We cannot conceive of the iron guts it took to climb into those Mercury capsules, which were nothing more than steel cans packed with instruments, perched atop a tower boiling with thousands of gallons of ethyl alcohol.
Many had tumbled off the deck into the river wearing the heavy, layered clothes typical of the era, and littered the water in a panicked, struggling mass. But hundreds were trapped below decks to drown or be killed by the sudden shifting of the ship’s fixtures and cargo.
Past reason, past purpose, the two sides continued the desperate battle, stoked with fresh bodies by Grant and Lee. For hundreds of yards, bodies were piled four deep and used like fleshy staircases to reach the enemy.