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[29] at present wages. Pleased with the suggestion that the “Merrimac” might be run down, and thus a double security provided against her, not only the Vanderbilt, but the Baltic, and one or two other large merchant steamers were chartered, and stationed in Hampton Roads.

These immense vessels, lofty and grand, were anchored near Fortress Monroe, where they remained for two months, at no small expense, awaiting the appearance of the “Merrimac,” but no opportunity occurred to run her down. That vessel in her conflict with the “Monitor” sustained serious injury, and her officers, dreading more the novel craft which she had encountered on the 9th of March than the large wooden steamers, never again descended Elizabeth river to the Roads.

In the early part of May, the President, accompanied by Secretaries Chase and Stanton, took a steamer to visit Fortress Monroe and the army under McClellan, then on the York peninsula.

While descending the Potomac the attention of the party was directed to a string of boats nearly a mile in length on the Maryland shore, some fifty miles below Washington. Inquiry was made as to the object of such an immense collection of miscellaneous water craft. The pilot said he believed they were put there to oppose the “Merrimac,” but the little “Monitor” had taken care of her. “Oh!” said the President, pointing to the boats which lined the shore, “that is Stanton's navy; that is the squadron that Welles would have nothing to do with, and about which he and Stanton had the dispute. It was finally decided, I believe, that the War Department might have a fleet of its own to fight the “Merrimac,” and there it is. We were all a little scared at that time. Mr. Welles felt bad enough, but was not enough scared to listen to Stanton's scheme of blockading the river; said the fleet of boats would be useless, and, if used, worse than useless.”

Stanton, who was a little disconcerted by the President's levity, said he had believed it was best to provide for an emergency, and should the “Merrimac” now attempt to come up the river, the boats which he had procured and loaded might be found to answer a useful purpose in protecting Washington.

“Your emergency,” said Mr. Lincoln, “reminds me of a circumstance which took place in Illinois. We had on our circuit a respectable lawyer named B— , noted for a remarkable development of his breast, the glands being enormous, more protuberent than those of many females. In a conversation which took place among the lawyers at one of the hotels, there was a discussion regarding the singular development which, in a man, was almost a deformity, and could be ”

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