previous next

[169] on shore when the tugs went to the Congress to receive her surrender, or from the perfidious fire from the Congress while her white flags were flying. None were killed or wounded in the fight with the Monitor.

As this was the first combat between two ironclad vessels, it attracted great attention and provoked much speculation. Some assumed that wooden ships were henceforth to be of no use, and much has been done by the addition of armor to protect sea-going vessels; but certainly neither of the two which provoked the speculation could be regarded as seaworthy, or suited to other than harbor defense.

A new prow was put on the Virginia, she was furnished with bolts and solid shot, and the slight repairs needed were promptly made. The distinguished veteran, Commodore Josiah Tatnall, was assigned to the command of the Virginia, vice Admiral Buchanan, who was temporarily disabled. The Virginia, as far as possible, was prepared for battle and cruise in the Roads, and, on April 11th, Commodore Tatnall moved down to invite the Monitor to combat. But her officers kept the Monitor close to the shore, with her steam up, and under the guns of Fortress Monroe. To provoke her to come out, the little Jamestown was sent in and pluckily captured many prizes, but the Monitor lay safe in the shoal water under the guns of the formidable fortress. An English man-of-war which was lying in the channel witnessed this effort to draw the Monitor out into deep water in defense of her weaker countrymen, and, as Barney on the Jamestown passed with his prizes, cut out in full view of the enemy's fleet, the Englishmen, with their national admiration of genuine ‘game,’ as a spectator described it, ‘unable to restrain their generous impulses, from the captain to the side-boy, cheered our gunboat to the very echo.’ I quote further from the same witness: ‘Early in May, a magnificent Federal fleet, the Virginia being concealed behind the land, had ventured across the channel, and some of them, expressly fitted to destroy our ship, were furiously bombarding our batteries at Sewell's Point. Dashing down comes old Tatnall on the instant, as light stepping and blithe as a boy. . . . But the Virginia no sooner draws into range than the whole fleet, like a flushed covey of birds, flutters off into shoal water and under the guns of the forts’—where they remained. After some delay, and there being no prospect of active service, the commodore ordered the executive officer to fire a gun to windward and take the ship back to her buoy. Here, ready for service, waiting for an enemy to engage her, but never having the opportunity, she remained until the tenth of the ensuing month.

The Norfolk Navy Yard, notwithstanding the injury done to it by

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jamestown (Virginia) (Virginia, United States) (2)
Sewell's Point (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Josiah Tatnall (3)
Franklin Buchanan (1)
John N. Barney (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May (1)
April 11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: