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 The firing was continued from the long gun, though only at intervals that would permit any signals to be seen on board of the enemy. When it looked as though there would soon be nothing left of her, she hauled down the Confederate flag at her fore, where she had hoisted it when the mainmast went over. The order to go ahead was given, and in a short time the Vixen was alongside of her.  
"Do you surrender?" asked Christy, mounting the rail of his ship.
"We do; there is not much left of the steamer, and I am not justified in throwing away the lives of my men," replied a very spruce-looking officer.
"You will board her, Mr. Fillbrook, with the first division, and take possession of her," said Christy, when he had received the captain's answer. "Ascertain her condition as soon as possible."
346 The steamer proved to be the Pedee, formerly the Carnfield, Captain Linden. She had run the blockade with a valuable cargo, which more than paid the cost of the vessel, and was then loaded with cotton, and armed for her own protection, as well as to capture anything that fell in her way. She had a crew of eighty men to do her fighting, and the commander confidently expected to pick up a better steamer than the Pedee, to which the greater portion of the ship's company were to be transferred.
"I saw your steamer yesterday afternoon," said the captain; "but she had several other vessels near her, and I thought she might have a whole blockading squadron with her. I kept off, and put about in the night. When I saw the Vixen early this morning, I thought she would just answer my purpose, and I wanted her. A nearer view of her assures me she is exactly the steamer I needed."
"For your sake, captain, I am sorry I cannot accommodate you," replied Christy, laughing at the cheerful expressions of Captain Linden. "I presume you are an officer of the Confederate Navy?"
347 "No, sir; I am not; but I am a Confederate to the backbone. It was my intention to set up a navy on my own hook. The Pedee was the first vessel, and I intended that the Vixen should be the second, and become my flag-ship."
"Then you came out as a privateer?"
"That's just the color of it. If you hadn't unhorsed my big gun I should have been as polite to you about this time as you are to me. The fact of it is, Captain Passford, you did not manage your ship just right."
"Indeed? In what respect?" asked Christy.
"Well, you see, you knocked my big gun all to pieces, and then, instead of running down and boarding the Pedee, you stood off out of range of my side guns, and knocked the starch all out of us. If you had only boarded us, I could have whipped you out of your boots, for I have got the greatest crowd of fighting dogs that was ever hitched up together."
"Of course I was not aware of your views in regard to the manner in which I ought to have managed the affair on my own part, and therefore I could not handle my ship just as you desired," replied Christy. "As it is, I am afraid you will have to start your navy over again."
348 Mr. Fillbrook had by this time driven the "fighting dogs" forward, and taken full possession of the prize. On examination, Christy found that, though the Pedee had been terribly battered in her upper works, she was not materially injured below the water line. He sent for Mr. Caulbolt, and required him to inspect the engine, which was not injured in any important part.
Captain Linden had three times attempted to get nearer to the Vixen with the intention of boarding her, but Christy preferred to fight the battle at long range under the circumstances, and he had preserved his distance from the enemy. He had discovered that she had a large crew, and he was vastly more prudent than most of his critics gave him the credit of being. He was surprised, after examining the Pedee, that the captain had hauled down his flag, for the steamer could have stood a good deal more pounding without being used up. He concluded that Captain Linden was full of fight, but, for the want of a naval education, he had not fully comprehended his situation.
It was deemed advisable to transfer one half of the Pedee's crew of "fighting dogs" to the Vixen, 349 as she was not encumbered with any prisoners to speak of, and this was effected without any delay. Mr. Scopfield, the third lieutenant, was appointed prize-master, and instructed to keep as near as practicable to the Vixen on the voyage. Captain Linden and his principal officers were allowed to remain on board. An assistant engineer and two first-class firemen, on their way to New York for examination and promotion, were sent on board of the prize. The two steamers were soon under way, and then it was ascertained that the Pedee's ordinary rate of sailing did not exceed ten knots, and it was not probable that she would be bought into the navy.
The fleet of prize vessels had continued on its course to the north, and was soon overhauled by the Vixen and her capture. The progress of the fleet was very slow, for the Aleppo, which was said to have a speed of ten knots, did very badly towing two steamers. Mr. Pembroke and Bertha were sent on board of the Vixen, and the young lady blushed beautifully when Christy welcomed her return.
Possibly she had feared he might be killed in the action, and had worried about him till his return 350 in safety, with the prize alongside his ship. Her father was very cordial in his congratulations to the young commander, and even said that he and his daughter had prayed that he might not be killed or injured in the conflict; and Bertha blushed all the more when he said it.
Mr. Scopfield was instructed to take one of the schooners of the Aleppo in tow. Five men had been killed on board of the Pedee, and ............
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