“The Olympia passed two more forts The Baltimore was next to us. She passed all right, but when the Raleigh came under the guns of the second fort, there was a flash and I heard the shriek of the first shell. Then almost before the shell struck, there was a spout of flame from the Raleigh, and her shell killed forty men, as we learned yesterday. Two more shells were fired at us, but we were well past them. Then the men were told to lie down.
[Illustration: Rapid-fire Gun.]
“Now, commenced the signal corps work. Soon our signal lights were flashing the order to close up. At four o’clock I was told by the signal officer to lie down and catch a nap.
“At four, coffee was given to all the men and at fifteen minutes to five, the shore batteries had shells dropping all around, but we did not fire until sixteen minutes past five. The Spanish fleet was in sight off the navy yard. Then the fight started in earnest. For a while I thought my time had come. After we made the signal ’commence firing,’ we had nothing to do but watch the fight. The shells flew over our heads so quick I paid no attention to them.
[Illustration: The Olympiads Military Mast.]
“After an hour and fifteen minutes, the Spanish admiral had two ships sunk under turn. We withdrew for a short time, not knowing we had them whipped. As we were leaving, three ships were burning. At nine-twenty-five, we started again. In a short time the arsenal went up and the Government buildings were in flames.
“The battle lasted altogether three hours and some minutes. At eleven-fifteen the white flag was shown, and you might hear us cheer. The ship was hit about six times. The Spaniards lost terribly. The rebels attacked the enemy. It is something wonderful when you consider the advantage they had over us. They had eleven ships to our six. Their ships could run behind a neck of land near the navy yard. The shore batteries were firing on us from three points. But our marksmanship was too much for them; our fire was so rapid they could not stand it. They lost about two thousand men, so the rumor says. We sank four ships and burned seven. It was a grand, beautiful sight to see those ships burn.
“I was ashore yesterday, and we destroyed all the guns. I managed to get a few souvenirs. Two torpedo boats attempted to blow us up, but one was sunk and one was beached. I saw her. She was full of holes and blood was all over her bow ...
“I hope the ships at home have as good luck as us. I wrote this on captured paper with a Spanish officer’s pen.”
Like many other vessels in the navy, the Olympia has a complete printing outfit on board, and issues, at intervals, a very creditable sheet called the “Bounding Billow.” This is its account of a Spanish shot:
“One shot struck the Baltimore in the starboard waist, just abaft one of the six-inch guns. It passed through the hammock nettings, exploded a couple of three-pounder shells, wounding six men, then across the deck, striking the cylinder of a gun, making it temporarily useless, then running around the shield it spent itself between two ventilators, just forward of the engine-room hatch. The shell is in possession of the captain.”