|View single post by Hellcat|
|Posted: Mon Sep 5th, 2011 03:40 am||
U. S. S. WYOMING,
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your order of the 15th April, to proceed with this ship to the port of Philadelphia.
Preparations were made to leave on the 11th installt. On the evening of the 10th news was received through Japanese sources that an American steamer had been fired on by a bark and brig of war belonging [to] the Prince of Nagato, at the western outlet of the Inland Sea, and that she disappeared, and supposed sunk. A mail from Shanghai the same evening brought authentic information that the American steamer Pembroke, on her passage from this place to Shanghai through the Inland Sea, had been fired on by the above vessels and had made her escape through the Bungo Passage. Enclosed is a copy of the statement of the affair by the captain of the Pembroke.
On the 13th we left this place for the scene of the outrage, and arrived off’ the inner entrance of the western outlet of the Inland Sea on the morning of the 16th.
On the tide proving favorable we proceeded in the straits, and on opening the town of Shimonoseki discovered a steamer, brig, and bark of war at anchor off the town, with Japanese colors at the peak and the flag of the prince at the fore.
We stood for the vessels, arid on approaching were fired on, as we got in range, by six batteries on different positions, mounting from two to four guns each. Passing between the brig and bark on the starboard hand and the steamer on the port, we received and returned their fire at pistol shot. Rounding the bow of the steamer and getting in position, maintained the action for about one hour. During the affair the
steamer got underway, but two well-directed shells exploded her boilers. The brig appeared to be settling by the stern, and no doubt sunk. The amount of damage done the bark mnst have been serious, as well as great destruction on shore. The straits opposite the city are about three fourths of a mile wide, with strong currents, which made it very difficult to maneuver the ship properly. As I had no charts, and my pilots completely paralyzed and apprehensive of getting on shore (in fact did touch
once), I was induced to withdraw out of action.
The fire from the shore battery was extremely brisk, and continued so as long as we were in range. We were hulled 11 times, and with considerable damage to smokestack and rigging aloft, which was attributed to our passing within the range they were prepared for.
I regret to state the loss of 4 killed and 7 wounded (1 of whom since dead). Enclosed is the surgeon’s report.
It affords me much pleasure to state that the conduct of the officers and crew was all I could desire.
Lieutenant Barton, in charge of the first division, makes honorable mention of the conduct of Acting Master’s Mate J. E. Sweeney, Peter King, seaman, captain of forward pivot gun; Thomas Saddler, captain top, and Charles J. Murphy, seaman. I would also mentiou the cool conduct of Frank Wyatt, boatswain’s mate, captain of the after pivot gun, and Edward Penney, captain of top and second captain of the
The Prince of Nagato, it appears, has commenced this war on his own account, as he is one of the most powerful and influential of the princes of the Empire and bitterly opposed to foreigners, but the punishment inflicted and in store for him will, I trust, teach him a lesson that will not be soon forgotten.
On the 7th instant the French dispatch steamer Kienehang, passing through on her way to Shanghai, was fired on and considerably injured, and on the 11th H. N. M. ship Medusa was also fired oil, and sustained some damage and a loss of 4 men and 7 wounded.
As soon as the outrage on the French steamer was known here the French Admiral Jaur6s left with his flagship and a gunboat for Shimonoseki, and no doubt will complete the punishment due for the wanton violation of existing treaties.
The Jamestown was at Wusung oii the 16th, to sail immediately for this port via Nagasaki. I shall await her arrival.
I enclose a proximate plan of the straits, the position of the vessels and shore batteries, and coarse, etc., all of which is respectfully submitted by
Your obedient servant,
Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington.