Marcus W. Robbins, Historian & Archivist
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of Kirn Library Sargeant Memorial Room.


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THE NEW YORK TIMES, Friday, May 24, 1861
Probable Movements Against Gosport

May 29, 1861: Operations Near Fort Monroe and Norfolk
March 10, 1862: Tremendous Naval Conflict, Etc.
March 11, 1862: The Monitor Succeeds

March 14, 1862. The Latest News from Norfolk.

March 14, 1862. The Battle of the Iron-Clad Steamers.

Saturday, March 15, 1862. The Late Naval Battle.
Sunday, March 16, 1862.
Monitor vs Merrimac

New York: March 22, 1862. The Naval Battle in Hampton Roads.


Saturday, May 10, 1862: War news.
Monday, May 12, 1862: War news.
Tuesday, May 13, 1862: The Capture of Norfolk

May 12, 1862: Norfolk is Ours.
May 13, 1862: The Capture of Norfolk.

Monday, May 12, 1862: Capture of Norfolk, Portsmouth and the Gosport Navy Yard.
Tuesday, May 13, 1862: Annihilation of the Rebel Navy.

June 26, 1862. A Trip to Norfolk.

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Friday, May 24, 1861


The steamship Pocahontas and the river steamer Mount Vernon, sail to-night down the Chesapeake. They will be gone a week. The detachment of the Seventy-first, under Lieut. PENDERGAST, goes on the Mount Vernon. They will said almost direct for Fort Monroe, in order to support the forces there, in case of a movement on the Gosport Navy-yard. I am authorized to state that there are now two hundred and fifty thousand men under arms that are in the pay of the United States Government. These are all equipped, or will be by Saturday night. LEO.


Gen. J. E. JOHNSTON, late in command of the Federal forces in Utah, has been ordered by JEFF. DAVIS to take command at Harper's Ferry, and Gen. BEAUREGARD at Norfolk. JEFF. DAVIS will remove to Richmond on the 1st of June.

Gen. CADEALADER has been superseded by Major-Gen. COOPER, promoted, in the command of the Maryland Volunteers. He has been ordered to report to Gen. BUTLER at Fortress Monroe.

Maj.-Gen. BUTLER has arrived and taken command at Fortress Monroe. He will immediately form a grand encampment of the regiments now arriving, preparatory to his taking possession of Norfolk and the Navy-yard. Fifteen hundred cannon were left in the Navy-yard at the time of its destruction. His orders are to seize everything, and confiscate all articles which he may deem necessary to his command, also to press everything into service, and make terms if possible—if not, to seize without.      



May 29, 1861


We publish to day another illustration of the present important points of manoeuver of both the federal and rebel forces. The illustration embraces Fortress Monroe and the peninsula formed by the James and York rivers, and also Norfolk and the important military works in its vicinity. The concentration of United States troops at Fortress Monroe seems to be not for the purpose of attacking Norfolk direct, but rather for interior land operations in driving the rebels from their entrenched positions on the margins of the York and James rivers, and thus gradually clear the way for more extended operations towards Richmond, by throwing a large force of United States troops between that city and Norfolk, thus cutting off the communication between them, while a second column of federal troops approach from the direction of Washington. General Butler has already pushed his outposts as far as Hampton, a small place on the James river, five miles from Fortress Monroe. That place is now occupied by the Vermont regiment, who gained the place after a brief skirmish with the rebels. The bridge that crossed the narrow neck of water in the rear of Fortress Monroe was destroyed by the rebels after the federal troops crossed it.

Sewall's Point, the extreme outpost of Norfolk, has derived an historical character within the past week, from the fact that the batteries and military works on it were very spiritedly attacked last week by the United States gunboat Star, when a full reconnaissance of the position was obtained. There are numerous other batteries at Craney Island, Lynnhaven, Smithfield, the Gosport Navy Yard, and all the avenues approaching Norfolk. It is reported that the garrison of Norfolk and its contiguous outposts number nearly fifteen thousand men. Our readers may look for important movements in this locality ere long. Newport News, on the James river, is now occupied by General Butler, where he intends constructing a battery.


WASHINGTON, May 28, 1861.

The Navy Department received advices this morning from Fortress Monroe. No mention is made of any attack on Sewall's Point. Extensive arrangements were being made for that purpose. It will be several days before General Butler will be ready. When the attack is made it will be by both land and sea, and carried as speedily as possible.

Hon. Mr. Dunn, of Indiana, and the brother of General Butler, arrived here this evening from Fortress Monroe. They left there late last evening.

General Butler yesterday ordered twenty-five hundred men, with five vessels, under convoy of the Harriet Lane, to proceed to a point near the mouth of James river, called Newport News. The object he has in view in this movement is to hold this point and protect the mouth of James river. He commenced work immediately by throwing up fortifications and entrenchments. The position is a most favorable one, and he will be able to hold it against all comers.

The last transport was fired at by the Sewall's Point rifled cannon, but the range was to great to be effective.

At the fort affairs were progressing favorable. There are constantly coming in from the surrounding country quite a number of slaves, who are desirous of being set at work. There were up to yesterday upwards of forty. The General holds them as contraband of war.

The steamer Live Yankee, Captain Germain, arrived at the Navy Yard today from Fort Monroe. She towed up three schooners captured by the blockading fleet in Hampton Roads. They are the British schooner Tropic, of Nassau, New Providence, loaded with tobacco; the Georgiana, of St. George, Va., and the General Knox, of Thomaston, Maine, with oak timber. They are moored near the Arsenal.

The Minnesota left Hampton Roads for Charleston harbor on Saturday.

The Troy (New York) regiment arrived at Fort Monroe on Saturday, and on the same day captured six prisoners, amongst whom was a Colonel of the secession army.

Colonel Duryee's Zouaves were under arms twice within an hour after their landing, the secessionists having fired upon them.


BALTIMORE, May 28, 1861.

A gentleman who left Norfolk yesterday morning, and came through Richmond and Fredericksburg, say that General Butler had not commenced operations. It was understood at Norfolk that his reinforcements had not yet arrived. Still an attack was looked for daily, and the utmost vigilance exercised.

It was impossible to ascertain the number of troops at Norfolk, Portsmouth and Gosport, but my informant estimates them at twenty thousand. Reinforcements had been arriving on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He ascertained that these troops came from Weldon, N. C., and Columbia, S. C., and Lynchburg, but is certain none came from Richmond. No apprehensions whatever were felt at Norfolk that that place could be taken. He learned at Petersburg that twenty-eight cars full of troops had passed there on Saturday from Weldon. At Richmond he thinks there are at least fifteen thousand troops. He was informed on what he regarded as good authority that measures were being taken to defend Richmond successfully. An attack is expected from York river, and is guarded against by batteries along that stream, and by earthwork and other fortifications between the place of landing and the city. He was informed that these latter defences were well supplied with heavy artillery.

* * * * * *

 March 10, 1862

[The main story of dates March 10 and 11 are the same. Following are some other
stories of March 10.]

WASHINGTON, March 96:45 P. M.

The telegraph line to Fortress Monroe is just completed, and a message from there states that after the arrival of the Ericsson last night she was attacked by the Merrimac, Jamestown and Yorktown. After a five hours' fight they were driven off, and the Merrimac put back to Norfolk in a sinking condition.


FORTRESS MONROE, March 9, 1862.

The Monitor arrived at ten o'clock last night and went immediately to the protection of the Minnesota, lying aground just below Newport's News. At seven o'clock this morning the Merrimac, accompanied by the two wooden steamers, the Yorktown and Jamestown, and several tugs stood out towards the Minnesota and opened fire. The Monitor met them at once and opened fire when the enemy's vessels retired, excepting the Merrimac. The two iron clad vessels fought, part of the time touching each other, from eight o'clock in the morning till noon, when the Merrimac retired.

Lieutenant J. L. Worden, who commanded the Monitor, handled her with great skill, assisted by Chief Engineer Stimers. The Minnesota kept up a continuous fire, and is herself somewhat injured. She was moved considerably to-day, and will probably be off to-night.

The Monitor is uninjured, and ready at any moment to repel another attack.

The Merrimac is understood to have been under the command of Commandant Buchanan, late of the Navy Yard.


WASHINGTON, March 9, 1862.

The following was received to-night by Major General McClellan from Gen. Wool, dated Fortress Monroe, at six o'clock this evening:

Two hours after my telegraphic despatch to the Secretary of War last evening, the Monitor arrived. She immediately went to the assistance of the Minnesota, which was aground, and continued so until a few moments since. Early this morning she was attacked by the Merrimac, Jamestown and Yorktown. After a five hours' contest they were driven off, the Merrimac in a sinking condition. She was towed by the Jamestown, Yorktown and several smaller boats, towards Norfolk, no doubt, if possible, to get her in the dry dock for repairs. The Minnesota is afloat, and being towed towards Fortress Monroe.

The following despatch was also received to-night

FORTRESS MONROE, March 96:45 P. M.

The Monitor arrived at ten o'clock P. M. yesterday, and went immediately to the protection of the Minnesota, lying aground just opposite Newport's News. At seven o'clock A. M. to-day the Merrimac, accompanied by two wooden steamers and several tugs, stood out towards the Minnesota and opened fire. The Monitor met them at once and opened her fire, when all the enemy's vessels retired, excepting the Merrimac. These two iron-clad vessels fought, part of the time touching each other, from eight o'clock A. M. till noon, when the Merrimac retired. Whether she is injured or not it is impossible to say. Lieutenant J. S. Worden, who commanded the Monitor, handled her with great skill, assisted by Chief Engineer Stimers. Lieut. Worden was injured by the cement from the pilot house being driven into his eyes, but I trust not seriously. The Minnesota kept up a continuous fire, and is herself somewhat injured. She was removed considerably to-day, and will probably be off to-night. The Monitor is uninjured, and ready at any moment to repel any attack.

G. V. FOX, Assistant Secretary of the Navy.


WASHINGTON, March 9, 1862.

Assistant Secretary Fox, accompanied by Captain Wise, of the United States Navy, left here yesterday for Fortress Monroe, to inspect the little iron-clad gunboat Monitor. They arrived just in time to witness her splendid repulse of the rebel steamer Merrimac and the whole rebel fleet, and to send the news back to Washington over the newly completed telegraph line.

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The Merrimac, the iron-plated steamer, was formerly the United States frigate of the same name, which was scuttled and sunk at the Norfolk Navy Yard, at the commencement of the rebellion, by the officers of the Union government, in preference to her falling into the hands of the rebels. She was built at Charlestown in 1855, and was pierced for forty guns. Her last service had been in the Pacific squadron. After the rebels took possession of the yard she was raised and converted into a man-of-war for their own use. Her hull was cut down to within three feet of her water mark, and a bomb-proof house built on her gun deck. She was also iron plated, and her bow and stern steel-clad, with a projecting angle of iron for the purpose of piercing a vessel. She has no masts and there is nothing to be seen over her gun deck, with the exception of her pilot house and smokestack. Her bombproof is three inches thick, and is made of wrought iron. Her armament consists of four eleven-inch navy guns on each side, and two one hundred pounder Armstrong guns at the bow and stern. Last November she made a trial trip from Norfolk, running down so close to Fortress Monroe as to be seen by the naked eye, but ventured no nearer. Although she was looked upon by the rebels as a very tough customer for a vessel or vessels not protected as she is, she remained inactive, anchored off Norfolk, until her present engagement.

The commandant of the French steamer, who arrived at Fortress Monroe from Norfolk on Friday last, states that the greatest excitement prevailed at Norfolk in expectation of an attack and the destruction of the city by the Burnside expedition, and that the Merrimac was crowded with men, ready for action.


The rebel steamer Yorktown was formerly used on the New York and Virginia line of steamers. She is a side-wheel steamer of fourteen hundred tons burthen, and was built in New York in 1859. Her length is two hundred and fifty one feet, breadth thirty-four feet and depth eighteen feet. She has been completely fitted out at Norfolk, her sides having been plated with iron, and other means taken to strengthen her and render her formidable. She is commanded by Captain Parrish, the same who commanded her when she was more peaceably inclined. She carries eight gunstwo pivot and six broadside guns.


The rebel steamer Jamestown was built in New York about the same time as the Yorktown, and was also employed in the New York and Virginia line of steamers. She is a sidewheel steamer, about 1,500 tons burthen. She was fitted out at the Norfolk Naval Yard at the commencement of the rebellion, her sides having been iron plated.

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[From the New York Herald, Oct. 3, 1861.]

We have received information from Norfolk, by way of Fortress Monroe, of a most important character. It appears that great preparations are being made by the rebel authorities at Richmond, along the James and York rivers, and at Norfolk, for some purpose of an offensive character. It is their intention to send down the James and York rivers a strong body of troops, accompanied by heavy ordnance, for the purpose of occupying Yorktown and other positions on both rivers, and for siege operations. Indeed, accounts have already been published of the arrival of troops and columbiads at Yorktown. They are also putting the steamers Jamestown and Yorktown in fighting condition. The Merrimac has been undergoing thorough repair, is nearly completed, is iron-clad, and powerfully armed. Two sailing vessels-of-war, which had been sunk at the Navy Yard at Norfolk at the time of the evacuation by the Union forces, have been raised and put upon a thorough war footing. It is also stated to be their purpose, when all this is ready, to throw a large land force upon Newport News, with heavy artillery, at the same time the Merrimac and the two sailing vessels are to leave Norfolk, and the two steamers Jamestown and Yorktown will come down the James river. The rebel vessels-of-war are to engage the fleet while the army are attacking Newport News by land, preventing the assistance expected from the Union vessels-of-war, in case of any such attack, reaching the troops. If these plans prove successful the rebels intend to assault Fortress Monroe itself, as they now consider that as a strategic in connection with the free entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, the base of operations by which the Union government can most effectively carry out its course of action along the Southern coast. The rebels, however, intend to wait for such an opportunity to carry out their plans, when it shall so happen that, by some naval movement, but few vessels will be at Old Point, and these they expect by this sudden maneuver soon to conquer. Doubtless this, in connection with the facts developed by the authorities at Washington, will explain, in a great measure, the recent movements before that city. The rebels have found that they cannot safely attempt to enter the capital; they have also found they cannot cross the Potomac river in consequence of the recent equinoctial storms and freshets, and the presence of General Banks' column, nor can they easily cross into Maryland from Aquia Creek. They have therefore adopted this method of attack, as it would doubtless strike both ways, by giving them a more probable chance of taking the city of Washington, and also checking the operations of the government along the Southern coast.



March 11, 1862

Sketches of the Vessels Engaged on Both Sides, &c.,

Washington, March 9, 1862

The government has received information from Fortress Monroe, by special despatches from General Wool and Mr. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, that yesterday the ironclad steamer Merrimac and the gunboats Jamestown and Yorktown attacked our fleet, sunk the Cumberland, and took the frigate Congress. The Minnesota was aground when the Fortress Monroe boat left, but has since been towed off safely.


Fortress Monroe, March 8, 1862.

The dullness of Old Point was startled to-day by the announcement that a suspicious looking vessel, supposed to be the Merrimac, looking like a submerged house with the roof only above water, was moving down from Norfolk by the channel in front of the Sewall's Point batteries. Signal guns were also fired by the Cumberland and Congress to notify the Minnesota, St. Lawrence and Roanoke of the approaching danger, and all was excitement in and about Fortress Monroe.

