The first prize of a monitor--Federal officers on deck of the captured Confederate ram “Atlanta” The honor of the first decisive engagement with one of the formidable ironclads that were constructed by the Confederacy was denied to the original “Monitor.” It fell to the monitor “Weehawken,” one of seven similar vessels designed by Ericsson for the navy. Under Captain John Rodgers, she, with her sister-vessels, ran first under fire in the attack made upon Fort Sumter and the batteries in Charleston Harbor by Rear-Admiral Du Pont in April, 1863. In June, she and the “Nahant” were blockading the mouth of Wilmington River, Georgia. Early on the morning of the 17th, Captain Rodgers was apprised that the huge Confederate ram, into which the old blockade-runner “Fingal” had been converted, was coming down to raise the blockade. Clearing for action, the “Weehawken” steamed slowly toward the northeastern end of Wassaw Sound, followed by the “Nahant.” When about a mile and a half from the “Weehawken,” the “Atlanta,” which was aground, fired a rifleshot at her. The “Weehawken,” without replying, approached to within three hundred yards of the ram and opened fire. The first shot broke through the armor and wood backing of the “Atlanta,” strewing her deck with splinters and prostrating about forty of her crew by the concussion. The second shot broke only a couple of plates, but the third knocked off the top of the pilot-house, wounding the pilots and stunning the man at the wheel. The fourth shot struck a port-stopper in the center, breaking it in two and driving the fragments through the port. Five shots in all were fired by the “Weehawken” in fifteen minutes. Then the colors of the “Atlanta” were hauled down, a white flag was hoisted, and Commander William A. Webb, C. S. N., put off in a boat to the “Weehawken,” where he delivered his sword to Captain Rodgers. The fight was over before the “Nahant” could become engaged. The “Atlanta” was not seriously damaged and was added to the Federal navy, where she did good service.
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