The US took acception to this and decided that they would later run into the harbour to find them. The harbour was mined with underwater torpedoes and there were several gun batteries on shore. Some of these were hidden under brush and actually between buildings along the shore line. Some would later say the pieces were portable and when discovered they would simply move them down the street. Smaller cannons were even mounted in buildings with the barrel stuck out the window when fired.
This picture is of the USS Winslow a 150 foot long torpedoe boat that carried three torpedoe tubes and a heck of a wallop if you were on the wrong end. In fact even on the right end the boat would not shield you from the incredible noise and rocking of the vessel when one of these torpedoe tubes was fired.
On entering the harbour one of the three American vessels went along one side, the second along another and the third, being a slower moving ship hung back in the centre.
The Winslow very quickly found one of the gunboats after a shot was fired from a 2nd floor window cannon. "The shell went hissing over our heads and then the warf boats and shore batteries started firing against us." according to an interview carried in the NY Times. The first shot may have been a signal shot that tell to start the battle. Very quickly the enemy had destroyed the Winslow's steering gear and rendered her helpless in the water. Another shot tore through the hull and damges about 70 of the funnels found within the boiler. She was then powerless and began to drift with the tide..CLOSER to the enemy who took advantage of the situation and greatly increased its pounding on her.
The 2nd US navy vessel.. the USS Hudson got permission to come to her mate's aid. It would take nearly a half hour under incredible bombarding to secure a line and attempt to haul the Winslow out of harms way. But at one point all those attempting to fasten a rope were killed when a shell blew up in their faces. An officer here was killed, and beceame the first officer to die in the war.
Many of the men on the Winslow were either killed or maimed, but she was eventually towed to safety.
Below deck on this vessel served a Chief Petty Officer, who was a Chief Machinist by trade. His name was Thomas C Cooney and he was born at Westport Nova Scotia in the 1850's.
He would receive the Medal of Honor and his citation would read that ..."his gallantry and promptness in extinguishing the resulting flames saved the boiler from burning out. "
There were several Canadians that earned medals during this war. But Cooney was the only Chief Petty Officer in this war that was non American born. His would be the only Canadian CPO ever to be so awarded.
His mates on the sister ship Hudson received a very special commendation from the President of the US. The congress at his request ordered the stiking of a very special medal called the Cardenas Medal. There were three classes to it and I believe one went to every member of the Hudson.
The Winslow commander... Lt Bernardon would write in an after action report that..."I have no fault with the Winslow crew. They acted nobly all the way through." His boss... was Commander Todd who would write in his report that with regards to the Winslow crew in the hot fire their actions were... "Highly Commendable."
One of the survivors of the Winslow would later tell the NY News that all of the men felt they were going to sink if it were not for the Hudson crew.
And one crew member most seem to forget was the mascot... a parrot that..."made himself famous that day of battle by shrieking and chattering like a demon during the whole engagement."
Thomas C. Cooney, a Canadian hero, died 106 years ago today and is buried on the grounds of the most revered US Navy Academy at Annapolis Maryland.