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The Iron Porpoise (standard:action, 4837 words)
Author: Robert HughesAdded: Apr 09 2002Views/Reads: 1920/1114Story 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 


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