By Alvah F. Hunter, Craig L. Symonds
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Additional resources for A Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter
Mr. Harmony listened courteously to my story, asked me several questions, and then said: "I'm afraid that you are not the kind of boy that we want for wardroom work, you seem to be too smart a boy for such service. " I told him that I wanted to go to the war, Oh! so much! '' After some further talk, Mr. " An hour ahead of the appointed time I was at the recruiting office, and sat watching the door to see Mr. Harmony come in. Ten o'clock, ten-thirty, eleven o'clock, eleven-thirty, and no Mr. Harmony.
With its guns removed, the two full gundecks provided ample space to house Navy recruits. Page 4 no use to try, that they already had more boys than there were places for. When I had gained audience with the chief clerk he had told me the same thing, and when I wouldn't be convinced and must needs see the Commodore, he had told me that no more boys could be shipped for a year at least. It seemed unbelievable that an able-bodied youth who really wanted to get into the service should be shut out.
Although Du Pont's fleet had captured Port Royal, South Carolina, the previous November with little difficulty, the defenses there had consisted only of hastily erected earthworks. This time the thick masonry walls of Fort Sumter and the skill of the Confederate gunners proved too much for Du Pont's fleetdespite the ironclads. The Nahant was pounded by the heavy guns of Fort Sumterstruck 36 times in a matter of minutes. One shot smashed into the pilothouse and jarred loose a bolt which ricocheted about the inside of the pilothouse wounding two men (including the captain, John Downes) and killing the helmsman.