There was nothing protruding above the water but a flagstaff flying the rebel flag, and a short smokestack. She moved along slowly and turned into the channel leading to Newport's News, and steamed direct for the frigates Cumberland and Congress, which were lying at the mouth of James river.

As soon as she came within range of the Cumberland the latter opened on her with her heavy guns; but the balls struck and glanced off, having no more effect than peas from a popgun. Her ports were all closed, and she moved on in silence, but with a full head of steam. In the meantime, as the Merrimac was approaching the two frigates on one side, the rebel iron-clad steamers Yorktown and Jamestown came down James river and engaged our frigates on the other side. The batteries at Newport's News also opened on the Yorktown and Jamestown, and did all in their power to assist the Cumberland and Congress, which being sailing vessels, were at the mercy of the approaching steamers. The Merrimac in the meantime kept steadily on her course, and slowly approached the Cumberland, when she and the Congress, at a distance of one hundred yards, rained full broadsides on the ironclad monster that took no effect, glancing upwards and flying off, having only the effect of checking her progress for a moment.

After receiving the first broadside of the two frigates she ran on to the Cumberland, striking her about midship,, and literally laying open her sides. She then drew off and fired a broadside into the disabled ship, and again dashed against her with her iron clad prow, and knocking in her side, left her to sink, while she engaged the Congress, which laid about a quarter of a mile distant. The Congress had in the meantime kept up a sharp engagement with the Yorktown and Jamestown, and, having no regular crew on board of her, seeing the hopelessness of resisting the iron-clad steamer, at once struck her colors. Her crew had been discharged several days since, and three companies of the Naval Brigade had been put on board temporarily, until she could be relieved by the St. Lawrence, which was to have gone up on Monday to take her position as one of the blockading vessels of the James river.

On the Congress striking her colors, the Jamestown approached and took from on board of her all her officers as prisoners, but allowed the crew to escape in boats. The vessel, being thus cleared, was fired by the rebels, when the Merrimac and her two iron-clad companions opened with shell and shot on the Newport's News batteries. The firing was briskly returned.

Various reports have been received, principally from frightened sutlers' clerks. Some of them represent that the garrison had been compelled to retreat from the batteries to the woods. Another was that the two smaller rebel steamers had been compelled to retreat from their guns.

In the mean time the steam frigate Minnesota, partly got up steam, was being towed up to the relief of the two frigates, but did not get up until it was too late to assist them. She was also followed up by the frigate St. Lawrence, which was taken in tow by several of the small harbor steamers. It is, however, rumored that neither of these vessels had pilots on board, and after a short engagement both of them seemed to be, in the opinion of the pilots on the Point, aground.

The Minnesota, either intentionally or from necessity, engaged the three steamers, at about a mile distance with only her two bow guns. The St. Lawrence also poured in shot from all the guns she could bring to bear, and it was the impression of the most experienced naval officers on the Point that both had been considerably damaged.

These statements, it must be borne in mind, are all based on what could be seen by a glass, at a distance of nearly eight miles, and a few panic stricken non-combatants, who fled at almost the first gun from Newport's News.

In the mean time darkness approached, thought the moon shone out brightly, and nothing but the occasional flashing of guns could be seen. The Merrimac was also believed to be aground, as she remained stationary at t distance of a mile from the Minnesota, making no attempt to attack or molest her.

Previous to the departure of the steamer Baltimore no guns had been fired for half an hour, the last one being fired from the Minnesota. Some persons declared that, immediately after this last gun was fired, a dense volume of smoke was seen to rise from the Merrimac, indicating the explosion of her boiler. Whether this is so or not cannot be known, but it was the unanimous opinion that the rebel monster was hard aground.

Fears, of course, were entertained for the safety of the Minnesota and St. Lawrence in such an unequal contest, but if the Merrimac was really ashore she could do no more damage. It was the intention of the Minnesota, with her picked and gallant crew, to run into close quarters with the Merrimac, avoid her iron prow and board her. This the Merrimac seemed not inclined to give her an opportunity to do.

At eight o'clock, when the Baltimore boat left, a fleet of steamtugs were being sent up to the relief of the Minnesota and the St. Lawrence, and an endeavor was to be made to draw them off the bar on which they had grounded. In the mean time the firing has suspended, whether from mutual consent or necessity could not be ascertained.

The rebel battery at Pig Point was also enabled to join in the combined attack on the Minnesota, and several guns were fired at her from Sewall's Point as she went up. None of them struck her, but one or two of them passed over her.

The Baltimore boat left Old Point at eight o'clock last night. In about half an hour after she left the wharf the iron-clad Ericsson steamer Monitor passed her, going in, towed by a large steamer. The Monitor undoubtedly reached Fortress Monroe by nine o'clock and may have immediately gone into service; if not, she would be ready to take a hand early on Sunday morning.

The foregoing are all the facts as far as can at present be ascertained, and are probably the worst possible version of the affair.


FORTRESS MONROE, March 8, 1862.

About noon to-day the rebel steamship Merrimac and two gunboats were seen coming around Craney Island, headed for Newport's News. Half an hour after the naval lookout boat in the Roads signalized the fact to the Minnesota and Roanoke, the latter, Capt. Marston, being the flagship.

The Minnesota had steam up. The Roanoke having lain four months with a broken shaft, measures were taken to tow her. It was some time before they were under way, the Minnesota leading. The Roanoke, when near the Rip-Raps, was caught by the tide, and half an hour was spent in getting her head right again.

The gunboat Whitehall also got under way. Meanwhile the Merrimac was making good time for Newport's News, where the sailing frigate Congress and the Cumberland were the only naval vessels. As the Minnesota passed within range at Sewall's Point, that battery opened on her. Its fire was returned vigorously. The firing being at long range, no perceptible effect was produced.

In a little more than one hour from getting under way, the Merrimac was within half a mile of Newport's News, when firing commenced. Simultaneously with these movements the rebel steamers Yorktown and Jamestown came down James river and joined their fire with that of the Merrimac upon the Congress and the Cumberland.

The Merrimac seemed to proceed past the Congress and engage the Cumberland, which was also under the fire of the Yorktown and Jamestown. Our battery at Newport's News opened vigorously on the iron-clad enemy.

In about half an hour the masts of the Cumberland, which were visible over the point of land, were seen to list and finally go over, proving that she had sunk. About this time the Congress, with sails spread, was seen to come down a short distance and stop on the Point, apparently aground.

Soon after the Merrimac reappeared and engaged her at short range; and, after keeping up the contest fifteen or twenty minutes, the white flag of surrender was seen to float over the Congress' deck. Meanwhile, as if the day was fated to be one of successive disasters to our ships, the Minnesota had grounded about two miles from Newport's News, where she lay making fruitless endeavors to get clear.

The Roanoke, by this time, had reached within two miles of her, but, seeing the current of events, turned back. The gunboat Mystic, which had also gone up, being in a disabled condition on account of her boiler giving out, also turned back, towed by a tug.

Having accomplished this much, the Merrimac and the two rebel gunboats commenced shelling our camp at Newport's News, with what effect it is of course, impossible to say now.

The Cumberland had a crew of about 500 men, nearly one half of whom perished when she went down.

As yet the Congress has not been boarded, and it is supposed that General Mansfield, on short, prevents the rebels from doing it.

The Roanoke is also aground half way between the fortress and Newport's News.

The Cambridge has just come in, towing the St. Lawrence, and both will go to the conflict.

General Wool has despatched two regiments by land to Newport's News.

It is reported that the Yorktown is on fire up James river.

One of the guns of the Merrimac was disabled early in the action. The Merrimac and Cumberland were engaged at close quarters when the latter commenced sinking.

The Merrimac now lies half a mile below Newport's News, and the firing between her and the Minnesota, at about two miles, is kept up briskly. The Congress has not been boarded.

Six companies of Harlan's cavalry and the Mounted Rifles have been (six o'clock) despatched to support General Mansfield, should he be attacked by land. The St. Lawrence has gone into action, and is engaging the Jamestown. The Merrimac does not feel disposed to come down to the Minnesota, while the Minnesota cannot go to her. The Roanoke has returned to her station opposite the fortress.

A negro just in (seven o'clock) from Newport's News states that the Merrimac ran square into the Cumberland, which immediately went down. The negro states that some of the crew, who swam ashore, said the loss on the Cumberland was about one hundred.

There is some doubt about the burning of the Yorktown.

The firing is still kept up, the Merrimac still lying near the Congress, which appears not to have been boarded yet.

Another person who left Newport's News reports that the Merrimac did not fire till within two hundred yards of the Cumberland, when she fired and ran into her bow, causing her to sink immediately. She had previously been set on fire. It is confirmed that about one-half of all on board were lost.

When my informant left the Congress had been boarded by the Merrimac, and the white flag was hoisted over her. Her guns were then turned on our camp.

At the present hour the firing has ceased. When last seen the Merrimac and the rebel gunboats seem to have drawn off towards Craney Island, and it is apprehended that she may attempt to go out to sea to-night. Preparations have been made accordingly.

The Minnesota is still aground.

The St. Lawrence and the Whitehall is near here. It is stated that the shells that struck the Merrimac had no effect on her, but glanced off like pebbles.

Our Fortress Monroe Correspondence.

Fortress Monroe, Va., March 7, 1862.

The gunboat Mount Vernon, which arrived at this point day before yesterday, brings the intelligence that the transport Mississippi, hence for Ship Island, with General Butler and staff on board, went ashore on Frying Pan Shoals on the 26th ult., and stove a hole in her bow. The Mississippi is a new iron steamship, divided into five water-tight compartments. Consequently but one compartment, the forward one, was injured. The gunboat Mount Vernon, which was cruising off the shoals, went to the assistance of the Mississippi. The United States transport Matanzas from New York, bound to Port Royal, was passing at the time of the accident, and went to the relief of the disabled steamer, succeeded in getting her afloat and took her in town, designing to take her into Port Royal harbor. General Butler contemplated transferring himself and baggage to another steamer, and proceeding with the least possible delay to Ship Island.

The flag of truce which went from this point yesterday to Craney Island returned at dusk. It was reported by the rebel officers who met the truce that Colonels Corcoran and Wilcox would not be placed at liberty for the present. It is rumored that this was in consequence of the plan of the rebels in regard to future movements having been imparted to them by Union people of Richmond, and that, furthermore, valuable maps and papers were found on the person of Colonel Corcoran.

The rebel batters at Pig's Point were blazing away all day yesterday, practicing their guns. They had better save their powder; they will want every grain of it, and more too, before the close of this rebellion.

Major Fletcher, United States paymaster, arrived here a day or two ago for the purpose of examining the pay rolls prior to paying off the troops. The troops here and at Newport's News will be paid between this date and the 18th inst.

The frigate St. Lawrence and the Ericsson battery, the Monitor, have not yet arrived. They are hourly expected.


Friday, March 14, 1862


NORFOLK, March 12.A leading Northern journal bewails the terrible sacrifice of brave men and vessels in Hampton Roads, by the Merrimac. It denounces, with great bitterness, the "blind confidence and neglect of the Federal authorities, as the cause of this deplorable defeat, and the great loss of life in the equally disastrous battle of Ball's Bluff. The angry question of the North is: "Who is to blame?" All the sailing vessels should have been out of reach of this iron leviathan. The opportune arrival of the Monitor alone prevented the destruction of the whole Federal fleet. The Government must have a change in the Navy Department. Old-time sailing vessels, fit only for lumber, are as so many helpless infants in the hands of a giant."

The journal urges that a mail-clad fleet be built in a hundred days. All the dead wood in the navy and the Navy Department must be cleared out.

WASHINGTON, March 10.The Merrimac is said to have been struck seventy-five times, and returned to Norfolk uninjured. Lieutenant WORDEN, who commanded the Monitor, has been made the lion of the day at Washington. His head and eyes are closely bandaged in consequence of the wounds he received in the engagement. He was led before LINCOLN, and introduced to him. The tears gushed from the President's eyes, and grasping the Lieutenant's hand, LINCOLN said: "We owe you, sir, the preservation of our Navy. I cannot thank you enough."

A Fortress Monroe dispatch, of the 9th, says: "Lieutenant WORDEN was wounded by fragments of shell and powder driven through the Lookout holes. He was stunned and carried away."

No one at the Navy Department could give any answer to the telegraphic dispatches which came thick, as to who on board the Cumberland and Congress were killed and wounded.

The naval authorities are confident the Merrimac was disabled, and the Monitor is her match. It has been intimated that perhaps the statement of a Norfolk paper, that the Merrimac was a failurewas merely a rebel ruse. It was feared from the proceedings of this ugly monster on Saturday, she would sweep the seas and raise the general blockade.

A dispatch says: "Perhaps, before long, LINCOLN and HAMLIN may try the plan of setting fire to the Navy Yard at Norfolk, by means of a stream of liquid fire submitted to the Federal Congress some time ago."

* * * * * *

Naval Preparations.—The Petersburg Express says:

The opportunity is now a fine one for the Navy Department to retrieve all errors and supply all omissions. We urge upon Congress instant measures for multiplying our war vessels on the plan of the Merrimac. Let that body make, without any delay, the requisite appropriation for this purpose, and then let the Secretary turn them to account. Ten such structures as the Merrimac would give us the power to annihilate the whole Yankee Navy. The battle of Newport's News has proven that we could do it, for the Yankees have not got a single vessel afloat that can begin to compare with her for invulnerability and destructive capacity. She is a perfect master-piece of naval architecture, and serves as a model by which, in the course of six months, a dozen others exactly like her could be got ready for service. There ought to be a duplicate of her in every important Southern harbor in that time. She is, without exception, the most ingenious, extraordinary and irresistible craft that the world has ever seen.

Let the Government then profit by the experience it has just had of her eminent adaptability to the end for which she was constructed. Let us have more like her and in the shortest possible time. We have gallant naval commanders panting to distinguish themselves as Buchanan has done. All they want is a Merrimac each, and it is no less wisdom than the duty of the Government to go instantly to work thus to provide for them. Let the Yankees not think any longer that the South cannot meet them on their favorite element.

Time is now more precious than ever to us. Let not another day be lost in setting about doing what the victory of Newport's News bids us in tones of thunder to do right away. In six months we can go forth upon the ocean and sweep from it the enemy's navy and commerce, and thus prove to the nations that the Southern Confederacy is a Power upon the earth. But in these six months we have to work like beavers in our ship yards. We have got to build a dozen Merrimacs.

* * * * * *

Official Report of the Engagement.

The following official reports of the action in Hampton Roads have been transmitted to Congress:

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States:

I here with transmit a letter of the Secretary of the Navy, of this date, covering the official report of the naval engagement between the James River squadron and the enemy's fleet in Hampton Roads, on the 8th instant.

The officers and men of our Navy engaged in this brilliant affair deserve well of their country, and are commended to the consideration of the Congress.

The disparity of the forces engaged did not justify the anticipation of so great a victory, and it is doubly gratify that it has been won upon an element where we were supposed to be least able to compete with our enemy.

Special attention is called to the perfidious conduct of the enemy in hoisting on the frigate Congress, a white flag, and renewing fire from that vessel under the impunity thus obtained.

March 11, 1862 JEFFERSON DAVIS

C. S. NAVY DEPARTMENT, Richmond, March 11th, 1862.

To the President:

SIR:—I have the honor to lay before you the official report of the naval engagement between the James River squadron, under the command of Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan, and the enemy's fleet in Hampton Roads, on the 8th instant.

