Report of Captain De Camp, U S. Navy, regarding the discovery of a suspicious object in the water supposed to be a torpedo boat.
U. S. S. WABASH,
Off Charleston, S. C., April 19, 1864.
SIR: I have to report that last night, at about 9:45, an object was discovered by Ensign Charles H. Craven, the officer of the deck, on the starboard quarter, distant about 150 yards, which corresponded in shape and movements to the torpedo boat which sunk the Housatonic. It moved rapidly up against the tide, till about the mainmast, then, turning, stood directly for the ship.
Ensign Craven opened fire with musketry, beat the gong for the crew to assemble at quarters, rang four bells for the engine to go ahead, op cued fire with the watch, with the starboard battery, and gave orders for slipping the chain.
The men rushed quickly to their quarters, the ship moved ahead, the chain was slipped, and when the object was being left in the quarter, distant at the time about 40 yards, a round shot is supposed to have struck it; at all events the second shot struck in its immediate vicinity, and it was seen no more.
One round shot was fired from each of the spar-deck guns on the starboard side, and the crew were kept at their quarters, while with the helm hard aport the ship kept cruising round the spot.
The marines were also stationed along the starboard side, where they could use their pieces to advantage. Signal was made to the effect that “Rams were coming,” as that most likely to place the other cruisers on their guard, and soon the Canandaigua and Flag came up within hail.
Captain Davis, Paymaster Richardson, and Dr. Burbank all saw the object spoken of, which corresponded exactly to the description given of the torpedo boat which sunk the Housatonic, except that this had but one elevated place or turret.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. DE CAMP,
Commodore S. C. ROWAN,
Comdg. South Atlantic Blkdg. Squadron, off Charleston.
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion; Series I - Volume 9: North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (May 5, 1863 - May 5, 1864), 1899, U.S. Government Printing Office
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