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[227] and human bodies were cut in twain, or mangled in the most horrible manner. Arms, legs and heads were scattered in every direction, while here and there in the agonies of death might be found poor wretches, with their breasts torn completely out.

The Congress was fast aground, and could only bring two of her guns to bear on the Virginia. In a few moments her colours were hauled down, and a white flag hoisted at the gaff and half-mast, and another at the main. The little gunboat Beaufort was run alongside, with instructions from Capt. Buchanan to take possession of the Congress, secure the officers as prisoners, allow the crew to land, and burn the ship. The Congress was within rifle-shot from the shore, and as the Beaufort came alongside the prize, the enemy on the shore, having brought a Parrott gun down to the beach, opened upon the Confederate vessel a perfidious fire. The frigate had two white flags flying at the time. Lieut. Minor was severely wounded, and several of the crew of the Beaufort. But there were other additions to this treachery, for when the Beaufort had first come alongside of the Congress, Lieut. Parker, commanding the gunboat, had received the flag of the ship, and her surrender from Lieut. Prendergast, with the side-arms of the other officers. After having delivered themselves as prisoners of war on board the Beaufort, the officers were allowed, at their own request, to return to the Congress to assist in removing the wounded. They never returned, though they had pledged their honour to do so, and in witness of that pledge had left their swords with Lieut. Alexander, on board the Beaufort.

In the fire from the shore, Capt. Buchanan had received a severe wound in the thigh. He ordered the Congress to be destroyed by hotshot and incendiary shell, her officers and crew having treacherously escaped to the shore; and finding himself disabled by his wound, transferred the command of the Virginia to Lieut. Catesby Jones, with orders to fight her as long as the men could stand to their guns. But there were now only two hours of daylight left. The Virginia bore down upon the stranded Minnesota. The Roanoke, after grounding, had gone down the Roads. The St. Lawrence, in tow of a steamer, had approached the Minnesota. She too grounded, and after receiving a single shell, and returning a harmless broadside, was dragged off, and steered down towards Fortress Monroe. The shoalness of the channel prevented the near approach of the Virginia to her third antagonist; but she continued to fire upon the Minnesota, until the pilots declared that it was no longer safe to remain in that position.

At 7 P. M., the Virginia hauled off, and returned to Norfolk, reserving for another day the completion of her work. She had already in a single half-day achieved one of the most remarkable triumphs ever made on the water. She had destroyed two powerful vessels, carrying three times her

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