27 September 1864: “A ball passed three inches above my head”

Item Description: Excerpt of a letter from Mrs. Louis H.deRosset regarding a dangerous journey, as her ship was attacked by Union blockaders.

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Citation: From Folder 62, in the DeRosset Family Papers #214, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Sept. 27, 1864

“Sunday we started, but, it being a very bright night we were seen by two blockaders. Immediately the sky was illuminated with rockets, broadside upon broadside, volley upon volley was poured upon us. The Captain put me in the wheelhouse for safety. I had scarcely taken my seat when a ball passed three inches above my head, wounding the man at the wheel next to me; a large piece of the wheelhouse knocked me violently in the head. I flew to the cabin, took baby in my arms, and immediately another ball passed through the cabin. We came so near one of the enemy’s boats that they fired a round of musketry, and demanded surrender. We passed them like lightning, and after passing through it all, leaving the enemy in the far distance, feeling perfectly safe, the vessel commenced sinking! Eight shots went through and through below the water line. I stayed in the cabin until I could not longer keep baby out of the water, when the Captain sent us to shore.”

Extract from Letter of Mrs. Louis H. deRosset.

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