The officers and men of the Rhode Island (Commander Stephen D. Trenchard) did not hesitate to jump into their boats in that tempestuous weather and go to the relief of their comrades.
The Commander of the Monitor, in order to keep his vessel afloat as long as possible, cut the large cable by which she was towed and ran down to the Rhode Island, which enabled him to use all the pumps.
Two boats reached the Monitor from the Rhode Island, and the Commander ordered Lieutenant S. Dana Green (who had been first-lieutenant during the fight with the Merrimac) to put as many of the crew in then as they would safely carry.
This was a very dangerous operation, and it brought into play that cool courage which is more admirable than that shown in battle.
A heavy sea was breaking entirely over the deck and there was great danger of the boats being crushed by the overhang, if not pierced by the sharp prow which was first high above the waves, then completely submerged by the c