GALENA DAILY GAZETTE
OLD SERIES---VOL. XVI, NO. 144
NEW SERIES---VOL. I, NO. 25
Monday morning, March 13, 1864
Page 2 Col. #2
THE LOSS OF THE HOUSATONIC
--"A Naval Officer's Account of the Affair--A terrible Agency in Naval Warfare"
"As a history of the recent disaster of the U.S. steamer Housatonic may be of interest to many of your readers, I will attempt a brief statement of facts.
On the evening of February 17th, the Housatonic was anchored outside the bar, two and a half miles from Breach Inlet battery, and five miles and three fifths from the ruins of Sumter--her usual station on the blockade. There was but little wind or sea, the sky was cloudless and the moon shining brightly. A slight mist rested on the water, not sufficient, however, to prevent our discerning other vessels on the blockade two or three miles away. The usual lookouts were stationed on the forecastle, in the gangway and on the quarterdeck.
At about 8:45 of the first watch, the officer of the deck discovered, while looking in the direction of Breach Inlet battery, a slight disturbance of the water, like that produced by a porpoise. At the time it appeared to be about one hundred yards distant and a-beam. The Quartermaster examined it with his glass, and pronounced it a school of fish. As it was evidently nearing the ship, orders were at once given to slip the chain, beat to quarters, and call the Captain. Just after issuing these orders, the Master's Mate from the forecastle reported the suspicious appearance to the officer in charge. The officers and men were promptly on deck, but by this time the submarine machine was so near us that its form and the phosphorescent light produced by its motion through the water were plainly visible. At the call to quarters it had stopped, or nearly so, and then moved towards the stern of the vessel, probably to avoid our broadside guns. When the Captain reached our deck, it was on the starboard quarter, and so near us that all attempts to train a gun it were futile. Several shots were fired into it form revolvers and rifles; it also received two charges of buckshot from the Captain's gun.
The chain had been slipped and the engines had just begun to move, when the crash came, throwing timbers and splinters into the air, and apparently blowing off the entire stern of the vessel. This was immediately followed by a fearful rushing of the water, the rolling out of a dense, black smoke from the stack, and the settling of the vessel.
Orders were at once given to clear away the boats, and the men sprang to work with a will. But we were filling too rapidly. The ship gave a lurch to port and all the boats on that side were swamped. Many men and officers jumped overboard and clung to such portions of the wreak as came within reach, while others sought safety in the rigging and tops. Fortunately we were in but twenty-eight feet of water, and two of the boats on the starboard side were lowered. Most of those who had jumped overboard were either picked up or swam back to the wreck. The two boats then pulled for the Canandaigus, one and a half miles distant. Assistance was promptly rendered by that vessel to those remaining on the wreck.
It was the opinion of all who saw the strange craft, that it was very nearly or entirely under water, that there was no smoke-stack, that it was from twenty to thirty feet in length, and that it was noiseless in her motion through the water. It was not seen after the explosion. The ship was struck on the starboard side abaft the mizzen-mast. The force of the explosion seems to have been mainly upward. A piece ten feet square was blown out of her quarterdeck, all the beams and carlines being broken transversely across. The heavy spanker boom was broken in its thickest part, and the water for some distance was white with splinters of oak and pine.
Probably no more than one minute elapsed from the time the torpedo was first seen, until we were struck, and not over three or four minutes could have passed between the explosion and the sinking of the ship. Had we been struck in any other part, or before the alarm had been given the loss of life would have been much greater.
The Housatonic was a steam-sloop, with a tonnage of 1,240, and she
carried a battery of thirteen guns. She was completed about eighteen
months ago, and has been in the blockade ever since. She is the first
vessel destroyed by a contrivance of this character, and this fact gives
to this lamentable affair a significance which it would not otherwise
possess. Deserters tell us that there are other machines of this kind
in the harbor, ready to come out, and that several more are in process
of construction. The country cannot attend too earnestly to the dangers
which threaten our blockading fleets, and the gunboats and streamers on
the Southern rivers."
-----Off Charleston, Feb. 22,1864
Page 2 Col. #5
"Grand Jurors selected for the my Term of the Circuit Court
commencing on the third Monday of May next, to-wit:
Frederick HARGRAFFEN. of Menominee
Jeremiah BUTLER, Vinegar Hill
George REDFEARN, Council Hill
William VIPOND, Scales Mound
Robert ALLINSON, Apple River
Kingly OLDS, Courtland
Theodore DREW, Nora
John SPARE, Rush
Joseph PIMPERTON, Thompson
William AVERY, Guilford
Lyman WALDO, Wards Grove
George JUSTUS, Stockton
Andrew JENNINGS, Woodbine
Benjamin, TART, Elizabeth
Henry McMASTER, Derreman
Benjamin HATRMAN, Sen. Pleasant Valley
George HAAS, Jr. Dereinda
O. H. GILLITT, Hanover
James VIRTUE, Rice
James LEVENS, East Galena
Timothy MURPHY, West Galena
John FAGAN, West Galena
George SANDERS, West Galena
The following are the Petit Jurors selected for the first week of the
May Term of the Circuit Court, 1864, commencing on the 3d Monday of May,
William POWERS, of Menominee
John MURPHY, Vinegar Hill
John GREGORY, Council Hill
Thomas JEWELL, Scales Mound
William PATTEN, Apple River
L.F. FARNHAM, Courtland
Alfred STEVENS, NORA
William PRYOR, Rush
Henry MARTIN, Thompson
Francis HOCKING, Guilford
David HAWN, Wards Grove
A.U. JENKINS, Stockton
John WICKSON, Woodbine
Amaza RANSON, Elizabeth
Robert ANRAND, Berreman
Jacob BUCHER, Pleasant Valley
Duncan McINTYRE, Derinda
George MILLER, Hanover
John SPENCE, Rice
Owen KERNS, East Galena
Tomas (C)ARY, 1st ward, Galena
John GALLAGHER, 2d ward, do.
A.J. CAUFIELD, 3d ward
Michael COGAN, 4th ward
The following are the Petit Jurors selected for the second week of the
May Term of the Circuit Court, 1864, commencing on the 4th Monday of
Ordered the following named persons be allowed the sum set opposite their respective names for services at the present session, to-wit:W. SHEA $6.00
Page 3 Col. #2
"Suddenly, in East Galena, on Friday evening, March 11, Mrs. Eunice HALLET, widow of the late Moses HALLET, in the 78th year of her age."
DUBUQUE ITEMS '-- "There being a channel open in the river, the Ferry-boat made one trip Saturday from Dubuque to Dunleith and back. As soon as she had arrived on the Dubuque shore the ice came down from above, and blocked up the channel and the boat is again laid up. Her first trip last year was made on the 21st day of February." -- " It is currently reported that the Ferry Company have sold out to C.H. MERRY, of Dunleith, who will soon assume control of the boat." --"The celebrated mare Lady Flora, owned by A.W. RICHMOND, was so badly hurt last week that it became necessary to kill her, which was done by knocking her in the head. She was a mate to "Tom Thumb", which trotted here last January with P.J. HICKEY's horse. She was valued at $1,000."
--"Soldiers of the Potomac army complain of the immense size of stockings furnished by the ladies."
--"It appears from a letter of the Commissioner of pensions that only twelve of the Revolutionary soldiers are now living, whose ages range from 94 to 105 years, and whose pensions only amount to from $24 to $96 per annum."