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could not decide whether to risk an advance at all costs or to turn back beaten. He was a very devout as well as a most determined man; and his simple prayer, “O God, shall I go on?" seemed answered by the echo of his soul, “Go on!” So on he went, not in unreflecting exaltation, but in exaltation based on knowledge and on skill. Like Cromwell, he might well have said, “Trust in the Lord and keep your powder dry!” For he had done all that naval foresight could have done to ensure success. And now, in one lightning flash of genius, he reviewed the situation. He knew the torpedoes of his day were often unreliable, that they exploded only on a special kind of shock, that those which did explode could not be replaced in action, that they were all fixed to their own spots, and that if one ship was blown up her next-astern would get through safely.
The Brooklyn, his next-ahead, was in his way. So he ordered the flagship Hartford and her lashedtogether consort, the double-ender Metacomet, to use, the one her screw, the other her paddles, in opposite directions, till he had cleared the Brooklyn's stern. As he drew clear and headed for the danger-channel a shout went up from the Brooklyn's deck “'ware torpedoes!” But Farragut, his mind made up, instantly roared back — “Damn the torpedoes!” Then, turning to the Hartford's and Metacomet's decks, he called his orders down: “Four bells! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Captain Jouett, full speed!” In answer to the order of "four bells" the engines worked their very utmost and the two vessels dashed ahead. Torpedoes knocked against the bottom and some of the primers actually snapped. But nothing exploded; and Farragut won through.
Inside the harbor the Tennessee fought hard against the overwhelming Union fleet. But her lowpowered engines gave her no chance at quick ma
Three vessels rammed her in succession; and she was forced to surrender.
After this purely naval victory on the fifth of August, General Granger's troops invested Fort Morgan, which, becoming the target of an irresistible converging fire from both land and sea on the twenty-second, surrendered on the twenty-third.
The next objective of a joint expedition was Fort Fisher, which stood at the end of a long, low tongue of land between the sea and Cape Fear River. Fort Fisher guarded the entrance to Wilmington in North Carolina, the port, above all others, from which the Confederate armies drew their oversea
supplies. Lee wrote to Colonel Lamb, its commandant, saying that he could not subsist if it was taken. Lamb had less than two thousand men in the fort; but there were six thousand more forming an army of support outside. The Confederates, however, had no naval force to speak of, while the Union fleet, commanded by Admiral Porter, was the largest that had ever yet assembled under the Stars and Stripes. There were nearly sixty fighting vessels of all kinds, including five new ironclads and the three finest new frigates. The guns that were carried exceeded six hundred.
There was also a mine ship, the old Louisiana, stuffed chock-a-block with powder to blow in the side of the fort. The Washington wiseacres set, great store on this new mine of theirs. It was, of course, to end the war. But naval and military experts on the spot were more than doubtful. On the night of the twenty-third of December the Louisiana was safely worked in near the fort by brave Commander Rhind, who fired the slow match and escaped unhurt with his devoted crew of volunteers. A tremendous explosion followed. But, as there was nothing to drive the force of it against the walls, it simply resulted in an enormous flurry of water, mud, sand, earth, and bits of flaming wreckage.
Next morning the fleet bombarded with such success as to silence many of the guns opposed to them. But on Christmas Day General Weitzel reported that an assault would fail; whereupon General Butler concurred and retreated, much to the rage of the fleet, which thought quite otherwise.
In a few days General Terry arrived with the same white troops reinforced by two small colored brigades, making a total of eight thousand men. To these Porter, strongly reinforced, added a naval brigade, two thousand strong, that volunteered to storm the sea face of Fort Fisher. These gallant men had only cutlasses and pistols — except the four hundred marines, who carried bayonets and rifles. They were a scratch lot, from the soldier's point of view, never having been landed together as a single unit till called upon to assault the most dangerous features of the fort. Yet, though they were repulsed with considerable loss, they greatly helped to win the day by obliging the defenders to divide their forces. As Terry's army was, by itself, four or five times stronger than Lamb's entire command the military stormers succeeded in fighting their way through every line of defense and compelling a surrender. They did exceedingly well. But their rear was safe, because Bragg had
magnificent, especially from the after-pivot, which Quartermaster William Smith fired with deadly aim, even when three of his gun's crew had been wounded by a shell. These three, strange to say, were the only casualties that occurred aboard the Kearsarge. But at sea the stronger side usually suffers much less and the weaker much more than on land. The Alabama lost forty: killed, drowned, and wounded.
The Kearsarges soon saw how the fight was going and began to cheer each first-rate shot. “That's a good one! Now we have her! Give her another like the last!” The big eleven-inchers got home repeatedly as the range decreased; so much so that Semmes ordered Kell to keep the Alabama headed for the coast the next time the circling brought her bow that way. This would bring her port side into action, which was just what Semmes wanted now, because she had a dangerous list to starboard, where the water was pouring through the shot-holes. Kell changed her course with perfect skill, righting the helm, hoisting the head-sails, hauling the fore-trysail-sheet well aft, and pivoting to port for a broadside delivered almost as quickly as if there had not been a change at all. But at this moment the engineer came up to say the water had put his fires out