Flag Officer Buchanan, in the immediate command of the steam sloop Virginia, was disabled near the close of the engagement by a painful though not dangerous wound, and the report is made by the executive officer upon whom the command devolved, Lieut. Jones.

The steam sloop Virginia, of 10 guns; the Patrick Henry, Commander Tucker, of 6 guns; the Jamestown, Lieut. Commanding Barney, of 2 guns; the Raleigh, Lieut. Commanding Alexander; the Beaufort, Lieut Commanding Parker, and the Teazer, Lieut. Commanding Webb, each of one gun, composed our squadron. With this force of 21 guns, Flag Officer Buchanan engaged the enemy's fleet, consisting of the frigate Cumberland, 21 guns; the Congress, of 50 guns; the St. Lawrence, of 50 guns, and the steam frigates Minnesota and Roanoke, even of 40 guns; the enemies batteries at Newport News, and several small steamers armed with heavy rifled guns.

The engagement commenced at 3:30 P.M., and at 6 o'clock P.M., we had sunk the Cumberland, captured and burned the Congress, disabled and driven the Minnesota ashore, and defeated the St. Lawrence and Roanoke, which sought shelter under the guns of Fortress Monroe. Two of the enemy's small boats were blown up, and two transport schooners were captured.

The Cumberland went down with all on board, her tops only remaining above water; but many of her people were saved by boats from the shore.

The loss of the enemy has not been ascertained. Our loss is very small, but has not been officially communicated.

The flag of the Congress, and the sword of the officer commanding at the time, are at this Department, together with the flag and sword of the gunboat Fanny, captured by flag-officer Lynch, in October last. And I submit for your consideration the propriety of providing for the safe keeping of these and similar trophies.

To the dashing courage, the patriotism and eminent ability of the Flag Officer Buchanan, and the officers and men of his squadron, our country is indebted for this brilliant achievement, which will hold a conspicuous place among the heroic contests of Naval history.

With much respect,
Your obedient servant,
S. R. MALLORY, Secretary of the Navy.

* * * * * *

NEAR SEWELL'S POINT, March 8, 1862.

SIR:—I have to report the following casualties resulting from the action to-day.

Flag Officer F. Buchanan, wounded in the left thigh, a Mime ball having passed entirely through the fleshy portion, grazing femoral artery, and inflicting a serious wound.

Lieutenant R. Minor, wounded in the left side, (not dangerously;) Midshipman Marmaduke, slight wound of arm; two men killed (names not known) and five men woundedone losing an eye.

Very respectfully,
D. B. PHILLIPS, Surgeon of Flag Ship.


Killed.—Chas. Dunbar, ___ Waldeck.

Wounded.—William Burke, seaman; John Copps, Company E, 41st regiment; A. J. Dalton, do.; Emerson Joas, John Leonard.


New York, Friday, March 14, 1862.

Scene of the Great Trial Battle Between the Monitor and Merrimac,
Sunday, March 9, 1862.

Our Fortress Monroe Correspondence.

FORTRESS MONROE, March 11, 1862.

The Minnesota is still lying at anchor off the fort, and her appearance scarcely denotes any sign of the terrible ordeal she passed through during a heated action of twenty-four hours. The details I sent about this vessel last evening were but meagre. At twelve o'clock M. on Saturday the Merrimac was sighted making towards Newport's News—at first, however, with her prow towards this point. The Minnesota fought bravely during the afternoon, and during the next day, until about noon—when the ammunition gave out, there being but two solid shot for each gun, which were reserved for a volley, should the monster Merrimac attempt close quarters. The Captain of the Minnesota was standing on the bridge of the quarterdeck with Major Shuttleworth. The Major said that he hoped the Captain would not surrender his ship. The old hero emphatically vowed to sink her before she should fall into the hands of the rebels. A council of the officers was called, consisting of Lieutenant Grafton, Lieutenant Watters, Major Shuttleworth and Chief Engineer Charles H. Loring, and it was unanimously decided to fight the ship while a shot remained in the locker, and, if the rebels should get the best of it, to blow her up. In the meantime the Ericsson battery arrived to our relief, and the victory of our navy was assured.

The staunch old vessel was riddled considerably. The ensign at the peak received a shot through its folds, but still waves defiantly from the masthead. Had this shot struck the ship it would have made great havoc, as it was a good line shot, intended to rake the vessel for and aft. Another shell struck the room of Mr. Loring, adjoining the wareroom, and passed through the Engineers' galley and mess room, carrying away everything in its progress, breaking dishes, &c., and completely demolishing the rooms of Messrs. Thompson and Atkinson.

The firing of the Merrimac on Saturday was mostly directed against the bow of the Minnesota. One shell burst on the port hole of No. 8 gun, second division, instantly killing a man named Winslow, one of the best gunners of the ship. A six-inch Armstrong shell struck the mainmast, passing through like a knife.

Captain Van Brunt speaks of his officers and crew in the highest terms, and says that he never saw a braver set of fighters in his life. In order to lighten the vessel a large quantity of provisions were taken from the Minnesota and placed on the Whitehall. In the evening, however, the Whitehall was burnt to the water's edge; but prior to her reaching the dock before taking fire the most of the provisions were pitched overboard. The fire on the Whitehall originated around the boiler, and it is supposed that the felting had taken fire from a shell fired from the enemy's vessels during the engagement. By this fire four men were burnt or drowned—namely, Ed Foster, Henry W. Donohue, Thomas Maroney and Albert Alfreds.

One of the bravest men in the fight was Captain W. J. Balsir, commanding the Whitehall, Captain Van Brunt conceding it, and everybody who witnessed the fight lauds Captain Balsir's courage and coolness very highly. Although the steamboat Whitehall was condemned as useless, she was the first vessel out of the fleet to attack the Merrimac, and although her heavy batteries had no effect on the iron monster, still the rebels steamers Yorktown and Jamestown will remember the accurate gunnery of the Whitehall for some time to come.

When the Congress struck her flag the rebels sent a tug to her to take off the officers. The order was given on the Congress for the sailors to go ashore, but the order was mistaken, and about fifty men jumped on board the rebel tug, which, pushing off with them, a rebel middy jumped on board the Congress and took the flag, which he wound around his body Union down, but one of the Fire Zouaves, named Billy Welch, fired his rifle and made the accursed rebel pay the forfeit of his life for his rashness. The body of the middy fell overboard, and was not recovered. The Stars and Stripes which the rebel boy wound around him served as his shroud; and his death will serve as a lesson to all traitors and sacrilegious outrage of a pure and holy flag. The Fire Zouaves lined the shore of Newport's News, and did great execution with their arms in picking off rebels in the act of boarding the Congress.

The damage done at Newport's News to the camp of Gen. Mansfield was the wounding of two men of the Seventh regiment New York Volunteers, named Paul Stirlein, Company A, and P. Fortner, Company G. Shot and shell fairly rained into the camp, but did no further damage.

The gunboat Zouave, Capt. J. A. Phillips, tender on the frigates Cumberland and Congress, also participated in the action, using her guns with great effect on the rebel steamers Yorktown and Jamestown. When the Congress was so badly riddled by the Merrimac, the commander of the Congress signalized to be towed on shore, and the Zouave ran alongside and ran the Congress hard and fast aground. The Zouave then went to the assistance of the Minnesota, and while lying on the larboard side, received the murderous volleys of the rebel boats. While under the bow of the Congress a solid shot from the Merrimac struck the flange and the rudder post, disabling the propeller of the Zouave. The damage was not perceived until after having come alongside the Minnesota. Several shots struck the Zouave in various places, one of them carrying away the Zouave figure on the pilot house, also knocking the smoke stack over. Not one of the officers or crew was injured. The vessel was somewhat damaged, but not to any great extent. The following is a correct list of her officers:—

Acting Master—John A. Phillips, Commander.
Master's Mate—Robert Ranney.
Chief Engineer—Hugh O'Brien.
Second Assistant Engineer—Morgan Badgley.

The armament of the Zouave consisted of a thirty-two pounder Parrot, rifle bore, a twenty-four pounder brass howitzer aft, and a quantity of small arms.

The firing from the Minnesota was excellent, and the coolness and bravery of the officers and men is deserving of the highest praise. The divisions, which consist of eight guns, four on each side, were worked admirably; the officers commanding them, whose names we give, without a single exception, exercised the greatest possible control over the men, urging them on with a spirit and devotion rivaling those heroes of former days, Decatur and Paul Jones; and as each shot was fired the men sprang forward to note the effect with intense fervor, and when it happened to hit the enemy a wild shout of delight and exultation went up from the brave tars. Mr. Van Duzer's division was especially noticed as making the best line shots. The pivot gun, Mr. Dexter commanding, rendered the greatest service during the engagement, making some splendid effective shots.

Executive Officer E. C. Grafton, and Lieutenant John Watters cannot be spoken of too highly for their cool and courageous deportment during the entire engagement. Mr. Grafton met with a very narrow escape—a man had his head taken off by a shell who was standing right next to him—our executive officer being spattered over with the brains of the unfortunate man, &c.

The following is a list of the officers of the frigate Roanoke.

Captain—John Marston.
First Lieutenant—S. S. Fillebrown.
Second Lieutenant—H. S. Todd.
Acting Masters—E. Van Slyck, L. L. D. Voorhees, J. Ingraham and J. West.
Surgeon—____ Gilchrist.
Assistant Surgeons—____ Spear and ____ Bragg.
Chaplain—R. Given.
Paymaster—____ Cahoon.
Pilot—Wm. Singer.

Our Newport's News Correspondence.

Last evening about seven o'clock two men of our cavalry patrol were driven in by a small force of rebel infantry, several miles from our camp, and for a short time we entertained hopes of a general engagement. However, on a close search by a number of our cavalry, the enemy was found to have returned, and it is supposed that it has merely been a small scouting party roaming about in the woods.

General Mansfield visited the outposts late last evening and found everything quiet. We are fully prepared, night and day, for an attack, and if the chance is offered to us, our soldiers will stand their ground manfully to the last. It is our good fortune to have a commander to whom we can look up as a model of ability, coolness and bravery.

The Ericsson steamer Monitor has taken up her position opposite our signal point, where she can keep watch of the inlet to Norfolk (in case the Merrimac should dare to show herself again), and also have a view of the James river all the way up to Day's Point. Yesterday she passed our point, quite near enough to give the garrison a good view of her. Our men crowded down on the dock and along the shore, and hailed her with cheers and exclamations of the wildest enthusiasm. One would cry, "Three cheers for the Monitor, our savior!" another, "God bless her, that plucky little craft!" and so on. She looks so innocent that one would hardly think that she really drove off a whole fleet of rebel boats. The shots of the Merrimac made but little impression upon her, and with the exception of her commander, who was injured in the face, not a soul on board was hurt the least during the five hours' fight on Sunday morning. General Mansfield, his staff, and several other officers, visited her in the afternoon, and were received with all possible courtesy and attention by her gallant officers. Such greeting and hand shaking! Never more cordial meeting took place, never showed faces such sincere happiness. Every portion of the ship was exhibited, and every novelty revealed caused exclamations of admiration and delight; it seemed almost like a dream, to dive into this raft-looking concern and find such luxurious cabins, such machinery, such complete accommodations for comfort and safety, all under water. Of the momentous items which have made up the eventful history of the past few days, our visit to the Monitor is not the least interesting. We trust that the government will award all the praise and pecuniary remuneration due to the noble inventor, and to the officers and men who worked her so faithfully and well. It is no use disguising the fact that, but for her timely arrival, and her ability to fight and subdue the terrible Merrimac, not only the Minnesota would have been destroyed, but our camp would have been threatened to such an extent as probably to force us to evacuate it, and Fortress Monroe itself, or at least the entire naval force there, would have been endangered.

The steamer C. Vanderbilt (the old and well known Troy steamer) arrived here this morning at ten o'clock direct from Baltimore, carrying the Fifth regiment Maryland Volunteers, Colonel Louis Shley. The regiment numbers 990 men, most of them young and stalwart fellows, of just the right kind of stuff to make good soldiers.

William Rhodes, late pilot on board the frigate Congress, who was carried on shore Saturday evening last, terribly wounded, and who died about midnight, handed his wallet, containing a considerable sum of money, to the Brigade Surgeon, Dr. Curtis, requesting him to comply with the request of a note contained in the wallet. The note is written on last New Year's day, and seems to show that Rhodes has had some sort of forewarning of his approaching death. The following is a copy:

NEWPORT'S NEWS, Jan. 1, 1862.

Please deliver to Mr. ____ ____ all the money that is in my possession at present, and all that may be due me at my death, and my clothing, whenever he may demand it, and oblige.

WILLIAM RHODES, Coast Pilot of the United States Ship Congress.

Farewell to all below the sun!

So far as I have been able to learn, all the wounded sailors now in our hospitals are doing comparatively well. The list of the saved has not yet been completed.

T0-night our parole is "Monitor," and our countersign "Ericsson;" it is not likely that our pickets will forget those names!

Official Report of Captain G. J. Brunt, of the Minnesota.


SIR—On Saturday, the 8th inst., at 12:45 P. M., three small steamers, in appearance, were discovered rounding Sewall's Point, and as soon as they came into full broadside view I was convinced that one was the iron-plated steam battery Merrimac from the large size of her smoke pipe. They were heading for Newport's News, and I, in obedience to a signal from the senior officer present, Captain John Marston, immediately called all hands, slipped my cables and got under way for that point to engage her. While rapidly passing Sewall's Point the rebels there opened fire upon us from a rifle battery, one shot from which going through and crippling my mainmast. I returned the fire with my broadside guns and forecastle pivot. We ran without further difficulty within about one and a half mile of Newport's News, and there, unfortunately, grounded. The tide was running ebb, and, although in the channel, there was not sufficient water for this ship, which draws twenty-three feet. I knew the bottom was soft and lumpy, and endeavored to force the ship over; but found it impossible so to so. At this time it was reported to me that the Merrimac had passed the frigate Congress and run into the sloop-of-war Cumberland, and in fifteen minutes after I saw the latter going down by the head. The Merrimac then hauled off, taking a position, and about 2:30 P. M., engaged the Congress, throwing shot and shell into her with terrific effect, while the shot from the Congress glanced from her iron-plated sloping sides without doing any apparent injury. At 3:30 P. M., the Congress was compelled to haul down her colors. Of the extent of her loss and injury you will be informed from the official report of her commander.

At four P. M., the Merrimac, Jamestown and Patrick Henry bore down upon my vessel. Very fortunately the iron battery drew too much water to come within a mile of us. She took a position on my starboard bow, but did not fire with accuracy, and only one shot passed through the ship's bow. The other two steamers took their position on my port bow and stern, and their fire did not damage in killing and wounding men, inasmuch as they fired with rifled guns; but with the heavy gun that I could bring to bear upon them I drove them off, one of the apparently in a crippled state. I fired upon the Merrimac with my ten-inch pivot gun without any apparent effect, and at seven P. M. she too hauled off, and all three vessels steamed towards Norfolk.

The tremendous firing of my broadside guns had crowded me further upon the mud bank, into which the ship seemed to have made for herself a cradle. From ten P. M., when the tide commenced to run flood, until four A. M. I had all hands at work, with steamtugs and hawsers, endeavoring to haul the ship off the bank; but without avail, and as the tide had then fallen considerably, I suspected further proceedings at that time.

