April 10, 1862, the Merrimac, with the vessels of the Norfolk and James River fleet, got under way late in the evening and anchored inside of Craney Island for the night, to make an early start the next morning.
At 6 A. M. of the 11th we were under way. The sun was clear, with the promise of a beautiful day. As we came in sight of Fort Monroe we beheld the Roads lined with a large fleet of transports, making a scene of beauty that is but rarely granted to a spectator.
In a momey set to work to lighten ship, dumping overboard all heavy stones, ballast, and pig-iron which had been put aboard to bring her down in the water to fighting trim.
Commodore Tatnall being unwell had retired to rest.
Between 1 and 2 A. M. of the 11th, he was aroused by Lieutenant Ap. Catesby Jones, with the report that after the crew had been at work some five hours, and had lightened the ship so as to expose her hull and render her unfit for action, the pilots now said the ship could not be c