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The “Monongahela” --a fearless wooden ship To this “heart of oak” belongs the distinction of being the first vessel to ram the huge Confederate ironclad “Tennessee.” After Farragut, crying, “Damn the torpedoes!” had astounded both the Confederates and his own fleet by running the “Hartford” right through the line of submarine volcanoes, the “Tennessee” moved down with the intention of ramming the wooden ships in turn. She missed the “Hartford” and then the “Richmond,” which escaped across the line of torpedoes like the flagship. In attempting to ram the “Lackawanna,” the Confederate ironclad swung abeam of the channel, exposing her side full and fair to the “Monongahela,” which had been fitted with an artificial iron prow. Commander Strong endeavored to seize the opportunity to ram; but, owing to the fact that the “Kennebec” was lashed to her side, the “Monongahela” could not attain full speed, and only a glancing blow was struck. Later, when the “Tennessee” came up single-handed to attack the fleet above the forts, Farragut ordered the wooden vessels to try the effect of ramming the ironclad. Again the “Monongahela” was the first to advance to the attack and succeeded in striking the “Tennessee” fair amidships. So violent was the shock that many of the men on both vessels were knocked down. The blow, which would have sunk any vessel in the Federal fleet, did no more harm to the “Tennessee” than it did to the “Monongahela.” Her iron prow was wrenched off and the butt-ends of her bow planks were shattered, while only a small leak was started in the “Tennessee.”

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