At two A. M. the iron battery Monitor, Commander John L. Worden, which had arrived the previous evening at Hampton Roads, came alongside and reported for duty, and then all on board felt that we had a friend that would stand by us in our hour of trial.

At six A. M. the enemy again appeared coming down from Craney Island, and I beat to quarters, but they ran past my ship and were heading for Fortress Monroe, and the retreat was beaten to allow my men to get something to eat. The Merrimac ran down near the Rip Raps and then turned into the channel, through which I had come. Again all hands were called to quarters, and opened upon her with my stern guns and made signal to the Monitor to attack the enemy. She immediately ran down in my wake, right within the range of the Merrimac, completely covering my ship as far as was possible with her diminutive dimensions, and, much to my astonishment, laid herself right alongside of the Merrimac, and the contrast was that of a pigmy to a giant. Gun after gun was fired by the Monitor, which was returned with whole broadsides from the rebels, with no more effect apparently than so many pebble stones thrown by a child. After a while they commenced maneuvering, and we could see the little battery point her bow for the rebels, with the intention, as I thought, of sending a shot through her bow porthole, then she would shoot by her and rake her through her stern. In the meantime the rebels were pouring broadside after broadside, but almost all her shot flew over the little submerged propeller; and when they struck the bomb proof tower the shot glanced off without producing any effect, clearly establishing the fact that wooden vessels cannot contend successfully with iron clad ones, for never before was anything like it dreamed of by the greatest enthusiast in maritime warfare. The Merrimac, finding that she could make nothing of the Monitor, turned her attention once more to me in the morning. She had put on 11-inch shot under my counter near the water line, and now on her second approach I opened upon her with all my broadside guns and 10-inch pivot; a broadside which would have blown out of water any timber-built ship in the world. She returned my fire with her rifled bow gun with a shell which passed through the chief engineer's stateroom, through the engineer's messroom amidships, and burst in the boatswain's room, tearing four rooms all into one, in its passage exploding two charges of powder, which set the ship on fire, but it was promptly extinguished by a party headed by my first lieutenant. Her second went through the boiler of the tugboat Dragon, exploding it and causing some consternation on board my ship for the moment, until the matter was explained. This time I had concentrated upon her an incessant fire from my gun deck, spar deck and forecastle pivot guns, and was informed by my marine officer, who was stationed on the poop, that at least fifty solid shot struck her on the slanting side without producing any apparent effect. By the time she had fired her third shell the little Monitor had come down upon her, placing herself between us, and compelled her to change her position, in doing which she grounded, and again I poured into her all the guns which could be brought to bear upon her. As soon as she got off she stood down the bay, the little battery chasing her with all speed, when suddenly the Merrimac turned around and ran full speed into her antagonist. For a moment I was anxious, but instantly I saw a shot plunge into the iron rood of the Merrimac, which surely must have damaged her, for some time after the rebels concentrated their whole battery upon the tower and pilot house of the Monitor, and soon after the latter stood down for Fortress Monroe, and we thought it probably she had exhausted her supply of ammunition or sustained some injury. Soon after the Merrimac and the two other steamers headed for my ship, and I then felt to the fullest extent my condition. I was hard and immovably aground, and they could take position under my stern and rake me. I had expended most of my solid shot, and my ship was badly crippled and my officers and men were worn out with fatigue; but even in this extreme dilemma I determined never to give up the ship to the rebels, and after consulting my officers I ordered every preparation to be made to destroy the ship after all hope was gone to save her. On ascending the poop deck I observed that the enemy's vessels had changed their course and were heading for Craney Island; then I determined to lighten the ship by throwing overboard my eight-inch guns, hoisting out provisions, starting water, &c. At two P. M. I proceeded to make another attempt to save the ship by the use of a number of powerful tugs and the steamer S. R. Spauling—kindly sent to my assistance by Capt. Talmadge, Quartermaster at Fort Monroe—and succeeded in dragging her half a mile distant, and then she was again immovable, the tide having fallen. At two A. M. this morning I succeeded in getting the ship one more afloat, and am now at anchor opposite Fortress Monroe.

It gives me great pleasure to say that during the whole of these trying scenes the officers and men conducted themselves with great courage and coolness.

I have the honor to be your very obedient servant,

G. J. VAN BRUNT, Captain U. S. N., Comm'g Frigate Minnesota.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

Corrected List of Officers of United States Steamship Minnesota.

Captain—G. J. Van Brunt.
Lieutenants—Edward C. Grafton, John Watters.
Acting Masters—Adolphus Dexter, J. M. Merrill, W. Wright, John F. Ferguson.
Sailing Master—D. A. Campbell.
Paymaster—Robert Pettit.
Fleet Surgeon—W. M. Wood.
Captain of Marines—W. L. Shuttleworth.
Lieutenant of Marines—W. H. Carter.
Assistant Surgeon—Dr. Edgar Holden.
Chaplain—G. S. Jones.
Engineers—Chief, C. H. Loring; First Assistant, G. S. Bright; Third Assistants, E. J. Whitiker, A.      Colin, L. A. Haverley, T. W. Rae, G. W. Thorn.
Midshipmen—R. S. Chew, C. S. Cotton.
Masters' Mates—J. B. Van Duzer, C. S. Whitman, R. Berry, Wm. Hunter.
Boatswain—Paul Atkinson.
Gunner—C. W. Homer.
Carpenter—Ebenezer Thompson.
Sailmaker—Augustus Warren.
Pilot—A. B. Miller.

Main Deck Battery, Under the Supervision of Lieutenant John Waters.

First Division—Acting Master W. Wright.
Second Division—Acting Master J. M. Merrill.
Third Division—Master's Mate John B. Van Duzer.

Spar Deck Battery, under the Supervision of Acting Master, Adolphus Dexter.

Pivot Gun—A. Dexter.
Fourth Division—R. S. Chew.
Fifth Division—C. S. Cotton.

Report of Captain Watson, Commanding the Gunboat Dragon.


At six P. M. went alongside of the Roanoke, and was ordered to get up a big head of steam, and go on the starboard side and make fast, as the Merrimac was in sight, and the signal given to get under way and go after her. At half-past one P. M. slipped the anchors of the Roanoke and started for the Merrimac. At two P. M. received orders to take a hawser and go ahead, as the ship had got ashore, and it was necessary to get her head in the right direction. At the same time the batteries at Sewall's Point opened on the tow, which was immediately responded to by the Roanoke and Dragon. On nearing Newport's News I was ordered to tow the Roanoke head towards the Rip Raps, and let go and go to the Minnesota and render every assistance possible, which was done with a will. Arriving at the Minnesota, took position and opened fire on the Yorktown and James town. Kept it up until dark, when we received orders to cease firing and lay by the ship until morning. At two A. M. tried to tow the Minnesota off the bottom, and succeeded only to ground in another and more exposed place. Made fast for the night. Second day, at eight A. M., we were ordered to take up position as best we could, and opened fire on the Yorktown and Jamestown, with good effect; could plainly see our shells bursting on the enemy. At twelve M. received orders to go alongside of the Minnesota, and be ready to assist in towing her off. Made fast on the port side, being in direct line of the Merrimac's batteries. At the same moment received two shots from her, one taking effect in the boiler, blowing up the vessel, together with the captain and three men; seriously wounding Charles J. Freese; badly scalding Ben. S. Hungerford, and breaking the legs of ____ McDonald, which will have to be amputated. Received orders to get on board the Minnesota. Vessel on fire. Shortly after received orders to get bags and hammocks on board of the Whitehall.

The following is a list of officers at the time:—

Acting Master Commanding—Wm. Watson.
First Engineer—Wm. A. Seward.
Second Engineer—Thomas Jordan.
Master's Mate—Wm. Bowdin.
Quartermaster—Ben. S. Hungerford.
Steward—Jeferine Banditche.
Six firemen and ten seamen.

WM. WATSON, Captain.

Another Description of the Monitor.

Letter From Lieut. Worden, Her Commander.

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 1862.

Dear Brother— * * * She is supposed to be shot-proof. Her hull floats 18 inches above the water, and is covered with five thicknesses of wrought iron plates, each one inch thick, to a point 3-1/2 feet below water line. Her deck is covered with 1-inch wrought iron. A wrought iron turret, 21-1/2 feet outside diameter, 9 feet high and 8 inches thick, is placed near the center of buoyancy. In this turret are mounted two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The turret revolves, and is turned around with great facility by steam, its movements being controlled by the commanding officer inside. As she goes into action, there is nothing above her deck but the turret and a shot-proof pilot house, and, when she is anchored outside a fort or battery, the latter is lowered below the deck. In that position, if she is boarded by the enemy they cannot get below nor into the turret, and her decks can be swept by her own guns loaded with canister. She is propelled by steam, and is expected to go eight knots the hour, and carries eight days' coal at that speed; is flat bottomed, and draws ten feet water. She is not intended for a cruiser; only to go from port to port on our own coast. Great hopes of her success are entertained by her constructor and others; and if she answers their expectations, she will be a very serviceable vessel and will have some rough work to do.

Length of upper vessel 172 feet
Length of lower vessel 124 feet
Breadth of upper vessel 41 feet 4 inches
Depth of upper vessel 5 feet
Breadth of lower vessel on top 36 feet
Breadth of lower vessel at bottom 18 feet
Depth of lower vessel 6 feet 6 inches

As you may imagine, her apartments are neither spacious, light nor airy, and we do not expect much comfort in her; but if her capabilities turn out as we hope for, I shall be well satisfied to rough it. It seems that Commodore Smith, of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, has had the supervision of her construction, and is greatly interested in her success. I had a letter from him, which is quite complimentary in its tone, stating that he had named me for the command, whereupon I examined the vessel and accepted at once, getting my orders by return mail. I apprehend that it is the intention of the department, if she proves successful, to build the twenty iron-clad gunboats recently authorized by Congress on her plan, with modification suggested by experience.


[From the Norfolk Day Book of the 10th March.]

At a quarter past eleven o'clock on Saturday, the iron clad steamer Virginia cast loose from her moorings at the Navy Yard and made her way down to Hampton Roads, towards the blockading fleet lying off Newport's News. She reached their neighborhood, after some detention at the obstructions below, at two o'clock. Here she found the two first class sailing frigates Cumberland and Congress. With a determination to pay her respects to the Cumberland first, the Virginia bore down for that vessel, and while passing the Congress she gave her a broadside by way of a salute. Her operations on the Cumberland were performed in the short space of fifteen minutes' time, at the end of which the Cumberland sunk just where she had been lying.

The Virginia on approaching her and getting within point blank range, fired her bow gun several times, and ran into her, striking her fairly with her ram, which made her reel to and fro and sent her speedily to the bottom; but while going down, we understand, the after gun of the Cumberland was discharged at the Virginia with what injury we know not.

The object in first getting rid of the Cumberland was probably to destroy the very heavy armament which that frigate carried, it being the heaviest in the Yankee navy. The officers and crew of the Cumberland made their escape as best they could, many of them being captured by our gunboats. The wounded on board it is believed went down with the vessel.

The Virginia next turned her attention to the Congress, which vessel it is said gallantly resister her inevitable fate for nearly an hour, but finally finding the ship rapidly sinking, she hauled down her colors and made for the beach, where she was run as high aground as possible. Her officers and crew were taken off by our gunboats, and while she had her flag of truce hoisted and was being relieved of her killed and wounded by our boats the Yankees on shore at Newport's News, disregarding the flag of truce, with Minie muskets fired into her and killed several of their own men and slightly wounded in the arm Mr. John Hopkins, one of our pilots, attached to the Beaufort.

While the Virginia was engaged with the Congress with her bow gun, she poured broadside after broadside into the shore batteries of the enemy at Newport's News. One discharge from the bow gun of the Virginia, says one of the prisoners, capsized two of the guns of the Congress, killing sixteen of her crew and taking off the head of a Lieut. Smith, and literally tore the ship to pieces.

The enemy seemed entirely unaware of our intention to attack them, and, it is said, were so completely lulled into security that the Virginia had got down to Sewall's Point before they took the alarm.

While the engagement was going on between the two frigates and the Virginia the enemy's steam frigate Minnesota put out from Old Point to their assistance. She laid well over towards Newport's News, but not entirely out of the range of our batteries on Sewall's Point, which opened on her, with what effect we are unable to say, but she replied to them without any damage whatever. The Minnesota got aground when within a mile or two of Newport's News Point. There she stuck, unable to get off, while the Confederate steamers Patrick Henry and Jamestown peppered her with their batteries, while the Virginia was attending to the shore batteries at Newport's News.

The frigate St. Lawrence then came up to the assistance of the Minnesota, and she also got aground, and a steam frigate, supposed to be the Roanoke, put off from Old Point with the same intention, it is supposed, but seeing the sad havoc which the Virginia was playing with the federal vessels, she put back to Old Point.

The Minnesota and St. Lawrence, we learn, are hard aground and in the power of the Virginia, at high tide, as the latter vessel was at Sewall's Point, after the engagement, where she remained on Saturday night, ready to commence on them on Sunday morning. She is between them and all assistance from Old Point.

The frigate Congress was set fire to, on Saturday night, by a boat's crew from some of our vessels. She illumined the whole Roads and river, and about midnight her magazine exploded with a tremendous noise. Her conflagration afforded a rare sight to many thousands of spectators who lined the shores of our harbor to witness the spectacle of a ship on fire. Many articles of value, we learn were removed from her by our gunboats before being fired.

Tugs and steamers were sent to the assistance of the Minnesota and St. Lawrence from Old Point, after they grounded, but their efforts to haul them off were unavailing.

The first gun fired in the engagement is said to have been fired by the Confederate gunboat Beaufort, at the frigate Congress. All of our steamers and gunboats are said to have been managed with the utmost skill and dexterity, rendering great assistance to the Virginia in this magnificent and successful engagement.

We are without means of getting at the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded, though it is believed to have been very great. Our total loss in killed and wounded, as far as we can learn, is nine killed and twelve wounded, most of them slightly.

Twenty-three prisoners were brought up to this city on Saturday night. These were all taken off the frigate Congress by the gunboat Beaufort, while our other gunboats took off others. One of these prisoners died while on his way to the city. He and another one wounded were shot by their own forces while being saved from the sinking frigate Congress. The wounded prisoners were carried to the hospital.

The Virginia had two men killed and some five or six wounded. A shot entered the porthole and struck the gun on the muzzle, knocking off a piece nine inches long. This disabled the gun, which was immediately replaced by another of the same caliber.

Captain Buchanan and Lieutenant Minor, of the Virginia, are said to be wounded, the former slightly, the latter severely.

On board the Patrick Henry a shot entered one of her ports, we understand, and passed through one of her boilers, disabling it. She was compelled to haul off temporarily for repairs. There were found men killed and three wounded on board of her. Other damage not material.

On board the gunboat Raleigh Midshipman Hutter was killed, we understand, though we did not learn of any other casualties.

The James river steamers arrived at the scene of action, it is said, about one hour after the engagement commenced. They easily passed the Newport's News batteries, and after joining in the fight rendered very efficient aid.

By this daring exploit we have raised the James river blockade, without foreign assistance, and are likely, with the assistance of the Virginia, to keep open the communication.

Several small prizes were said to have been taken by our gunboats from the Yankees, one of which, the schooner Reindeer, was brought up to the Navy Yard on Saturday night. Two others were said to have been carried over to Pig Point on Saturday.

Another report we hear says that but two persons were killed on board the Virginia.

