previous next
[166] she had against the Cumberland for two reasons: there would be no sense in ramming a beached vessel, and even if she had been lying in the deep channel, no such tactics could be employed, owing to the condition of the Merrimac's twisted and leaking bow. The Congress had been assisted to the place where she ran ashore, between the Middle Ground and Newport News Point, by the tug-gunboat Zouave, under Acting Master Henry Reaney, who had passed a line to her, and thus she was dragged to the protection of the Federal batteries.

The decks of the Congress were soon littered with the wounded and running with blood; she was afire in the main hold, in the sick-bay, and under the wardroom near the after magazine. No vessel could come to her assistance; the shore batteries under the circumstances offered her little or no protection, and about four o'clock in the afternoon the colors were hauled down. Midshipman Mallory, son of the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, turning to Lieutenant Parker, on the Beaufort, pointed to the descending flag, at the same time exclaiming, “I'll swear we fired the last gun.” It was true. The little gunboat that had rendered such good account of herself under the same officers in the early actions in North Carolina waters, had fired the first and the last shot of the day.

A strange condition of affairs now followed, and they gave rise to subsequent bitter controversy. Suffice it that when the Beaufort and one or two of the other Confederate gunboats, under orders from the flagship to take off the officers and wounded as prisoners and let the crew escape ashore, came alongside the stranded vessel, they were fired upon with both musketry and artillery at close range from the shore. The Beaufort was driven off, and the Merrimac again opened on the Congress, although a white flag had been hoisted to show that she was out of action. Many of the Federal wounded were hit a second time; some were killed; the casualties among the Confederate gunboats, and even on the Merrimac, were considerably increased. Lieutenant Pendergrast and Commander

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Merrimac (3)
Henry Reaney (1)
Austin Pendergrast (1)
William H. Parker (1)
Stephen Russell Mallory (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: