Again we are on our way into the heart of secesh. If we do not get blown to pieces before morning we shall get some distance above where any of our gunboats have been within a year. Tonight I have heard that a negro has come from the scene of the fight the other night, and he reports seven rebels killed, including their daring Capt. Clark. Capt. Clifton of this boat is a most singular mixture of candor and roughness and refinement. Though he swears like a trooper, there is a drollery and generosity and honesty about him that quite captivate me.
The other night I was standing beside him in silence after our troops had marched away from the shore, and the mate came up and asked permission to go ashore and get some hens. The Captain exclaimed, “Oh, my God! Doctor, just think of this man robbing henroosts right in the midst of death and damnation.” The deep, sepulchral voice with which this was uttered made the whole thing so tragico-comical that I did not know whether to laugh or cry.
SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 352