Andrew J. Dalton, a printer, who left our office a few days since to join the Virginia, and who was at the bombardment of Sumpter and participated in several other engagements during the war, we learn, was one of the wounded on board that vessel on Saturday.

The engagement was renewed again on Sunday morning, about half-past eight o'clock, by the Jamestown and several of our gunboats, firing into the Minnesota and St. Lawrence. At high water we expect the Virginia will pay her respects to these vessels.

Since the above was written, we have been enabled to gather some additional particulars.

Some detention occurred on board the Virginia on Sunday morning, we learn, or she would have commenced the engagement much earlier than half-past eight o'clock, at which time she, together with the Patrick Henry, Jamestown and our other gunboats, opened fire on the Minnesota, which still lies hard and fast aground. The tide being at the ebb, the Virginia did not take the channel where the Minnesota lay, probably for fear of grounding, but getting within a good range of her, she opened fire with terrible effect, completely riddling her, and rendering constant exertion at the pump necessary to prevent her from filling.

Early in the morning, the Ericsson battery, now called the Monitor, was discovered off Newport's News Point, she having gone up there during the night. A sharp encounter soon took place between her and the Virginia, during which time they were frequently not more than thirty or forty yards apart. Unfortunately the Virginia ran aground, and the Ericsson, using her advantage, poured shot after shot into her, but without doing any serious damage. In a short while, however, the Virginia succeeded in getting off, and putting on full head of steam, ran her low into the Ericsson, doing, as it is thought, great damage.

We are rejoiced to say that notwithstanding the firing was much heavier than on Saturday, there were no casualties on either of our vessels—not a man being in the least injured by shots from the enemy or otherwise.

Several of the enemy's gunboats being within range, they were favored with a shell or two from the Virginia, with telling effect, and in every case disabling or sinking them. One of these laying alongside the Minnesota, had a shell thrown on board of her which, on bursting, tore her asunder and sent her to the bottom.

Having completely riddled the Minnesota and disabled the St. Lawrence and Monitor, besides as stated above, destroying several of the enemy's gunboats, in a word, having accomplished all that they designed, and having no more material to work upon, our noble vessels left the scene of their triumphs and returned to the yard, where they await another opportunity of displaying their prowess.

The enemy's loss, killed and wounded, during the two day's battle is exceedingly large, and estimated at from six to twelve hundred. The scene around the Congress is represented as heart-sickening. The officers of the Beaufort, who ran alongside of her on Saturday night, and who boarded her for the purpose of removing the wounded aboard of her, and who were brutally fired upon by the enemy while engaged in this work of mercy to their own kith and kin, represented the deck of the vessel as being literally covered with the dead and dying. One of them assures us that as he went from fore to aft his shoes were well nigh buried in blood and brains. Arms, legs and heads were found scattered in every direction, while here and there, in the agonies of death, would be found poor deluded wretches, with their breasts torn completely out.

Of the crew of the Cumberland but few survived to tell the tale. As she went down her crew went with her, excepting some few who were taken as prisoners by us, and a few others who escaped to the shore. Out of the five hundred aboard of her, it is estimated that not over a hundred at most escaped, the remainder either being killed by our shot or drowned as the vessel went down.

Of course the greater part of those on board the gunboats were also drowned, as there was not sufficient time for them to have made their escape. Added to this very many in the camps of the enemy at Newport's News were killed by the shells which the Virginia threw among them.

On our side the loss was indeed small, and when we consider the storm of shell to which at times they were subjected, we can but wonder, while we rejoice, that so few of them suffered injury.

On the Virginia there were two killed and eight wounded. Among the wounded we regret to mention Captain Buchanan and Lieutenant Minor. These wounds, however, we are happy to state, are but slight.

On the Raleigh Midshipman Hutter was killed and Captains Tayloe and Alexander wounded, the first mentioned quite severely.

On the Beaufort Gunner W. Robinson and two seamen were wounded. This was all the damage sustained by this vessel among her men. Two Yankee prisoners aboard of her were struck by the balls of their friends, one of them killed, and the other severely wounded. The former was standing in the door of the wardrobe at the time the Beaufort was alongside the Congress, and one of the shower of balls sent by the enemy on shore from their Minie muskets struck him on the forehead, penetrating his brain, and killing him almost instantly.

On the Teaser one man was wounded very slightly.

On the Patrick Henry four men were killed and three wounded. While the loss of the enemy is counted by hundreds, ours as will be seen from the above, amounts to only seven killed and seventeen wounded.

The loss on our part, as small as it is, was not the work of the enemy's shots from their vessels, but the result for the most part of the fire of muskets from short.

During the contest the mainmast of the Raleigh was carried away. The flagstaffs of the Virginia were also cut down.

The report that the Congress was fired by the federals to prevent her falling into our hands is without a shadow of truth. She was fired by hot shot from the Virginia, for firing into our boats while she had a flag of truce at the time flung after she had struck her colors and surrendered to us.

Among the prisoners taken off the Congress was the slave Sam, the property of ____ Drummond, Esq., of this city, who escaped to the enemy some time in October last. He is now safe, having reached his home sooner and under different circumstances than he anticipated.

On the arrival of the Virginia at the yard her men were mustered and addressed by the commanding officer in terms of praise for their noble bearing during the engagement. They responded with hearty sheers, and expressed a desire to again re-enact the scenes through which they had just passed whenever opportunity presented.

The injury sustained by the Patrick Henry was not as great as at first supposed, being so trifling that a few hour's repairs were sufficient to place her in readiness for action.

The officers of the Virginia are represented as having acted with the utmost courage and bravery during the contest. It is related of Captain Buchanan that during the thickest of the fight he remained on the deck of the Virginia, and that he discharged musket after musket at the enemy as they were handed up to him. It was while thus exposed that he received the wound of which mention is made above.

It is said that all of the batteries on Newport's News were silenced except one, and that our shot and shell were thrown with such unerring aim and precision among the enemy that great numbers of them were killed and wounded.

[From the Norfolk Day Book, March 10.]
The Combat of the Ninth.

The 8th and 9th days of the present month have been rendered illustrious in the annals of this war of all warfare by the conspicuous gallantry of Southern seamen, displayed on Southern waters. The events which we have to chronicle need no aid of the rhetorician's art. They stand out in their simple grandeur above all ornament, and rise to a dignity which discards all pompous phrases. We shall attempt, writing, currente calamo [off hand], to give a candid narrative of the facts, which we observed, and an impartial statement of those derived from other sources. Before addressing our self to this talk, we pause to remark that if we treat the two combats as two great pictures, into which we have not space to introduce all the details, that if, indeed, we omit to mention many deeds of personal valor and heroic courage; that, is shot, if our report is imperfect in these, or any other particulars, it must be remembered that we have as yet but imperfectly obtained the numerous particulars which adorn the whole.

On the morning of the 8th the steam frigate Virginia, Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan commanding, left her moorings at the dock yard, and, attended by the steamtugs Beaufort, Lieutenant commanding Parker, and the Raleigh, Lieutenant commanding Alexander, steamed down the harbor.

It was a gallant sight to see the iron-clad Leviathan gliding noiselessly through the water, flying the red pennon of her commander at the fore flagstaff and the gay Confederate ensign aft.

Not the least impressive thought which she suggested was that her gallant crew, under a commander and officers worthy to direct their destiny and defend the flag she bore, went thus boldly with smiles and huzzas to solve a new problem in maritime warfare—to make the "Trial trip" of the Virginia the trial of battle. Nor could any man behold the little tugs, with their gay ensigns at peak and masthead, their battle flags set, steaming in her wake, without an emotion of admiration for the brave men they thus bore and a prayer for their deliverance.

In the wake of all came the Port Admiral, with a staff of naval officers.

Thus down the harbor passed the wharves thronged with eager citizens, past the batteries whose parapets were dark with soldiers, steamed the squadron.

Through the two barricades and then the Virginia put her helm a-starboard and took the south channel.

Meantime the morning was still as that of a Sabbath. The two frigates lay with their boats at the booms and wash clothes in the rigging. Did they see the long, dark hull? Had they made her out? Was it ignorance, apathy or composure? These were the questions we discussed as we steamed across the flats to the south of the frigate with the two gallant little gunboats well on our starboard beam heading up for the enemy. Our doubts were solved by the heavy boom of a gun beyond Sewall's Point. The reverberation rolled across the sun-lit water and died away, but still the clothes hung in the rigging, still the boats lay at the booms. Another gun (twenty minutes past one), broke on the air, and a tug started from Newport's News, while at the same time two others left Old Point, taking the channel inside Hampton bar. Steadily with a grim and ominous silence the Virginia glides through the water, steadily and with defiant valor the Beaufort and Raleigh followed where she led. At ten minutes to two, a rifle gun from one of these little vessels rang out, then a white puff from her consort. Still the clothes in the rigging, still the boats at the boom. Was this confidence? It could not be ignorance. Did it mean torpedoes, submarine batteries, infernal machines? The gunboats have fired again, and lo! here—away to the eastward—were the Roanoke and Minnesota rising like prodigious castles above the placid water, the first under steam, the second in tow. Other puffs of smoke, other sharp reports from the gunboats, but the Virginia goes on steadily, silently to do her work. Now, the inshore frigate, the Cumberland, fires, now the Virginia close aboard, now Sewall's Point battery, not the Minnesota, now the Roanoke, now the air trembles with the cannonade. Now the Virginia delivers both broadsides, now she runs full against the Cumberland's starboard bow, now the smoke clears away and she appears heading up James river. This at twenty-two minutes to two. The Congress now lets fall foretopsail and then the main, and so, with a tug alongside, starts down the North channel, where the Minnesota has grounded, and presently runs plump ashore. Meanwhile the Virginia opens upon the Yankee fort; slowly she steams back, and the Cumberland, sunk now to her white streak, opens upon her again. A gallant man fought that ship—a man worthy to have maintained a better cause. Gun after gun he fired, lower and lower sunk his ship—his last discharge comes from his pivot gun—the ship lurches to starboard, now to port, his flag streams out wildly, and now the Cumberland goes down on her beam ends, at once a monument and an epitaph of the gallant men who fought her. The Virginia stops. Is she aground? And the gunboats? Raleigh and Beaufort! Glorious Parker! Glorious Alexander! There they are on the quarters of the Congress hammering away, and creeping up closer and closer all the time. At ten minutes to four the Congress struck. Pauker hauled down the ensign, run up his own battle flag in its place, there the heroic Tayloe, who fought the Fanny at Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City, got his wound—there the gallant young Hutter fell, all shot by the dastards who fired from the ship and shore when the white flag was flying at the main and mizzen of the Congress.

Here, too, and in the same way, Flag Officer Buchanan and Flag Lieutenant R. Miner, were wounded. Now, the James river gunboats, whose dark smoke had been seen against the blue distance ever since three o'clock, came dashing along past the shore batteries. Tucker, the courtly and chivalrous, leading the van, with the Jamestown, Lieutenant Commanding Barney, close aboard, and the little Teaser, Lieutenant Webb, in her wake—like a bowlegged bull dog in chase of the long, lean stag bounds. It was a gallant dash, and once past the batteries the two heavy vessels took position in the line of battle, while the Teaser dashed at the Minnesota, looking no larger than a cock boat. And right well she maintained the honor of her flag and the appropriateness of her name. Now the Roanoke put her helm up and declines the battle. Now the Virginia is thundering away again. The Teaser is still closer in. We are closer in. Sizz comes a shell ahead, presently another astern, finally a third with a clear, sharp whiz just overhead, to the great delight of the Commodore, who appreciated the compliment of these good shots, which were the last of six directed shots at the Harmony. Now the schooner Reindeer comes foaming along, cut out from under the short batteries, she reports, and is sent up in charge of Acting Master Gibbs.

And next, the gallant Beaufort runs down. Parker stops and brings on board the great piece of bunting we saw hauled down just now. He brings also some thirty prisoners and some wounded men—men wounded under that white flag yonder desecrated by the Yankees. One of these lies stretched out, decently covered over, gasping out his life on the deck—a Yankee, shot through the head, all bloody and ghastly, killed by the inhuman fire of his own people. Another, pale and stern, the captain of the Beaufort's gun, lies there too, a noble specimen of a man, who has since gone where the weary are at rest. A gallant man, a brave seaman. We shake hands with Parker; he gets back to his vessel slightly wounded, as is Alexander also, and steams back gallantly to the fight. The Patrick Henry, the Jamestown, the Teaser, the Beaufort, the Raleigh and the grand old Virginia are all thundering away. We steam down and speak the first. We hear a report of casualties, we shake hands with friends, we shove off, cheer and steam towards the Swash Channel. Presently, through the thickening gloom we see a red glare; it grows larger and brighter, and fuller and redder; it creeps higher and higher, and now gun after gun booming on the still night, as the fire reaches then, the batteries on the Congress are discharged across the water in harmless thunder. It was a grand sight to see, and by the light of the burning ship we made our way back to Norfolk. At half-past eleven the act of retribution was complete, for at that hour, with a great noise, she blew up.

[From the Norfolk Day Book, March 11.]

It is a grave task, a hazardous ambition to write a cotemporaneous history—especially when one collects his material under Flag Officer Forrest, whose taste for getting "within range" is proverbial. Knowing the hazard of attempting a description of the series of combats fought on the 87th and 9th in Hampton Roads, we particularly guarded against misconstruction by stating, on yesterday, in our first paper, the impossibility of chronicling all the grand features of such scenes. We committed an error or two, which we now propose to correct; and the printer's devil helped us along with a few of his own, which the reader has already noted for himself. The chief of these was the statement that Lieutenant Parker hauled down the ensign of the Congress. That gentleman himself corrects this error, and informs us that when the Congress struck to the Virginia, he was sent on board by Flag Officer Buchanan to hoist the Confederate flag, and after removing the wounded and prisoners to fire the ship. It was in the discharge of this duty that the Beaufort and Raleigh were fired upon, and there the lives of two valuable officers and several men were sacrificed by the perfidy of the enemy. Here also and about this time Flag Officer Buchanan received a severe wound, after which, and in all subsequent operations of the Virginia, she was fought and commanded by her First Lieutenant, Catesby Ap R. Jones. One other error—probably that of the writer—must be noted before he goes back to his individual narrative.

The previous chapter of this strange history was headed the "Combat of the Ninth," when, in reality, it was a description of that of the 8th—of Saturday's performance, and not Sunday's, as would appear from the caption of which we speak.

On Sunday morning faint cannonading was heard below. When the thick vapors that overhung Hampton Roads lifted, Lieutenant Commanding C. Ap R. Jones got under weigh, and began his attack upon the enemy. At ten o'clock the steamer Harmony shoved off from the Dock Yard and shot down the harbor. After threading our way through the barriers, and passing the forts, dark, as on the previous day, with masses of soldiers of all arms, we saw a strange picture—a picture at once novel and beautiful. The gunboats were lying in line of battle under Sewall's Point, with the thick masses of smoke floating lazily above them, firing now and then as shot; while the Virginia, looking grim and mysterious as before, steamed in pursuit of a wonderful looking thing that was justly compared to a prodigious "cheese box on a plank," said "cheese box" being of a Plutonian blackness.

