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[276] until a thirteen shell from the Monitor sent her to the right about. The Merrimac and the Monitor kept on approaching each other, the former waiting until she would choose her distance, and the latter apparently not knowing what to make of her funny-looking antagonist. The first shot from the Monitor was fired when about one hundred yards distant from the Merrimac, and this distance was subsequently reduced to fifty yards, and at no time during the furious cannonading that ensued, were the vessels more than two hundred yards apart.

It is impossible to reproduce the animated descriptions given of this grand contest between two vessels of such formidable offensive and defensive powers. The scene was in plain view from Fortress Monroe, and in the main facts all the spectators agree. At first the fight was very furious, and the guns of the Monitor were fired rapidly. As she carries but two guns, whilst the Merrimac has eight, of course she received two or three shots for every one she gave. Finding that her antagonist was much more formidable than she looked, the Merrimac attempted to run her down. The superior speed and quicker turning qualities of the Monitor enabled her to avoid these shocks, and to give the Merrimac, as she passed, a shot. Once the Merrimac struck her near midships, but only to prove that the battery could not be run down nor shot down. She spun round like a top, and as she got her bearing again, sent one of her formidable missiles into her huge opponent.

The officers of the Monitor, at this time, had gained such confidence in the impregnability of their battery, that they no longer fired at random nor hastily. The fight then assumed its most interesting aspects. The Monitor ran round the Merrimac repeatedly, probing her sides, seeking for weak points, and reserving her fire with coolness, until she had the right spot and the exact range, and made her experiments accordingly. In this way the Merrimac received three shots, which must have seriously damaged her. Neither of these shots rebounded at all, but appeared to cut their way clear through iron and wood into the ship. Soon after receiving the third shot, the Merrimac turned toward Sewell's Point, and made off at full speed.

The Monitor followed the Merrimac until she got well inside Sewall's Point, and then returned to the Minnesota. It is probable that the pursuit would have been continued still further, but Lieut. Worden, her commander, had previously had his eyes injured, and it was also felt that, as so much depended on the Monitor, it was imprudent to expose her unnecessarily. Lieut. Worden, at the time he was injured, was looking out of the eye-holes of the pilot-house, which are simply horizontal slits, about half an inch wide. A round shot from the Merrimac struck against these slits as Lieut. Worden was looking through, causing some scalings from the iron, and fragments of the paint to fly with great force against his eyes. The injury was necessarily very painful, and it was once feared that he would lose one of his eyes. Before, however, he left Old Point, it was thought this danger had been removed.

Secession Narratives. Norfolk day-book account.

At a quarter past eleven o'clock on Saturday, March eighth, the iron-clad steamer Virginia cast loose from her moorings at the navy-yard, and made her way down to Hampton Roads, toward the blockading fleet lying off Newport News. She reached their neighborhood, after some detention at the obstructions below, at two o'clock. Here she found the two first-class sailing frigates Cumberland and Congress. With a determination to pay her respects to the Cumberland first, the Virginia bore down for that vessel, and while passing the Congress she gave her a broadside by way of a salute. Her operations on the Cumberland were performed in the short space of fifteen minutes time, at the end of which the Cumberland sunk just where she had been lying.

The Virginia, on approaching her and getting within point-blank range, fired her bow — gun several times, and ran into her, striking her fairly with her ram, which made her reel to and fro, and sent her speedily to the bottom; but while going down, we understand, the after-gun of the Cumberland was discharged at the Virginia, with what injury we know not.

The object in first getting rid of the Cumberland was probably to destroy the very heavy armament which the frigate carried, it being the heaviest in the Yankee navy. The officers and crew of the Cumberland made their escape as best they could, many of them being captured by our gunboats. The wounded on board it is believed went down with the vessel.

The Virginia next turned her attention to the Congress, which vessel, it is said, gallantly resisted her inevitable fate for nearly an hour, but finally, finding the ship rapidly sinking, she hauled down her colors and made for the beach, where she was run as high aground as possible. Her officers and crew were taken off by our gunboats, and while she had her flag of truce hoisted and was being relieved of her killed and wounded by our boats, the Yankees on shore at Newport News, disregarding the flag of truce, with Minie muskets fired into her and killed several of their own men and slightly wounded in the arm Mr. John Hopkins, one of our pilots, attached to the Beaufort.

While the Virginia was engaged with the Congress with her bow-gun, she poured broadside after broadside into the shore-batteries of the enemy at Newport News. One discharge from the bow-gun of the Virginia, says one of the prisoners, capsized two of the guns of the Congress, killing sixteen of her crew and taking off the head of a Lieut. Smith, and literally tore the ship to pieces.

The enemy seemed entirely unaware of our intention to attack them, and, it is said, were so completely lulled into security that the Virginia

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