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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 12: fight between the Merrimac and Monitor, March 8, 1862. (search)
he Merrimac started off with all the glamor of success, for there was no one on board who doubted that she could destroy the fleet then lying in the roads. Buchanan and his officers knew the weak points of every vessel in the Federal fleet, and the number and calibre of their guns. He knew that none of their shot could pierce the Merrimac and that he could choose his distance and fire with his rifled guns at the ships as if at a target, should A. prow of steel: b. wooden Bulwark: h. Pilot House: dd. iron under water: c. propeller: the Merrimac. (from a sketch made the day before the fight.) he think proper to do so. Instead of making it a trial trip, as first intended, Buchanan determined to make it a day of triumph for the Confederate Navy. At this time there was at anchor in Hampton Roads, off Fortress Monroe, the Minnesota, of forty guns, Capt. Van Brunt; Roanoke, of forty guns, Capt. Marston; St. Lawrence, fifty guns, Capt. Purviance; and several army transports. Seven