At first we could see the great puffs of white smoke jetting out, now from the Virginia, now from the Minnesota, and at long intervals from the black "cheese box." But these white wreaths of smoke blew off to seaward without a sound reaching us, for the wind had now risen, and the warm calm of the early morning was succeeded by a piercing northeaster. Away we went across Craney Island flats, and presently we could hear the guns, louder and louder. But, the strange looking batter, with its black, revolving cupola, fled before the Virginia. It was, as somebody said, "like fighting a ghost." Now she ran down towards Old Point, now back towards Newport's News, now approached to fire and then ran away to load, but evidently fighting shy, and afraid of being put "in chancery," as the pugilists call it, by her powerful pursuer. The projectiles from her great piece of ordnance, a ten inch solid shot gun, came dancing across the water with a series of short, sharp pops, which made a music more exciting than melodious.

Now she overshot the Virginia, and the spray flew more than thirty feet high. Now she shot to this side, now to that. Now she steamed close up, and hit her fairly. In one of these encounters we thought her iron castle had been shot away, but when the smoke cleared away, there it was and the long, plank like hull in shore again, driving along like the "Flying Dutchman." Meanwhile the Virginia crept up towards the Minnesota, crept up and paused in that mysterious silence which fell upon her at all times—a silence awfully impressive to us aboard the tug. Was she aground? One though yes. Another could make out that she was moving. A third discovered that it was our forging ahead which imparted to her the apparent motion we had a moment before congratulated ourselves upon. The minutes seemed like hours as we stood watching the noble ship, against which the combined batteries of the Minnesota and Ericsson were now directed. The shot fell like hail, the shell flew like rain drips, and slowly, steadily she returned the fire. There lay the Minnesota with two tugs alongside. Here, there and everywhere was the black "cheese box." There lay the Virginia evidently aground but still firing with the same deliberate regularity as before. Presently a great white column of smoke shot up above the Minnesota, higher and higher, fuller and fuller in its volume, and beyond doubt carried death all along her decks, for the red tug's boiler had been exploded by a shot, and the great white cloud canopy was the steam thus liberated—more terrible than the giant who grew out of the vapor unsealed by the fisherman in the fable. And now the Virginia moves again. There can be no error this time, for we see her actually moving through the water, and can mark the foam at her prow. And, strange to say, these long, painful hours, measuring time by our emotions, are condensed by the unsympathetic hands of our watches into fifteen minutes! At twelve o'clock noon she was steaming down for Sewall's, while the strange looking battery bore away for the frigate ashore.

We steamed down to meet her, mustered all hands, and running close alongside, gave her three cheers—three cheers which came from the bottom of our hearts—which were expressive of praise and thankfulness—of benediction and delight. Her company was mustered on the grating and returned our cheers. We ran in closer, and there was her commander, Catesby Ap R. Jones, looking as calm and modest as any gentleman within the jurisdiction of Virginia. The Commodore hailed the ship, heard the reply, complimented the quiet, thoughtful looking man who had managed and fought her from the time Flag Officer Buchanan was wounded up to that moment, and then, with cordially spoken eulogies upon the gallant men on board, we shot ahead. Here let us pause one moment. Our task has been to speak of events rather than individual actors, but we should do violence to our own feelings and to the public sentiment did we fail to allude to the conspicuous services of the gentleman who succeeded Flag Officer Buchanan, who was shot on the grating of the ship on Saturday, the 8th.

He was known to all members of his profession as a thorough and accomplished seaman. As an ordnance officer he was of approved skill, and after the 8th and 9th of March this scholarlike, placid gentleman steps upon the historic canvass of this great revolution as one of its true heroes. We leave him and his gallant shipmates to the generous appreciation of their countrymen, and asking pardon of his sensible modesty for what we have written, pass on with our narrative.

The same scene was enacted and re-enacted as she passed each vessel, and, with Flag Officer Forrest in the van, the squadron steamed cautiously along towards the barricades.

As the ships, grouped against the soft, hazy sky, followed the Virginia the picture was one never to be forgotten, the emotions excited such as can never be described.

As we looked up towards Newport's News we saw the spars of the Cumberland above the river she had so long insolently barred; but of her consort there was not even a timber head visible to tell her story. But this was not even a timber head visible to tell her story. But this was not all she had done. The Minnesota lay there riddled like a sieve. What damage she sustained will never be known, but it must have been frightful. And within eight and forty hours she had successfully encountered—encountered, defied and beaten a force equal to 2,890 men and 230 guns, as will be seen by the following table:—

Congress (burnt)
Cumberland (sunk)
Minnesota (riddled)
Roanoke (scared off)
St. Lawrence (peppered)
Gunboats (two or three dis'd)
Forts (silenced)

Here, perhaps, in this short table is a better picture of what she did and what she dared than any word painter, though he were a Vernet, could ever give. That some of the makers of this great piece of history may be known to the public, we append a list of her officers:—



Flag officer—F. Buchanan (wounded)
Flag Lieutenant—R. D. Minor (wounded)
Secretary and Aid—Lieutenant D. F. Forrest (army)
First Lieutenant and Ex-Officio—C. Ap R. Jones
Lieutenants—C. C. Simms, First division; H. Davidson, Second division; J. T. Wood, Third division,      J. R. Eggleston, Fourth division; W. R. Butt, Fifth division
Captain—R. T. Thorn, C. S. M. C., Sixth division
Paymaster—Semple, Shot and Shell division
Fleet Surgeon—D. B. Phillips
Assistant Surgeon—A. S. Garnett
Chief Engineer—W. A. Ramsey
Master—Wm. Parrish
Midshipmen—Foute, Marmaduke (wounded), Littlepage, Long, Craig, Rootes
Flag Officer's Clerk—A. Sinclair
Engineers—First, Tynans; Second, Campbell; Third, Herring
Paymaster's Clerk—A. Ubright
Boatswain—C. Hasker
Gunner—C. B. Oliver
Pilots—Geo. Wright, H. Williams, T. Cunnyngham, W. Clark


Lieutenant Commanding—Jones
First Lieutenant and Ex-Officio—C. C. Simms
Lieutenant—H. Davidson, First and Second divisions

All the rest unchanged, the Flag Officer, attended by his staff, one wounded, the other bearer of dispatches, having left.

Captain Kevill, with thirty volunteers from his command at Fort Norfolk, was on board during both days, and his men manned No. 7 gun, and gallantly served at that and several others. Captain Kevill fought No. 7 in Captain Thomas' division, and shared the perils and honors of the fights.

And we ask is not the ship worthy her illustrious name?

The Merrimac at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Undergoing Repairs, &c.

BALTIMORE, March 13, 1862.

The boat from Old Point has arrived, but brings no news, the telegraph having anticipated her advices.

The press dispatches will hereafter be sent under the direction of Gen. Wool.

The steamer Merrimac is afloat at the Norfolk Navy Yard, and a large force of workmen is employed in repairing her. Serious damage was done to one of her prongs, and the forward part of the vessel was stove in. These are now being strengthened.

The people of Norfolk are said to be in a state of mingled rejoicing and fear.
Lieut. W. N. Jeffers is now in command of the Monitor.

FORTRESS MONROE, March 13, 1862.

All has been quiet here during the day.


Saturday, March 15, 1862


From the N. Y. World

Our correspondent at Fortress Monroe has gathered the following interesting facts relative to the late hot engagement between the Monitor and Merrimac, or Virginia, as she is now called, from an account given by Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers, the government officer attached to the Union battery, and under whose superintendence it was constructed. * * *

The Monitor arrived in Hampton Roads on Saturday evening just in time to witness the terrific naval engagement then going on, though too far off for us to comprehend particulars. Later we learned that the Merrimac had come down from Norfolk, and the Jamestown and Yorktown from Richmond, besides other vessels, numbering seven in all, and attacked the frigates Cumberland and Congress. The first they sunk, and the latter they captured and burnedso, at least, was first reported, but it seems now that the Congress was fired by the order of her own officers. The Minnesota went up from the fort to assist, but got aground, and we are still surprised that the rebels went away and left her there. As the enemy was expected to attack her during the night, or early the next morning, we moved up to defend her. We anchored near her about two o'clock, A. M. At 8-1/2 o'clock the Merrimac suddenly bore down upon us, and almost before we could get up our anchor. She appeared to consider that she must annihilate us before she could have the Minnesota. It is supposed that the design of the rebel commander was to board the frigate and take her by storm, thus saving her for future service against the Union. We distinguished several hundred men on board the enemy before she came down to us. She walked fairly into us at first; then we went at her. During more than three hours we mutually tried to get as close to each other as possible, and whenever a good chance offered each pelted the other. We sent one shot into her stern, another through her side above water, and a third at the water line, shortly after which she hauled off in a sinking condition. We hit her frequently at other times, but our shot glanced off. Her consorts came alongside of her after a while, and, we suppose, transferred most of her men to them, and otherwise lightened her, so that she was finally enabled, with assistance, to float back to Norfolk, where she will doubtless stay for some time. The Monitor not only saved the Minnesota, but the entire Hampton Roads fleet. All Sunday afternoon the little Ericsson nondescript hovered around on the Norfolk side of the Minnesota to show the enemy that she was on hand if they wished to try it again. Captain Worden took his station in the pilot-house, and maneuvered the battery splendidly during the fight. An hour after its commencement a shot struck the pilot house on the corner near the top, and several little splinters of iron came through and cut into the skin of the Captain's face. In another hour it was hit again right where he was looking through, breaking the wrought iron log and filling her eyes with splinters of iron, pieces of felt, with which it is supposed the shot was wrapped, powder, and so forth. This disabled him, and it is supposed he will lose his left eye.

The Monitor experienced a rough passage down, and the sea breaking completely over her caused the turret and its appliances to rust badly, so that it worked unsatisfactorily to some extent. In order to render greater assistance, owing to this drawback Chief Engineer Stimers was called upon to work the iron castle himself. Three men were slightly stunned and knocked down by happening to be leaning against the inside of the turret, opposite the point where the shot struck on the outside. Mr. Stimers was one of the astonished party, but while the other two were carried below, he jumped up as soon as he fell, the shot having struck a little to one side of where he stood. No one was permanently injured in the turret or elsewhere, except the captain. Great numbers of shot passed very close over the turret, hissing terrifically. Nine shot hit the turret, two the pilot house, eight the side armor, and three the decktwenty-two in all. When the Merrimac tried to run the Monitor down and sink her, as she had the Cumberland the day before, she got the worst of it, as her horn passed right over the deck of the battery, while the latter's sharp-edged side cut through the iron shoe of her stem and into the wood. It is the opinion on board the Monitor that the rebel monster will hardly care to butt the "little David" again.

This is the first case in history of a conflict between iron-clad and iron-clad, and certainly the most brilliant fight that ever took place in American waters.


We learn on undoubted authority that the Ericsson Battery Monitor was sent to sea wholly uncaulked. Not a particle of oakum was used upon her. Her deck needed this protection, for it was obvious from the moment of her conception that in rough weather the sea would break clear over her from stem to stern. Instead of being water tight, however, her deck leaked by the bucketful, deluging everything inside. In addition to this, the severity of the gale she encountered on the 7th caused the waves to break over her smoke-stack, which is only four feet high, and the salt water poured down upon the flame from the furnaces, forcing it to escape through the ash-pan doors, and fill the fireman's and engine rooms with volumes of gas. The fumes stifled the men at their posts, and several fell down insensible. Two were so disabled as to be placed on the sick list, and others were scarcely able to render the assistance needed when the fires were extinguished. A night of horrors ensued, during which the tiller-ropes became unmanageable, thus added to the difficulties of the situation. The gale was extremely severe yet the buoyant qualities of the battery were found excellent. She did not pitch or roll to the extent expected.

Had the seams of her deck been properly caulked, and had the smoke-stack been fourteen feet, instead of four feet high, it is clear that the Monitor would have proved as successful at sea in mastering the elements as she ultimately was in whipping the Merrimac.

Lieut. Worden, the gallant commander of the Monitor, is now at Washington under medical treatment for the injuries received during the late engagement. A letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer from that city, gives the following interesting information in regard to him:

"Captain Worden, the hero of the recent unparalleled engagement, is here, and is the lion of the day. His eyes, which were injured by the flame of a shell explosion, are kept closely bandaged, and he is led from place to place. When he was introduced to Mr. Lincoln the tears gushed from the President's eyes as he grasped his hand and exclaimed, 'We owe to you, sir, the preservation or our navy. I cannot thank you enough.'"

The question has been asked, how can one live in the Monitor since all but those in the tower and pilot-house must, of necessity, be under water during an engagement? Apropos, of this, we subjoin the following paragraph from a cotemporary"

"This inside life in these iron-clad vessels is a sort of Calcutta Black Hole existence, at best. The ventilation is close, and the fire and smoke, with the bad confined air, are almost intolerable. The Merrimac had to endure this with four hundred men. The Monitor's men suffered even more, the vessel being so much smaller. The eyes and nose of almost every man at the guns literally shed blood."


The following letter from Mr. Ericsson to the Assistant Secretary of War explains how the battery received the name of the Monitor:

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 1862.

SIRIn accordance with your request, I now submit for your approbation a name for the floating battery at Greenpoint. The impregnable and aggressive character of this structure will admonish the leaders of the southern rebellion that the batteries on the banks of their rivers will no longer present barriers to the entrance of the Union forces. The iron-clad intruder will thus prove a secure monitor to those leaders. But there are other leaders who will also be startled and admonished by the booming of the guns from the impregnable iron turret. Downing street will hardly view with indifference this last Yankee notionthis monitor. To the Lords of the Admiralty the new craft will be a monitor, suggesting doubts as to the propriety of completing those four steel-clad ships at three and a half millions apiece. On these and many similar grounds I propose to name the new battery Monitor.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


GUSTAVUS V. FOX, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Washington.


The New York Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday held a meeting to consider the condition of naval affairs and the harbor defences of New York. Captain Ericsson attended the meeting, and, being called upon, made the following statement concerning the Monitor.

Captain Ericsson, on the invitation of the Chamber, arose, and was received with applause. He said:

I have the great satisfaction to tell the gentlemen that this morning, a few minutes after I was called upon to attend this meeting, I got a letter from Mr. Stimers. I sent a copy of it to the Evening Post, so that the press should have it in the morning. I will now read you Captain Stimer's letter.


"MY DEAR SIRAfter a stormy passage, which proved us to be the finest seaboat I was ever in, we fought the Merrimac for more than three hours this forenoon, and sent her back to Norfolk in a sinking condition. Iron-clad against iron-clad. We maneuvered about the Boy here, and went at each other with mutual fierceness. I consider that both ships were well fought. We were struck twenty-two timespilot-house twice, turret nine times, side armor eight times, deck three times. The only vulnerable point was the pilot-house. One of your great logs (9 by 12 inches thick) is broken in two. The shot struck just outside of where the Captain had his eye, and it has disabled him by destroying his left eye, and temporarily blinding the other."

That is proved since not to be so. It was imagined at first that his eye was lost.

"The log is not quite in two, but is broken and pressed inward 1-1/2 inches."

This shows the immense force of these shots. This beam is 9 inches by 12, and of the best wrought iron. This gives an idea of the difficulty of resisting these shot, and yet we have succeeded in the turret in doing so.

"She tried to run us down, and sink us as she did the Cumberland, yesterday, but she got the worst of it. Her bow passed over our deck, and our sharp, upper-edged side cut through the light iron shoe upon her stem, and well into her oak. She will not try that again. She gave us a tremendous thump, but did not injure us in the least. We are just able to find the point of contact.

That is gratifying that after such a concussion it was difficult to see where she struck her.

"The turret is a splendid structure. I don't think much of the shield, but the pendulums are fine things, though I cannot tell you how they would stand the shot, as they were not hit."

