now commenced one of the most remarkable combats known throughout the war — in fact, one of the fiercest naval battles on record.
The Monongahela, Commander Strong, was the first vessel that had the honor of striking the Tennessee, which she did squarely and fairly, with a good head of steam; but the only result was that the ramming vessel carried away her cast-iron prow, together with the cut-water, without apparently doing the Tennessee any damage.
Just afterwards, the Lackawanna, Captain Marchand, delivered a blow, going at full speed, crushing in her own stem, but had no other effect on the ram than to give her a heavy list.
The Admiral then dashed at his enemy with the Hartford, but only got in a glancing blow, for the Tennessee avoided his attack by shifting her helm in time.
The flag-ship rasped alongside of her and delivered a broadside from her starboard guns as she passed, but with little or no effect.
This was a reception Buchanan did not anticipate.
He had calcula