Samuel Walgren quietly holds his breath as the P. A. Denny glides through the steady waters of the Ohio River, closer and closer to what, for some, could mean the end.Inch by inch, the atmosphere on the P. A. Denny changes as men in gray wool uniforms and belts prominently stamped “CS” begin to appear through the yellowing, early-fall forest. On the ship, their blue-coated counterparts lined the port side, ripping open brown paper packages of dark powder and pouring it down the barrels of their guns. Fellow infantryman Brian Williams joins Walgren at the front of the ship. The two had traveled about six hours in anticipation of this exact moment.
The command breaks through the still of the quiet morning: “Fire when you have a shot.”Walgren and Williams rest their guns on their damp shoulders and gaze down the lengthy barrels, waiting until Confederate soldiers drifted into range. Fire at will, sounds across the deck of the P. A. Denny. The Union navy and infantrymen and Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate forces exchange gunfire across the Ohio River. The thunder of cannon fire billowed out from the woods. Walgren instinctively ducks and takes cover, then stands up grinning.
“Well, I’m dead,” Williams says, letting out an adrenaline–filled chuckle. “We’re dead.”
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