4 September 1862: “during all this time our battery was trained on her & it would av taken less time to a blowen her out of the watter, than what it takes me to relate it.”

Item description: Report, dated 4 September 1862, from the log book of the U.S.S. Oneida. The report details the successful attempt of the Confederate cruiser Oreto (also known as Florida) to run the Federal blockade.

Item citation: From the Oneida Ship’s Diary, #3171-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Sept. the 4th

At Mobile weather fine. At 9am we all went to quarters for inspection. we also exersised at fire quarters. everything seemed to be in profound quietness around the forts & two large rebel flags was seen flying over them. At 1 pm a sail was repoarted coming from the westward we ameadetly made signals to the gunboat Winona to git underway & go out to overhall & sea what she was. the winona don so & while she was away a steamer was seen stearing direct for us. we wached her for some time we then got underweigh & steamed out towards her. we could not steam very fast on the acount of the boilers being blowen off for repairs. when we got withe in five hundrid yards, we fired a shot acrost her bows fir her to heave to but this only appeared to increase her spead. the whole battery was trained on her & all hands stood at there stations the Captons of the guns withe lockstring in hand anctious for the order to pore in there deadly missils nowing her to be a blockade runer. the second shot was fired ahead of her but was replied as the firs. the English ensign was then halled down & soon men was in her riging & the sails which was furled in the stops. soon the stops was cut & the wind being faire the sails was soon sheated out & she showed no sines of stoping. she then being rather ahead of us, we then opened the third shot from our bow gun. this was directed over her & passed between her fore & mainmast & about six feet above her decks. but this braught us no tidings of her stoping. during all this time our battery was trained on her & it would av taken less time to a blowen her out of the watter, than what it takes me to relate it.

but in stead of this we let git about one mile ahead of us. she then being nearly out of raing of our guns, our Capton then give the order to fire on her. the orders was obeyed instantly & a heavy fire was opened at her. but owing to the heavy swell which was runing, which rendered our aime very poor & caused meny of our shots & shell to pas over her without dewing eny damage, one of our shell struck her forrid of engine room passing threw her killing one man & badly wounding five but by this time she had gained the entrence of the bay & we not being aquainted withe the chanel we could not follow her any further than the bar. hear we was ablige to give up the chaise, & soon she was protected by the guns of fort morgan & we halled off & came to anchor in our usuel position during the night everything semed to bear a down cast appearence, & all hands was lementing over the loss of the valuable prise which had escaped us in such a daring maner as to forever giv disgrace to the Oneida & her gallant crew during the remainder of the night we lay quietly to achor. but the gunboat Cayuga was sent ameadietly withe dispaches to pencacola to the admiral. the night was spent in much regret by the crew of our ship as we lay quietly to anchor.

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