This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 speed. Her draught, twenty-two feet, was too great for the shoal water in the roads, and the apprehension which was excited lest she should go up to Washington might have been allayed by a knowledge of the deep water necessary to float her. Her great length, depth, and want of power caused difficulty in handling to be anticipated. In many respects she was an experiment, and, had we possessed the means to build a new vessel, no doubt a better model could have been devised. Commander Brooke, who united much science to great ingenuity, was not entirely free in the exercise of either. Our means restricted us to making the best of that which chance had given us. In the morning the Virginia, with the Patrick Henry, the Jamestown, and the three little tugs, jestingly called the ‘mosquito fleet,’ returned to the scene of the previous day's combat, and to the completion of the work, the destruction of the Minnesota, which had, the evening before, been interrupted by the change of tide and the coming of night. The Monitor, which had come in during the previous night, and had been seen by the light of the burning Congress, opened fire on the Virginia when about the third of a mile distant. The Virginia sought to close with her, but the greater speed of the Monitor and the celerity with which she was handled made this impracticable. The ships passed and repassed very near each other, and frequently the Virginia delivered her broadside at close quarters, but with no perceptible effect. The Monitor fired rapidly from her revolving turret, but not with such aim as to strike successively in the same place, and the armor of the Virginia therefore remained unbroken. Lieutenant-commanding Catesby Jones, to whom Buchanan had entrusted the ship when he was removed to the hospital, soon discovered that the Monitor was invulnerable to his shells. He had a few solid shot, which were intended only to be fired from the nine-inch guns as hot shot, and therefore had necessarily so much windage that they would be ineffective against the shield of the Monitor. He therefore determined to run her down, and got all the headway he could obtain for that purpose, but the speed was so small that it merely pushed her out of her way. It was then decided to board her, and all hands were piped for that object. Then the Monitor slipped away on to shoal water where the Virginia could not approach her, and Commander Jones, after waiting a due time, and giving the usual signals of invitation to combat, without receiving any manifestation on the part of the Monitor of an intention to return to deep water, withdrew to the navy yard. In the two days of conflict our only casualties were from the Cumberland as she went down valiantly fighting to the last, from the men
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.