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[306] his squadron over the vastly superior forces of the enemy, in Hampton Roads, on the 8th and 9th of March last — a brief report by Lieutenant Jones of the battle of the 8th having been previously made.

The conduct of the officers and men of the squadron in this contest reflects unfading honor upon themselves and upon the navy. The report will be read with deep interest, and its details will not fail to rouse the ardor and nerve the arms of our gallant seamen.

It will be remembered that the Virginia was a novelty in naval architecture, wholly unlike any ship that ever floated; that her heaviest guns were equal novelties in ordnance; that her motive power and her obedience to her helm were untried, and her officers and crew strangers, comparatively, to the ship and to each other: and yet, under all these disadvantages, the dashing courage and consummate professional ability of Flag-Officer Buchanan and his associates achieved the most remarkable victory which naval annals record.

When the Flag-Officer was disabled, the command of the Virginia devolved upon her Executive and Ordnance Officer, Lieutenant Catesby Ap. R. Jones, and the cool and masterly manner in which he fought the ship in her encounter with the ironclad Monitor, justified the high estimate which the country places upon his professional merit.

To his experience, skill and untiring industry as her Ordnance and Executive Officer, the terrible effect of her fire was greatly due. Her battery was determined in accordance with his suggestions, and in all investigations and tests which resulted in its thorough efficiency, he was zealously engaged.

The terms of commendation used by the Flag-Officer in characterizing the conduct of his officers and men, meet the cordial endorsement of the Department; and the concurrent testimony of thousands who witnessed the engagement places his own conduct above all praise.

With much respect, your obedient servant,

S. R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy.

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