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DESTRUCTION OF

THE

GOSPORT

NAVY-YARD.

113

a

ing country. Any one who | teer company had taken Destruction of the

Destruction of the has seen a ship burn, and formal possession in the Gosport Navy-yard.

Gosport Navy-yard. knows how like a fiery name of Virginia, and run serpent the flame leaps from pitchy deck to up her flag from the flag-staff. In another smoking shrouds, and writhes to their very hour, several companies were on hand, and top around the masts, that stand like mar- men were at work unspiking cannon, and hy tyrs doomed, can form some idea of the won- nine o'clock they were moving them to the derful display that followed. It was not dock, whence they were begun to be transthirty minutes from the time the trains were ferred, on keels, to points below, where sand fired, till the conflagration roared like a hur- batteries were to be built. Notwithstanding ricane, and the flames from land and water the effort to keep out persons from the yard, swayed, and met, and mingled together, and hundreds found their way in, and spent darted high, and fell, and leaped up again, hours in wandering over its spacious area, and by their very motion showed their sym- and inspecting its yet stupendous works, pathy with the crackling, crashing roar of and comparing the value of that saved with destruction beneath. But in all this magni- that lost.” ficent scene, the old ship Pennsylvania was This same writer, who, evidently, was in the centre-piece. She was a very giant in the Commodore's confidence, further added : death, as she had been in life. She was a “There was general surprise expressed that sea of flame, and when the iron had entered so much that was valuable was spared. The into her soul,' and her bowels were consum- Secessionists forgot that it was only the iming, then did she spout from every port-hole mediate agencies of war that it was worth of every deck, torrents and cataracts of fire, while to destroy. Long before the workthat to the mind of Milton would have rep- shops and armories, the foundries and shipresented her a frigate of hell, pouring out wood, left unharmed can bring forth new unremitting broadsides of infernal fire. Sev- weapons of offense, this war will be ended. eral of her guns were left loaded, but not And may be, as of yore, the Stars and Stripes shotted, and as the fire reached them, they will float over Gosport Navy-yard. All that sent out on the startled morning air minute is now spared will then be so much gained !" guns of fearful peal, that added greatly Long before they could be used the war to the alarm that the light of the confla- would be ended! What hallucination! In gration had spread through the surrounding one month's time the harbor was impregnacountry. The Pennsylvania burnt like a vol- ble to approach, and three thousand men cano for five hours and a half, before her were busy restoring the entire property to its mainmast fell. I stood watching the proud full efficiency. The succeeding history of but perishing old leviathan as this sign of that Navy-yard--of the resurrected guns and her manhood was about to come down. At restored frigate Merrimacwill not fail to precisely nine and a half o'clock, by my reflect severely upon the Department which watch, the tall tree that stood in her centre ordered the destruction and abandonment of tottered and fell, and crushed deep into her the post, and of the miserably ineflicient burning sides, while a storm of sparks flood-manner in which the questionable order was ed the sky.

executed.* " As soon as the Paronce and Cumberland

The report made by the Senate committee had fairly left the waters, and were known (Messrs. Hale, Johnson of Tenn., and Grimes), to be gone, the gathering crowds of Portsmouth and Norfolk burst open the gates of

* An amusing construction was placed by Mr. the Navy-yard and rushed in. They could Stephens, in his celebrated Atlanta address, April

the failure of the attempted destruction, do pothing, however, but gaze upon the ruin

wherein he imputed the salvation of the greater wrought. The Commodore's residence, left

portion of the property to a direct interposition of locked but unharmed, was burst open, and Providence. The speaker's pious congratulations a pillage commenced, which was summarily contrasted oddly with the spirit betrayed toward stopped. As early as six o'clock, a volun- ! the North by his people. .

30th, upon

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