The shield is an extra thickness of two inches on the fighting side. It was placed there principally on account of the sound. I was afraid that the force of the shock would knock the men down.

"You were very correct in your estimate of the effect of shot upon the man on the inside of the turret when it was struck near him. Three men were knocked down, of whom I was one; the other two had to be carried below, but I was not disabled at all, and the others recovered before the battle was over."

Before the Monitor left I charged the officer particularly to tell the men not to be frightened. I told him to tell the men, let every man go down on his knees, and don't be alarmed when the rebel shot strikes you, because it won't hurt you. They all put the question to him, "Won't the shot go through?" "No," says he, "it will stay out." "Then, we don't care," they said. But for this precaution there would have been great consternation when the turret was struck. You may estimate the shock when a shot of 200 pounds weight, moving at the rate of 2,000 feet in a second, strikes within a foot of a man's head.

"Capt. Worden stationed himself at the pilot-house, Greene fired the guns, and I turned the turret until the Captain was disabled, and was relieved by Greene, when I managed the turret myself, Master Stodden having been one of the two stunned men."

I proposed to the Captain to let the Sailing Master turn the turret. On one side of the turret there is a telescope, a reflector, the image being bent by a prism. This Sailing Master who has nothing to do on the Monitor, I proposed should be stationed there. He not only looked through the telescope, but by means of a small wheel turned the turret just exactly where he liked. He did that to admiration, pointing it exactly on the enemy. As the Monitor went round, the turret kept turning (it no doubt astonished Captain Buchanan), so that wherever the Monitor was, in whatever position it was placed, the two bulldogs kept looking at him all the time.

"Captain Ericsson, I congratulate you upon your great success. Thousands have this day blessed you. I have heard whole crews cheer you. Every man feels that you have save this place to the nation by furnishing us with the means to whip an iron-clad frigate that was, until our arrival, having it all her own way with our most powerful vessels.

"I am, with much esteem, very truly yours,


"Capt. J. ERICSSON, 95 Franklin street, New York."

I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without saying that I look upon the success of that as being entirely owing to the presence of a master mind. The men were new; their passage had been very rough, and the Master had to put his vessel right under the heaviest guns that are ever worked on ship-board. It is evident that but for the presence of a master mind on board of that vessel success could not have been achieved. Captain Worden, no doubt, acquitted himself in the most masterly manner. But everything was quite new. He felt quite nervous before he went on board. The fact that the bulwark of the vessel was but one foot above the water-line was enough to make him so. When I was before the Naval Committee, the grand objection was that in sea way the vessel would not work. I gave it as my opinion that it would prove the most easy-working in sea way, and it is an excellent sea boat. The men are supplied with fresh air, though there is no opening except through the turret, by means of blowers worked by the engines, and they are perfectly comfortable. They can remain on the top of the turret in the sea way; it is 64 feet in circumferencequite a promenade. Thought the deck is but a foot above the water-line, the top of the turret is nine feet above; and here is the important point, that this vessel is in the sea way perhaps the safest vessel ever built. It takes 670,000 pounds to bring her down. There can be no danger of her swamping. It is very much like a bottle with a cork in it. In relation to the point whether the Monitor is capable of taking care of the Merrimac, let me say that she would have sunk the Merrimac, but for the fact of her having fired too high. If they had kept off at a distance of 200 yards, and held the gun exactly level, the shot would have gone clear through. But Mr. Stimers had the guns elevated a little, and the balls rebounded. Next time they encounter the Merrimac they will leave the guns level, and they won't mind if the ball strikes the water, because the ricochet will take it where they want it. The next time they go out, I predict the third round will sink the Merrimac. There is another point. They had fifty wrought-iron shot which were not used. Capt. Dahlgren issued peremptory orders that they should not be used, and they obeyed those orders. Now, wrought-iron shot is one thing, and a cast-iron shot is another. A wrought-iron shot canot break. The side armor of the Merrimac is insufficient to resist it. But the Monitor can go anywhere and take the very best position.

A MemberHow often can they fire?

Mr. EricssonIn about one minute and a half. It is often said one gun would be sufficient, but it is not so. By having two guns you have time for one to cool. You may depend upon it that if the Merrimac comes out again she will be sunk.

Mr. WetmoreI should like to ask of Capt. Ericsson whether he has heard that one of his shot eneterd the Merrimac, killed 17 men and wounded Capt. Buchanan, who has since died.

Mr. EricssonI have not.

Mr. BrownIt must have been a shell.

Mr. EricssonThat is not possible; but if a solid shot goes through the Merrimac, the armor would be carried in a great many splinters; the shot weighing 185 pounds, there would be a regular shower of wood and iron; but it is quite well ascertained that a shell cannot pass an iron plate two inches thick. You can hardly imagine what commotion would take place from such a shot. The decks would be almost literally removed.

A MemberI would like to ask Capt. Ericsson whether his batter could not be erected on various points in our harbor for its defence.

Mr. EricssonI imagine that the best kind of a harbor defence is a floating structure that can be removed from place to place.

The MemberYou can move this turret in any direction, and save all the expense of your vessel, and you require only a small steam-engine.

Mr. EricssonThis vessel is equal to twenty forts. It can move from place to place. In this battery you have a vessel that draws only 12 feet of water. The Warrior, drawing 34 feet of water, must come in the middle of the channel, and we could move along the shore. By means of one single floating battery, you could defend the harbor better than by twenty forts. That is easily demonstrated.

The last clause was stricken out of the fourth resolution, and it was adopted.

Mr. Ruggles offered a resolution that the appropriation of $15,000,000 for iron-clad vessels ought to pass, which was adopted.


Sunday, March 16, 1862

The Monitor and Captain Worden.

Sunday, March 9.—The sun rose in a clear unclouded sky, and revealed to the anxious watchers on the tower three vessels apparently at anchor off Sewall's Point; but the distance was too great to distinctly observe their outlines. No doubt, however, is felt but that one of them is the Merrimac, and from some movements a little later observed, Captain Worden believes she is preparing for an engagement.

The Monitor is to be immediately put in fighting trim. The iron hatches are closed, the covers are placed over the deadlights, and in fifteen minutes from the time the orders are given the main deck presents a clear sweep, unbroken except by the turret and pilot-house. 8:20 A. M.—The crew are sent to stations on the berth deck from magazine to turret ladder, and at the guns. Captain Worden, Lieutenant Green, and several of the other officers are standing on the turret deck looking anxiously at the mysterious movements of the vessels in the distance. At this moment, the largest of the three which presents the singular appearance of a floating house submerged to the eaves, is seen under way, heading directly for us. The officers are ordered immediately to their stations. Lieut. Green to command the gunners; Chief Engineer Stimers to control the movements of the turret during the action, and to witness the behavior of the Monitor, which is to form a part of his report to the government. Just as we are approaching the turret-hatch to retire below, the Merrimac opened the action with a shot that struck the water between the Minnesota and Monitor, and glanced far astern. Captain Worden immediately took his position in the pilot-house, where, ably seconded by Mr. Howard, from one of the U. S. steamers, who volunteered as pilot, assisted by Quartermaster Williams, he directed the movements of the Monitor and gave his orders during the entire action. All hands, officers and crew, are now at stations, waiting in breathless suspense for further orders. Capt. W. placed the Monitor in position, forwarded the bearing of the Merrimac to Lieut. Green in the turret, and gave the order to fire. The port apron swings aside, the gunners, too, spring to the gun-ropes, a creaking of pullies for a moment, and then a thundering report broke the death-like stillness that reigned along the dusty ranks of powder-passers on the magazine deck—the Monitor has made her maiden speech. From this time the Merrimac, coming down to attack the Minnesota, turned her guns on the Monitor, and we were the recipients of her compliments thenceforth. She gave us a few more shots, and then, as if frenzied at her failure to demolish us, ran head on at full tilt, as in her action with the Cumberland; but in this instance with a far different result. Capt. W. judged that, failing to run us down, her intention was to board us, but, if so, she changed her programme, probably not pleased with the expression of the grim eye of our columbiad, which at this moment, at a hint from Lieut. Green, shot her iron glance (weight, 170 lbs.) directly through the Merrimac's hull at water line. Now comes the order from Capt. W. to the Lieutenant, "Reserve your fire; I will lay you alongside the Merrimac; then aim deliberately, and do not lose a shot." In a few minutes this movement was accomplished, and then from both combatants the firing was very rapidly executed for some time, until the Merrimac, not liking her position, retreated to a longer range. To Mr. Green's occasional inquiry as to the effect of our shots, Capt. Worden answered in a cool, deliberate manner, that excited the admiration and enthusiasm of all within hearing. At one time, while the vessels were lying side by side, Mr. Green accurately trained his gun on the Merrimac's water-line, and, after delivering the shot, inquired of Captain Worden the effect. The answer came loud and clear, "Splendid, Sir; you made the iron fly. You cannot do better, but fire as rapidly as you can." The Merrimac retreated still further in the direction of Sewall's Point. Capt. Worden, judging the range too great for effective firing, directed the Lieutenant to wait for his order before giving her another shot. A few minutes passed, and the order came; it was scarcely executed when a percussion shell struck the corner of the pilot-house, and exploding, injured the Captain's eye. A few seconds and another exploded in the same neighborhood, and adding to the previous injury rendered for a time our noble commander completely blind; this occurred at 12 M., and was, I believe, the last shot the Merrimac fired in the engagement. The command now devolved on Lieutenant Green, who took the Captain's position in the pilot-house, and directed the closing movements of the action. The Merrimac, proud and defiant in the beginning of the action, now presented an entirely different spectacle. She had no doubt received a vital injury, and it is the opinion of the fleet that were anxious spectators of the engagement that she retired in a sinking condition. The Monitor would have vigorously followed up her overwhelming advantage, but her orders were to act entirely on the defensive, and not by any means to leave the immediate vicinity of the fleet in the Roads. This imperfect sketch must suffice for the present writer; the story will be better told by thos whose privilege it was to witness the iron monster foiled and driven back to his liar.

Horrible Scenes on Board the Congress During the Engagement

The following is an extract from an account by the Surgeon of the Congress:

* * * At last, when we saw that she was only a mile and a half off, we ran down and beat to quarters. Our guns were instantly prepared and a broadside poured into her.

Scarcely any perceptible effect was produced on the monster by our fire. Three or four very large holes were made in her smoke-pipe, but it was so enormously thick, and so firmly braced by iron stays, that we found it useless to attempt to knock it down. This damage to the stack did not appear at all to interfere with the working of the vessel. Indeed, she steamed better and faster after she had been in battle an hour or two than at the commencement.

I was informed, however, that once, as her ports were thrown open, our gunner succeeded in firing one round into her. This probably did much execution. Three hundred rounds were fired by us altogether, so that it would appear as thought two hundred and ninety-nine of them had been useless. The Congress is a 50-gun frigate.

The first shell which pierced the Congress killed the crew of seventeen gunners attached to gun No. 7. The shell was an 11-inch one, and was fired at a range of about one hundred yards. Every one of their shells burst inside of us. They must have cut off the fuses, as the distance between us was so very small.

I was looking for my instruments down below, when there came a crash, and I was thrown forward on my face a distance of eight feet. I escaped without injury, but it seemed to be almost miraculous. My bedding, blankets, trunks—everything—was scattered about the room.

The first wounded man who came staggering down the ladder for assistance had been struck in the chest by a splinter over a foot in length. While I was stooping over him, endeavoring to ease his pain, I heard another frightful crash, and a heavy door was thrown directly across the head and chest of the wounded man, barely passing my head. A higher art than mine had eased him of his pain! He must have been killed instantly, as he did not utter a single groan.

The number of wounded was unusually small in comparison with the number killed outright. The fire of the Merrimac was too close, and so fearful that almost every man who was struck at all was killed.

Neither were the wounds themselves of the ordinary character. They almost invariably took off the head and one shoulder, or cut directly in two. The only insignificant wound I dressed was in the case of one of the crew who had his hand taken off.

Mr. Rhodes, who was among the last killed, died after we had reached the shore, from the effects of a concussion he had received, his body not being at all mangled. He was a stout, robust man of fifty, and a strong, active sailor.

Commander Pendergrast did not receive a single scratch, although exposed to the full danger. I cam off in the same boat with him.

After fifteen or twenty minutes I did not pretend to amputate a limb, as the number of the wounded was so great and their sufferings so terrible. I put on tourniquets to stop the hemorrhage, however, and administered draughts to prevent prostration.

The scene on the gun-deck was frightful. Many of the dead had been literally blown to pieces. And yet the living, unconscious how soon their own turn might come, seemed also unconscious of danger, and moved about with the greatest coolness.

In the very commencement of the action our vessel was set on fire by the shells of the Merrimac. Had the enemy hauled off immediately we could not have sailed our vessel after this occurrence. It was impossible to extinguish the flames, which leaped up from every part of the hull.

In the reports of the battle, it was erroneously stated that the officers of the Congress had been captured. That we were not captured, however, seemed almost providential, and occurred thus:

When the white flag was displayed, the rebel tug-boat, which was detached to take us prisoners, came steaming up to our side, when the sharp-shooters of the Indiana Twentieth Regiment, who were stationed at Newport News, poured a volley into it. A Midshipman named Foreman was killed by the discharge, and fell from the side of our vessel down to the deck of his own, a distance of fifteen feet. No doubt many others of the rebel crew were likewise killed or wounded, for they at once hauled off, not anticipating such treatment from the Indiana troops. To the skill and gallantry of the latter alone, do the officers and crew of the Congress owe their deliverance from durance vile.

Before the rebel tug hauled off, however, I had gone on board to see about the removal of our wounded. I had a brief and unsatisfactory interview with the commander, who was named William Parker. He said to me, in a surly tone, "You'll have to hurry." I said to him that I could not move men in a hurry who were as badly wounded as ours. He replied: "I can't help it. I am going to burn your ship in fifteen minutes, so you had better move d—d quick!"

The threat, of course, was not put in execution, and Mr. Parker was glad to escape.

When the fire had increased to such an extent as to render it unable for us to remain on board any longer, we took to the boats which were already launched, and ready to cast off before we had any idea of an attack from the Merrimac, and pulled ashore to Newport News.

To the best of our knowledge, not a live man was left on board. The vessel was so very large, however, and the wounded, lying upon each of the four decks, it is barely possible that in some cases men were left behind whose life was not extinct.

* * * * * *



A great naval action took place on Saturday, the 8th of March, in Hampton Roads, off Newport News, between the great iron-plated rebel steamer Merrimac, supported by the rebel iron-plated steamers Jamestown and Yorktown, and the National wooden sailing frigates Cumberland, Congress, St. Lawrence, and the steamer Minnesota. The Cumberland was run into by the Merrimac and sunk, the officers being captures, but most of the crew escaping in small boats; the Congress, which was out of commission, and without a crew, was captured and burnt. The Roanoke was helpless, having broken her shaft some months ago, and the Minnesota grounded before being able to take a part in the action. After the destruction of the Cumberland and Congress, the rebel steamers commenced the bombardment of the national encampment and batteries at Newport News, but without effect; their evident intention being to engage and capture the Minnesota (the other National vessels having taken refuge under the guns of Fortress Monroe), which was still aground on Sunday, the 9th. During the night of the 8th, however, the iron floating battery Monitor reached the fortress from New York, and at daylight next morning (Sunday) engaged singly the rebel squadron, then bearing down on the Minnesota, and after an action of five hours, not only succeeded in driving off the Yorktown and Jamestown, but in disabling the iron monster, the Merrimac, and chasing her into Norfolk.

