(Editors note: see the page on Josiah Conley for background information on this article)
US NAVAL HEADQUARTERS,
New Orleans, August 8
The following are some of the particulars of the loss of the Tecumseh, sunk by a torpedo in the late naval engagement in Mobile Bay:
She had nearly passed Fort Morgan and was approaching the ram "Tennessee," to engage her, when she encountered the torpedo; the explosion immediately took place, followed by a column of water rushing up through the bottom of the monitor, when she rapidly settled and went down.
According to one of the survivors all perished, except nine, including two officers. Some accounts give a larger number of saved.
Capt. Craven succeeded in getting out of the vessel before she went down, but is supposed to have been drawn into the downward current, produced by the sinking vessel.
Annexed is a list of those known to have been saved.
Acting Master Chas. F. Langley,
Acting Ensign G. Cottrell,
Acting Ensign Chas. H. Pennington,
Captain's Clerk, Josiah Conley,
Samuel S. Shinn, Quartermaster's Mate
James Guield, Quarter-gunner
Francis Cozzens, Seaman
Wm. O'Brien, Seaman
Richd. Collins, Ordinary Seaman
Peter Parker, Landsman.
The Tecumseh settled almost immediately after the explosion of the torpedo. There was no evidence of the torpedo from shock or noise, but the vessel sunk so rapidly that the berth deck was soon submerged, and two Acting Masters who escaped from the top of the turret stepped directly off into the water. They were fired upon by musketry shots from Fort Morgan while struggling in the water.
The pilot had a very narrow escape, Captain Craven having caught him by the legs as he came out of the top of the turret into the water, and the two straggled some time together, when the pilot finally extricated himself from the Captain and saved himself. Captain Craven was a brave officer, and his loss is a sad blow to the service.