|The first fighters of the turret — their touching letter In this picture of the “Monitor's” crew taken in July, 1862, are seen the faces of old sailors from the famous old sailing frigate “Sabine,” mingled with those of young recruits from the receiving ship “North Carolina.” As volunteers these brave fellows had manned the new fighting machine that was to revolutionize the Federal navy. They had weathered the perilous voyage from New York to Hampton Roads in constant danger of foundering. With no rest from the anxiety and exhaustion of that voyage, they had fought the greatest naval battle of modern times under conditions that might well make the stoutest heart quail. Here in a brief respite they have escaped from their murky quarters below deck and are playing checkers and idling about in the sunshine. There were to be but few more glimpses of the sun for some of them, for on December 31st the “Monitor” met the fate which had threatened her on her first voyage, and she became an “iron coffin” in fact as well as in name. Sixteen of her company of sixty-five went down with her off Hatteras. After the famous battle the “Monitor's” crew, still waiting for another opportunity to engage the “Merrimac,” had sent the touching letter to Lieutenant Worden of which the following is a portion: “To our Dear and honered Captain:--Dear Sir: These few lines is from your own Crew of the ‘Monitor,’ Hoping to God that they will have the pleasure of Welcoming you Back to us again Soon, for we are all Ready, able, and willing to meet Death or any thing else, only give us Back our own Captain again. Dear Captain we have got your Pilot-house fixed and all Ready for you when you get well again. . . . But we all join in with our Kindest Love to you hoping that God will Restore you to us again and hoping that your Sufferings is at an end now and we are all so glad to hear that your eye Sight will be Spaired to you again. . . We Remain untill death, your Affectionate Crew, the ‘Monitor’ Boys.” Halting words from brave hearts!|
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