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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 20. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.1 (search)
oad. At Norfolk he was informed that General Huger and all his officers had left and that the enemy were within half a mile of the city in treaty with the mayor for its surrender. About 7 P. M. he reached the Merrimac with his report, and at this hour all the batteries on the river and Craney Island had been abandoned by our troops. The night was fast approaching, and what was to be done must be done quickly. It had been decided previously that the Merrimac could accomplish nothing in York river by reason of its width and many creeks of refuge. The ascent of the Potomac to Washington, except in good weather, was impracticable. A venture outside the capes was an impossibility. Battle with the Federal fleet in the Roads on their own terms gave no encouragement. It had been previously declined, and now, with our base of supplies in the hands of our enemies, they had but to keep out of our way and ten days or a week would bring the crew of the Merrimac face to face with starvation