"A Brave Sailor's Act"

Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Neilds, whose death was reported recently, was one of the most gallant officers in the American navy, and as the news of his death is circulated, the brave act in which was was prominent in the Battle of Mobile Bay is recalled with growing admiration. Certainly it is one of the most impressive stories of modern heroism. As our fleet was passing Fort Morgan, at the fearful time referred to, the Tecumseh was destroyed by a torpedo of the enemy, going down head foremost with nearly every soul on board, leaving but a few half-drowned men struggling for life in the water. While Farragut was engaged in extricating the fleet from its perilous position, he eas not unmindful of the survivors of Tecumseh, whom he beheld in the water. "Send a boat," Joulett," said he, "and pick up the poor fellows." Joulett, in expectation of the order, had already dispatched a boat in charge of Acting Ensign Henry C. Neilds. Statring from the port quarter of the Metacomet, and steering the boat himself, this mere boy pulled directly under the battery of the Hartford, and the Brooklyn, to within a few hundred yards of the fort, exposes to the fire of both friends and foes. After he had gone a long distance from his vessel, he seemed suddenly to reflect that he had no flag flying, when he dropped the yoke-ropes, and picked up a small ensign from the bottom of the boat, unfurled it from its staff, which he shipped in a socket made for it in the stern sheets, he threw it full to the breeze, amid the loud cheers of his men. "I can scarcely describe," said an officer of the Tennessee (Rebel ram) "how I felt at witnessing this brave act. The muzzle of our gun was slowly raised, and the bolt intended for the Tecumseh flew harmlessly over the heads of that glorious boat's crew." After saving Ensign Zetlich, eight men, and the pilot, Neilds turned, and pulling for the fleet, succeeded in reaching the Oneida, where he remained until the close of the action. Admiral Farragut in his report of the battle, says: - "I must not omit to call the attention of the department to the conduct of Acting Ensign Henry C. Neilds, of the Metacomet, who had charge of the boat sent form that vessel when the Tecumseh sank. He took her in under one of the most galling fires I ever saw, and succeeded in rescuing from death ten of her crew within six hundred yards of the fort. I would respectfully recommend his advancement." Commander Neilds had the respect and confidence of all with whom he ever sailed - both officers and men - and of his associates on shore. He was an officer who truly honored the Navy.

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