fathoms deep.

October 16, 1863.Still raining and foggy. The report of the fleet from Sumter is that the Ironsides, four monitors, and twenty-two other vessels are inside the bar, and seven blockading vessels outside.

October 18, 1863.The abolition fleet at Hilton Head is one steam frigate, two sloops of war, one cutter, seven wooden gunboats, and seventy-six transports.

Mr. Smith, provided with submarine armor, found the sunken submarine boat to-day in 9 fathoms of water. The engineer department was instructed to furnish Mr. Smith all facilities in the way of ropes, chains, etc., that an attempt might be made to recover the boat.

Letter from General Beauregard, C.S. Army, to Mr. Leary,
announcing the probable loss of the torpedo boat H.L. Hunley and her commanding officer.

HEADQUARTERS, ETC, March 10, 1864.

SIR: I am directed by the commanding general to inform you that it was the torpedo boat H. L. Hunley that destroyed the Federal man-of-war Housatonic, and that Lieutenant Dixon commanded the expedition, but I regret to say that nothing since has been heard either of Lieutenant Dixon or the torpedo boat. It is therefore feared that that gallant officer and his brave companions have perished.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Letter from Captain Gray, C.S. Army, to Major-General Maury, C.S. Army,
regarding the loss of the H.L. Hunley and her crew.

Charleston, S. C., April 29, 1864.

GENERAL: In answer to a communication of yours, received through headquarters, relative to Lieutenant Dixon and crew, I beg leave to state that I was not informed as to the service in which Lieutenant Dixon was engaged or under what orders he was acting. I am informed that he requested Commodore Tucker to furnish him some men, which he did. Their names are as follows, viz: Arnold Becker, C. Simkins, James A. Wicks, F. Collins, and Ridgeway, all of the Navy, and Corporal C. F. Carlsen, of Captain Wagener's company of artillery.

The United States sloop of war was attacked and destroyed on the night of the 17th of February. Since that time no information has been received of either the boat or crew. I am of the opinion that the torpedoes being placed at the bow of the boat, she went into the hole made in the Housatonic by explosion of torpedoes and did not have sufficient power to back out, consequently sunk with her.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain in Charge of Torpedoes.

Major-General DABNEY H. MAURY,
Mobile, Ala.

PLYMOUTH, NC, October 28, 1864.

SIR: The night of the 27th instant, a dark, rainy night, I had the watch on board doubled and took extra precaution. At or about 3 o'clock a. m., on the 28th, the officer of the deck discovered a small steamer in the river, hailed her, received an unsatisfactory answer, rang the alarm bell and opened fire on her with the watch. The officers and men were at their quarters in as quick time as was possible, but the vessel was so near that we could not bring our guns to bear, and the shot fired from the after gun loaded with grape, failed to take effect. The boat running obliquely, struck us under the port bow, running over the boom, exploded a torpedo, and smashed a large hole in us just under the water line, under a heavy fire of musketry. The boat surrendered and I sent Lieutenant Roberts to take charge of her. Manned the pumps and gave the order to fire up, so as to use the donkey engine. The water gained on us so fast that all exertions were fruitless, and the vessel went down in a few moments, merely leaving her shield and smokestack out.

In justice to myself I must say the pickets below gave no notice of her approach, and the artillery which was stationed by the vessel for a protection, gave us no assistance, manning only one piece at too late a time to be of any service.

Having condensed this report as much as I could, I respectfully request a court of enquiry, to establish on whose shoulders rests the blame of the loss of the Albemarle.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant.

Lieutenant, Commanding, C. S. Navy

Secretary of the Navy.


Published: Tue Oct 31 12:28:14 EDT 2017