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[123] wharf, followed slowly by the Vanderbilt, when both stopped. After lying in this position, the Minnesota turned around and steamed back, and the Vanderbilt, without turning, backed water slowly down the river. Whilst all this manoeuvring was going on, the firing had entirely ceased from all points.

3.40 o'clock.--The Merrimac now turns around and steams back towards Norfolk, with the rebel flag flying from her stern. The Baltimore steamer Georgiana has lain out in the stream with steam up all the afternoon, ready to escape from danger at the earliest practicable moment. The Minnesota and Vanderbilt have gone back to their anchorage ground. The Dacotah wheels around, and again proceeds up towards the Merrimac, and the Monitor also stands off towards the mouth of the Elizabeth River. The Dacotah is now within easy range of Sewell's Point, the batteries of which do not open on her. She and the Monitor have both stopped, and the Merrimac is lying stationary, about a mile in advance of the Craney Island battery.

The Vanderbilt and the Arago have also steamed up in front of the wharf, and have again backed. The Merrimac has run back under the guns of Craney Island, and the Monitor is steaming off towards her at full speed. The Minnesota is also coming up again at full speed, the effort being to draw the rebel out again.

5.45 o'clock.--For the past hour, the fleet has been moving back and forward, but the Merrimac still lies under the guns of Craney Island. The Monitor is lying about a mile and a half from the Merrimac, and the Dacotah, Susquehanna and Seminole are still in her rear. The Naugatuck is also running up towards the Monitor. The Minnesota, Arago and Vanderbilt have gone back to their anchorage, and there is no prospect of any fight to-night.

5 o'clock.--The war-vessels, including the Monitor, have all returned to their anchorage. The Merrimac, in the mean time, is moving slowly behind Sewell's Point.

The President has witnessed the whole action from a tug-boat lying about a mile in the rear of the fleet. He has just returned, and as he passed up the wharf was vociferously cheered by the troops.

5.15 o'clock.--Our fleet having retired, the Merrimac is again steaming out. The Monitor, Dacotah and Naugatuck are, however, lying in position off Sewell's Point.

I just learn from an officer of the Seminole that the flag-staff at Sewell's Point was twice shot away during the bombardment. The first time it fell it was picked up, and a rebel in a red shirt jumped on the ramparts with the stump of the staff and flag, and waved it, when a second shell struck him and cut him in two, and, it is supposed, killed a number of others who were near him.

Of the many shots fired from Sewell's Point and Craney Island, not one struck any of the vessels. One or two went over their masts, but the balance fell short. The rebels could be distinctly seen carrying off their dead and wounded, the shells at times raining in among them with such fury that it was impossible to escape.

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