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Bearding The Lion In His Den

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Feb. 28, 1864, was the date of one of Torpedo Cushiug's famous exploits in Cape Fear river. In order to convince his superior that a certain plan he had matured was feasible be offered to bring the enemy's commander to breakfast on board the admiral's flagship. With 20 men iu two boats he pulled past Fort Caswell and the batteries at Bald Head, in the mouth of thü river, and landed at Smithfield, where the Confedérate headquarters were located. Hiding his boats and their crews within 25 yards of a battery, he went with two men to the house occupied by General Hebert, passing through the maiu street of the town. Near the house wero 1,200 enemies eleeping in their barracks. It was past midnight before the house grew still and lights were put out. Cushing lef t his comrades on the porcb, and entering the unbolted door crept up stairs to the general's room, which had been located for hini by a negro familiar with the house. With his hand on the door he was .startled by a crash below and a cry from one of his men. Springing down the steps, he found that his oomrades, in overconfidence, had alarmed the adjutant general, who hoisted a window and then brought it down on a Union revolver whicb looked him in the face. Cushing leaped into the room with i lighted taper and dragged from bed a dazed sleeper, who proved tobe Hebert 's chief engineer, Captain Kelley. From him he gleaned that the general, like Lord Erskine during the Bl ttle of the Kegs, was lodging away from home. The adjutant general had fled through a back door after eucounteriug the revolver at the window, leaving the drowsy captain as the next best substitute for the more distinguishod prisoner to grace the admiral's board next morning. ïlie headquarters desks were rifled of papers and plans, and while the alarm cries sounded through the camp and the drums beat tho loi:g roll in t! i flirts, Cushing and party, witli Captain Kelley under gnard, were in the middle of the rivcr dropping clown stream noiselessly as they carne. Wheu Hebc reach(;d his qnarters, it was to meet a messenger bringiu from a flag of truce the following: JIy Deak (.-nxKHAi,- I deeply regret tkat you were not home when I called. I inclose my card. Vory reapêctfully, W. B. CuBBrNG. The department knew its man whea, Cushing was selected to sink the Albe-4 liarle.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News