Such a brief outline of the only purely naval action, worthy of the name, which has taken place during the war. It has proved that wooden ships are no match for iron-clad steamers, and that the principle adopted by Capt. Ericsson, in the Monitor, is superior to any other for iron-clad vessels. The Monitor had but two guns, 11-inch Dalgrehn's, carrying 184 pound wrought iron solid shot. The Merrimac had eight 11-inch navy guns, recently imported from England, and the Yorktown and Jamestown carried six and eight guns respectively. Yet the Monitor, with two guns, and having a tonnage of less than one-third of the Merrimac alone, defeated her three antagonists, each larger than herself, iron-clad, and carrying 24 guns. She, moreover, came out of the fight of five hours, during part of which time she was within 10 yards of the Merrimac, and sometimes actually touching her, without perceptible damage or loss of life! She sustained triumphantly the severest test to which any vessel ever built has been subjected.

We append the details of the engagements of Saturday and Sunday, as they have reached us by telegraph from Fortress Monroe—telegraphic communication with that point having been, singularly enough, opened for the first time, by submarine cable, while the action of Saturday was going on:

The Action on Saturday.

About noon on the 8th a suspicious-looking vessel, looking like a submerged house, with the roof only above water, was discovered moving down from Norfolk, by the channel in front of the Sewall's Point batteries. Signal guns were fired by the Cumberland and Congress to notify the Minnesota, St. Lawrence and Roanoke of the approaching danger. There was nothing protruding above the water but a flagstaff flying the rebel flag and a short smokestack. She moved along slowly and turned into the channel leading to Newport News, and steamed direct for the wooden sailing frigates Cumberland and Congress, which were lying at the mouth of James river.

As soon as she came within range of the Cumberland, the latter opened on her with her heavy guns, but the balls struck and glanced off without effect. Her ports were all closed, and she moved on in silence, with a full head of steam. In the meantime, as the Merrimac was approaching the two frigates on one side, the rebel iron-clad steamers Yorktown and Jamestown came down James river and engaged our frigates on the other side. The batteries at Newport News also opened on the Yorktown and Jamestown, and did all in their power to assist the Cumberland and Congress, which, being sailing vessels, were at the mercy of the approaching steamers. The Merrimac, in the meantime, kept steadily on her course, and slowly approached the Cumberland, when she and the Congress, at a distance of 100 yards, rained full broadsides on the iron-clad monster that took no effect, glancing upwards and flying off, having only the effect of checking her progress for a moment.

After receiving the first broadside of the two frigates, she ran on to the Cumberland, striking her about midships, and literally laying open her bow. She then drew off and fired a broadside into the disable ship, and again dashed against her with her iron-clad prow, and knocking in her side, left her to sink, while she engaged the Congress, which lay about a quarter of a mile distant. The Congress had in the meantime kept up a sharp engagement with the Yorktown and Jamestown, and having no regular crew on board of her, seeing the hopelessness of resisting the iron-clad steamer, at once struck her colors. Her crew had been discharged several days since, and three companies of the Naval Brigade had been put on board temporarily, until she could be relieved by the St. Lawrence, which was to have gone up on Monday to take her position as one of the blockading vessels of the James river.

On the Congress striking her colors, the Jamestown approached and took from on board of her all her officers as prisoners, but allowed the crew to escape in boats. The vessel being thus cleared was fired by the rebels, when the Merrimac and her two iron-clad companions opened with shell and shot on the Newport News batteries. The firing was briskly returned.

In the meantime the steam frigate Minnesota, having partly got up steam, was being towed up to the relief of the two frigates, but did not get up until it was too late to assist them. She was also followed up by the frigate St. Lawrence, which was taken in tow by several of the small harbor steamers. Both vessels, when within about a mile of the rebel fleet, grounded, but immediately engaged the Merrimac, which, for the time being, was stationary, and, it is believed, also aground. The Roanoke, which had been lying off the fort for four months, was attempted to be towed into action but against the strong tide became unmanageable, and had to fall back to the fort. Firing continued from Newport News batteries, and the Minnesota and St. Lawrence on the rebel vessels, until dark, the last shot having been fired from the Minnesota.

During the night the Merrimac seems to have been got afloat; but all efforts to get off the Minnesota, the only really available National vessel, were futile, and her destruction on the following morning inevitable.

A Deliverer.

But the gloom that had began to settle on the fort was greatly dispelled when, towards midnight, an iron marine monster, unlike anything that had ever before been seen on the ocean, made its appearance off the fort. It proved to be the Ericsson iron floating battery of two guns, just from New York. The state of affairs was hastily explained to her commander, and she steamed off to the rescue of the deserted Minnesota. When day dawned, the rebel flotilla, flushed with the success of the previous day, bore down on what was supposed to be an easy prey. The Yorktown and Jamestown, on drawing least water (the Merrimac evidently afraid of grounding again), were ahead, when their course was suddenly stopped by the strange craft which seemed to have dropped from the clouds. They thought to overcome her easily, and opened fire confidently; but a few of the heavy shot of the Monitor, which battered through and through their iron sides, drove them back in panic behind the gigantic Merrimac, against which the Monitor advanced in turn. And then commenced the most extraordinary naval contest known to history; the first battle between iron-clad steamers ever fought, and one in which all the appliances of modern skill were brought in conflict. The fight lasted for nearly five hours, when the Yorktown and Jamestown fled up the James river, and the Merrimac, disabled and in a sinking condition, retreated into Norfolk. The Minnesota was then got off, and the Monitor, a proud proof of its designer's genius and skill, rode undisputed monarch of Hampton waters.

Dispatch from Gen. Wool.

FORTRESS MONROE, Friday night.

"Two hours after my telegraphic dispatch to the Secretary of War last evening, the Monitor arrived. She immediately went to the assistance of the Minnesota, which was aground, and continued so until a few moments since. Early this morning she was attacked by the Merrimac, Jamestown and Yorktown. After a five hours' contest they were driven off, the Merrimac in a sinking condition. She was towed towards Norfolk, no doubt if possible to get her in the dry dock for repairs. The Minnesota is afloat and being towed towards Fortress Monroe."

Dispatch from Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Fox.

"The Monitor arrived at 10 P. M. yesterday (Saturday) and went immediately to the protection of the Minnesota, lying aground just opposite Newport News. At seven A. M. to-day the Merrimac, accompanied by two wooden steamers and several tugs, stood out toward the Minnesota and opened fire. The Monitor met them at once, and opened her fire, when all the enemy's vessels retired, excepting the Merrimac. These two iron-clad vessels fought, part of the time touching each other, from eight A. M. to noon, when the Merrimac retired. Lieut. J. S. Worden, who commanded the Monitor, handled her with great skill, assisted by Chief Engineer Stimers. Lieut. Worden was injured by the cement from the pilot-house being driven into his eyes, but I trust not seriously. The Minnesota kept up a continuous fire, and is herself somewhat injured. She was moved considerably to-day, and will probably be off to-night. The Monitor is uninjured, and ready at any moment to repel any attack."

The Monitor.

The Monitor is an iron vessel or battery, built at Greenpoint , L. I., opposite this city, by Capt. J. Ericsson, from designs of his own, in 200 working days from her commencement.

Externally she presents to the fire of the enemy's guns a hull rising but about 18 inches above the water, and a sort of Martello tower, 20 feet in diameter, and 10 feet high. The smokestack during action is lowered into the hold, it being made with telescopic slides. The hull is sharp at both ends, the bow projecting and coming to a point at an angle of 80 degrees to the vertical line. It is flat-bottomed, six and a half feet in depth, 124 feet long, 34 feet wide at the top, and is built of light three-eighth inch iron. Another or upper hull rests on this with perpendicular sides and sharp ends, five feet high, 40 feet four inches wide, 174 feet long, extending over the sides of the lower hull three feet seven inches, and over each end 25 feet, thus serving as a protection to the propeller, rudder and anchor. The sides of the upper hull are composed of an inner guard of iron, a wall of white oak 30 inches thick, covered with iron armor six inches thick.

When in readiness for action the lower hull is totally immersed, and the upper one is sunk three feet six inches, leaving only 18 inches above water. The interior is open to the bottom like a sloop, the deck, which is bombproof, coming flush with the top of the upper hull. No railing or bulwark of any kind appears above the deck, and the only things exposed are the turret or citadel, the wheel-house, and the box crowning the smokestack. The inclination of the lower hull is such that a ball to strike it in any part must pass through at least 25 feet of water, and then strike an inclined iron surface at an angle of about 10 degrees. In the event of the enemy boarding the battery they can do no harm, as the only entrance is at the top of the turret or citadel, which cannot easily be scaled, and even then only one man at a time can descend into the hull.

This turret is a revolving, bombproof fort, and mounts two 11-inch guns. It is protected by eight thicknesses of inch iron, overlapping so that at no one spot is there more than one inch thickness of joint. A shell proof flat roof, of perforated plate iron, placed on forged beams, inserted six inches down the cylinder, covers the top. The sliding hatch in this cover is perforated to give light, and for musketry fire in case the battery is boarded. A spur-wheel, six and a half inches in diameter, moved by a double cylinder engine, turns the turret, guns and all, a rod connected with the running gear of the engine enabling the gunner to control the aim. The guns move in forged-iron slides across the turret, the carriages being made to fit them accurately.

These guns were furnished with 400 wrought-iron shot by the Novelty Works, each ball weighing 184 pounds and costing $47. The balls were made by forging square blocks of iron, which were afterwards turned in the lathe. Cast iron shot would break against such a vessel as the Merrimac, and these shot were forged for the especial purpose of smashing through her sides. Lieut. Worden intended, in case the Merrimac did not come out, to go into Norfolk harbor and lay his vessel alongside of her there. She saved him that trouble.

The Merrimac.

The Merrimac was formerly the United States frigate of the same name, which was scuttled and sunk at the Norfolk Navy Yard at the commencement of the rebellion by the officers of the Union Government, in preference to her falling into the hands of the rebels. She was built at Charlestown in 1855, and was pierced for forty guns. Her last service had been in the Pacific squadron. After the rebels took possession of the yard she was raised and converted into a man-of-war for their own use. Her hull was cut down to within three feet of her water mark, and a bombproof house built on her gundeck. She was also iron-plated, and her bow and stern steel-clad, with a projecting angle of iron for the purpose of piercing a vessel. She has no masts, and there is nothing to be seen over her gundeck, with the exception of her pilot-house and smokestack. Her bombproof is three inches thick, and is made of wrought iron. Her armament consists of four eleven-inch navy guns on each side, and two one hundred pounder Armstrong guns at the bow and stern. Last November she made a trial trip from Norfolk, running down so close to Fortress Monroe as to be seen by the naked eye, but ventured no nearer. Although she was looked upon by the rebels as a very tough customer for a vessel or vessels not protected as she is, she remained inactive, anchored off Norfolk, until her present engagement.

The Naval Battle.

The catastrophe which we predicted months ago, and time and time again, has at length occurred. In an article in our number of Dec. 14th we lamented the want of enterprise which prevented us from iron-plating a portion of our ships, or building new ones, adapted to the new exigencies of warfare, while it was notorious that the rebels at Norfolk, Mobile and New Orleans were engaged in constructing or adapting vessels on the principle so successfully demonstrated by the much-ridiculed floating and iron-faced rebel batteries at Charleston, in April. We then said, "The wiseacres at Washington are laughing about the attempts said to be making at Norfolk to convert the great war steamer Merrimac into a 'steel-clad' and shot-proof steam-ram or battery. Some cool morning we may have occasion to laugh out of the other sides of our mouths." We urged on the Secretary of the Navy to take the precautions necessary to meet these preparations, and the subject was taken up by practical correspondents—but the routine and "red tape" of the Capitol was too much for the common sense of the country. The Navy Department continued to laugh at Hollins, and went on ridiculing the Merrimac.

Again we returned to the subject, and in a more recent number, said: "And here we feel it our duty to utter a cry of warning. The splendid frigate Merrimac, abandoned at Norfolk through the treachery or imbecility of Com. McCauley (for which he has escaped death, and, so far as we know, even censure), has been iron or steel plated, and with a heavy armament is reported nearly ready to sally out into Hampton Roads. We are told that our fleet is ready for her; and so was the Mississippi blockading squadron 'ready' for Hollins's much ridiculed 'iron turtle.' Yet the fleet ran ingloriously before it, and the Vincennes was absolutely abandoned, with a train laid to her magazine, which fortunately did not explode. Hollins's 'turtle' was no doubt badly constructed, and unworthy of Northern skill. But it did drive the fleet out of the river. There is the awkward fact. And we anticipate a no very different result from the Merrimac, whenever she becomes ready to leave Norfolk. The capture of that town might prevent her exit, but probably that consideration does not enter into the profound strategy which develops itself so gloriously on the Potomac.

"And while on this point we may as well mention that there are certainly two iron-clad gunboats, perhaps more, in process of construction at Mobile, to be armed with the Armstrong guns (probably the weakest feature about them), and there are not less than eight, or similar construction, already built at New Orleans, exclusive of the 'turtle.' The folly of despising an enemy, or of neglecting rational prevision, may some day, not far distant, secure a new and by no means creditable illustration, so far as we are concerned, from the operations of the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, and of the rebel gunboats at New Orleans and Mobile. 'Strategy' and 'gigantic combinations' are no doubt great things in their way; so also is the modest virtue of precaution."

We little thought when we committed these prophetic lines to paper that we should so soon be called on to record their verification! History records no such instance of want of provision as existed in our fleet in Hampton Roads. The old Cumberland Congress, the latter without a crew, lay off Newport News. The Roanoke lay, with a shaft for four months broken, off the Rip-Raps. Only one vessel, the Minnesota, was left available—excepting the old sailing frigate St. Lawrence. The press cried aloud. News came daily of the advance in preparation of the Merrimac. All the world knew that 300 men were at work on her night and day. And yet the Naval Department shook its sides over Hollins's "ram," and accepted as true the rebel stories that the Merrimac was a "failure," "wouldn't float," had been "hogged," and all that , without ever suspecting the deception that was intended and practiced.

And sure enough, "one cool morning" out come the Merrimac, makes short work of two of Mr. Welles's frigates, and was only prevented from "finishing" the Minnesota by the accident of getting around. This, and this alone, prevented her from "clearing out" the whole National squadron in Hampton Roads in a single afternoon. Had it not bee for this accident, and the providential arrival of the Monitor during the night, there is not the slightest doubt that the Merrimac would have been complete master of Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay at this hour! We do not agree with those who imagine she would have put to sea, broken up our blockade, and perhaps bombarded New York. In the first place she could not carry the coal requisite for high seas; and finally she draws too much water to enter any of our important points, except with the most skillful piloting and care. But, we repeat, she could have controlled the Chesapeake Bay, James and York rivers, and the Potomac, and blockaded effectually Fortress Monroe.

From all this we were saved by her getting aground, and by the opportune arrival of the Monitor. Are we sure a similar special Providence is in store for us at Mobile and New Orleans? Will this humiliating lesson be lost on the magnificent head of hair which does duty as Secretary of the Navy? Or are we destined to hear of our mortar vessels "cut down to the water's edge" by iron-plated "failures" at the mouth of the Mississippi? And above all, will.



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