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[472] them. Upon one of the brigs they hoisted the American flag at half-mast.

Half-past 10 o'clock.--There is no change in the position of affairs. The rebel fleet lies in line of battle, stretching from Sewell's Point up toward Pig Point. The Merrimac is black with men, who cluster on the ridge of her iron roof. The other vessels are also thronged with men. In all, the rebels show twelve craft — all, except the Merrimac, Yorktown and Jamestown, being insignificant tug-boats.

The Jamestown is armed with an iron prow, which can be seen protruding about six feet beyond the water-line of her bow. The position is simply one of defiance on both sides. The rebels are challenging us to come up to their field of battle, and we are daring them to come down. The French and English vessels still lie up beyond the rebels; the French vessels not more than a mile from the Merrimac, and the Englishman further up. Not a shot has yet been fired by either party.

Twelve o'clock M.--No fight yet. The Merrimac occasionally shifts her position, but does not come further out. The Yorktown, and some of the smaller tugs, have gone up to Norfolk.

Two o'clock.--The position of affairs has not changed, and there seems to be little probability of any fight to-day. The Merrimac and all the rebel fleet keep their position, and so does our fleet. It is possible that the rebels may come down with the flood-tide, in an hour or two hence; but it looks as if both parties hesitated to assume the offensive.

The events of this morning are much commented on, and have caused considerable feeling of irritation, and some humiliation. Beyond the capture of three transports, the demonstration of the rebel fleet has been little more than a reconnoissance; it cannot but be concluded, however, that the rebels have had the best of the affair. The capture of the three prizes was a bold affair, and we can well imagine the “hurrah” with which their arrival at Norfolk was greeted. Whether they might not have been saved and the rebels have been made to suffer for their temerity, is a point upon which I shall not venture a decided opinion. Their position was close into the beach, about half-way between Hampton and Newport News, and from four to five miles distant from the position of the Merrimac. A light-draught gunboat or two, sent up in time, might have saved them. The Naugatuck started, but a little too late to be of any effectual service.

Of course the naval authorities are acting upon some concerted plan, and under definite orders, the carrying out of which are considered of more importance than saving two or three small vessels. The capture was effected almost under the bows of the French and English cruisers, and we may be sure that our national prestige was not increased in their eyes by what they saw.

Half-past 4 o'clock P. M.--For some hours the Merrimac has continued moving about, sometimes advancing toward the Monitor, as if challenging her to combat, and then again falling back. About an hour since she moved over in the direction of Hampton and fired a shot toward the gunboat Octorora, lying in the bend near Hampton, and full four miles distant. The shot fell at least a mile short; the Octorora immediately replied, but her shots also fell short, though well in line; the Naugatuck then took part, and discharged her rifled gun, making a splendid shot, but the ball fell beyond the Merrimac full half a mile. The Naugatuck then fired at the rebel gunboats Yorktown and Jamestown, which were lying beyond the Merrimac; the practice was excellent and her guns showed extraordinary length of range. Turning her attention from the Merrimac, her shots were all directed at the rebel gunboats, and of four which were fired all appeared to strike near the object aimed at.

The rebel vessels fell slowly back, and firing soon ceased. The practice and prowess of the Naugatuck's rifled gun excited great admiration, and if brought into play this morning would probably have prevented the rebels from capturing any prizes. As I close, at five P. M., the firing has ceased, and the Merrimac appeared to be returning to Craney Island. We look for warm work to-morrow.

Half--past 5 o'clock.--All the rebel fleet are moving off toward Norfolk.

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