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|The Iron Porpoise (standard:action, 4837 words)|
|Author: Robert Hughes||Added: Apr 09 2002||Views/Reads: 1947/1131||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The Iron porpoise is a story that takes place during the civil war. One cold night off the Charleston Harbor, on the 17 of February, 1863, the confederate submarine the Hunley, is making rounds about an enemy war ship. Lt. george Dixon is the comander of|
The Iron Porpoise By: Matthew Hughes (or, Robert Hughes) The temperature on the Atlantic surface was a chilling 32 degrees, but even colder under the wake of the Housatonic. My men and I aren't really under their wake, but we certainly are close. We left this morning from Charleston Harbor, and circled around the Union blockade. I wrote in my log that the date is February 16, 1863, but in fact, it is now the 17th. We've been lining up with the U. S. S. Housatonic for nearly 18 hours now. We aimed for them because they are the strong hold of the eastern part of the blockade. Standing hunched forward with a sore in my lower back, I quietly hold onto a pressure valve trying to keep my balance. My left hand fidgeted within my pocket. Beads of sweat roll down my neck onto my back causing my shirt to stick to my body and create a muggy environment within. The sweat, rolling off my face, curved down both sides of my cheeks, and falling from my chin hitting the blue, metal floor of the Hunley making"clicks" and "ticks" as they did. A short while later, I could hear the sound of my sweat like pebbles dropping in water. My feet feeling damp and cold. The heal -high water engulfing my feet couldn't be solely from me. Some unknown source about fifteen feet away is adding water to the standing pool at my feet. I am tired and distressed, waiting for someone to cease the annoying noise. I look over my left shoulder to see a valve that is leaking at a connection jointed together by six, 3" iron bolts and a washer. My guess is that the washer broke from too much pressure, or the bolts were lose from too much force inside of the pipe. The leakage wasn't at all that great in size, so I think of it not. The "creaking" and "cranking" of the Hunley is nerve-wracking, but, the marvel of being under the surface, in a machine as great as this, is all that is needed to erase the thought and fright of what could happen when we meet nose to nose with the Housatonic. In awe, I find the object that I was looking for in my pocket. I hold out my hand below my waist and stare at the gold, bell shaped coin with thankful eyes. I can still see the black gun powder scare streaking on the inside of the sloping bowl where the led ball hit. My eyes begin to swell with tears as I think over the bitter memory of my dear bride-to-be's death. She gave this coin to me the day before I left to Shiloh. It was nearly ten months ago, on the sixth of April, 1862. She was begging me to keep it close to my heart, so should anything happen to me on the field, she would always be with me - and I with her. I remember it all too well. The memory shot painfully through my mind destroying my sanity until the damage was beyond recognition. Then it ripped my mind into a black void of nothingness. Fading back into my hazy vision, I found my body pressed against the blood stained dirt and mud, with something hard poking into the left side of my chest. My mind took me on a journey back to that fateful day. The combined, thunderous sound of screaming and musket shots rang deafeningly. The air was cold; the ground was covered with thick vegetation. My face was incased in the damp foliage that lay about. Despite the soft, semi-comfortable ground, fear continued to shoot through my head as fast as musket rounds. I rose up onto my right knee, slowly and cautiously. I looked around but I did not see General Sherman anywhere. He was probably with some other troops. He did bring in over 40,000 troops, me, leading one of them. The mound of dirt that lay before me was infected with limbs torn in every possible way, sprouting and protruding from it. I can still smell the stench that filled the cold heavy air, and to this day, lingers on my body, holding on - not letting go. With rage, I ran. I heard the ring of steel as it ignited the air, I drew the sword out of its scabbard; the tip whistled and cut through the air. I brought the point in front of me and held it there, not knowing what I might plunge it into. As I ran, every thing seemed to be a blur. The smoke from the gun fires and chilling fog dimmed my vision. The impact of what felt like a thick mass of air stopped me in my tracks. I was knocked onto the ground. Lying on my back, my vision was blurred and my eyes stung with gunpowder. Then, silence. I tried to lift my head, but couldn't; I tried to lift my legs, but couldn't. My vision was nothing but blackness. Flames erupted and flowed through my body, my knotted muscles, and every limb, then stopped suddenly. Gradually my vision came back, but my sight was distorted. I could only make out red smoke illuminated by fire. The screaming from the men on Click here to read the rest of this story (430 more lines)
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