pull her off; but found himself unable to do so. Meantime, at 5 P. M., the frigate St. Lawrence
, towed by the Cambridge
, passed them, and soon also grounded, but was hauled off by the Cambridge
, when she returned to the harbor of the fort.
, Capt. Van Brunt
, having, in passing Sewell's Point
, received and returned a fire from the Rebel
battery, which crippled her mainmast, had approached within a mile and a half of Newport News, when she grounded, with an ebbing tide, and was still hard at work trying to get off, when, at 4 P M., the Merrimac
, and Patrick Henry
, having finished their work at the News, bore down upon her. The shallowness of the water forbade the Merrimac
to come within a mile of her, from which distance she fired for the next two or three hours, but once hulling the Minnesota
by a shot through her bow. The Jamestown
and the Patrick Henry
, taking position on the port bow and stern of the Minnesota
, where only her heavy pivot-gun could be brought to bear upon them, kept up a vigorous and effective fire on her, by which several of her crew were killed and wounded; but they finally desisted and retired, one of them apparently crippled.
At 7 P. M., the Merrimac
hauled off also, and all three steamed toward Norfolk
, leaving the Minnesota
deeply imbedded, by the fire of her broad-side guns, in the mud-bank on which she rested; so that it was impossible, even at high tide, by the help of steam-tugs and hawsers, with all hands at work through the night, to haul her off.
The prospect for the coming day was dark enough, until, at 10 P. M., the new iron-clad Monitor
, 2 guns, Lt. John L. Worden
, reached Fortress Monroe
on her trial trip from New York, and was immediately dispatched to the aid of the Minncsota, reporting to Capt. Van Brunt
at 2 A. M.1
Though but a pigmy beside the Merrimac
, and an entire novelty for either land or water--“a cheese-box on a raft” --the previous day's sore experience of the might and invulnerability of iron-clads insured her a hearty welcome.
Never had there been a more signal example of the value of a friend in need.
At 6 A. M., the Rebel
flotilla reappeared, and the drums of the Minnesota
beat to quarters.
But the enemy ran past, as if heading for Fortress Monroe
, and came around in the channel by which the Minnesota
had reached her uncomfortable position.
Again all hands were called to quarters, and the Minnesota
, opening with her stern guns, signaled the Monitor
to attack, when the undaunted little cheese-box steamed down upon the Rebel Apollyon
and laid herself alongside, directly between the Minnesota
and her assailant.
Gun after gun from tho Monitor, responded to with whole broadsides from the Merrimac
, seemed to produce no more impression than a hailstorm on a mountain-cliff; until, tired of thus wasting their ammunition, they commenced maneuvering for the better position.
In this, the Monitor
, being lighter and far more manageable than her foe, lad decidedly the advantage; and the Merrimac
, disgusted, renewed her attentions to the Minnesota
, disregarding a broadside which would have sunk