previous next

[80] the Monitor, and all the exciting events which preceded and followed. These important letters are fully given in the Memoir of Chaplain Fuller, by his brother; but only the most exciting passage of the narrative can be here inserted. The date is March 15, 1862:—

The morrow came, and with it came the inevitable battle between those strange combatants, the Merrimack and the Monitor. What a lovely Sabbath it was! how peaceful and balmy that Southern spring morning! Smiling Nature whispered only “peace,” but fierce treason breathed out threatenings and slaughter, and would have war. . . . . At nine o'clock, A. M., the Merrimack, attended by her consorts, the war-steamers Jamestown and Yorktown, and a fleet of little tug-boats, crowded with ladies and gentlemen from Norfolk, who were desirous of seeing the Minnesota captured, and perhaps even Fortress Monroe taken,—certainly all its outlying vessels and the houses in its environs burnt.

The little Monitor lay concealed in the shadow of the Minnesota. The Merrimack opens the conflict, and her guns shake the sea and air as they breathe out shot and flame. Sewall's Point sends from its mortars shell which burst in the air above the doomed Minnesota. The Minnesota, still aground, replies with a bold but ineffectual broadside. All promises an easy victory to the Merrimack, when lo! the little Monitor steams gently out and offers the monster Merrimack battle. How puny, how contemptible she seemed! nothing but that little round tub appearing above the water, and yet flinging down the gage of defiance to the gigantic Merrimack. It was little David challenging the giant Goliath once again,—the little one, the hope of Israel; the giant, the pride of the heathen Philistines. Truly our hopes were dim, and our hearts almost faint for the moment. The few men on the Monitor are sea and storm worn, and weary enough, and their little craft is an experiment, with only two guns with which to answer the Merrimack's many. Who can doubt the issue? who believe the Monitor can fail to be defeated? And if she is, what is to hinder the victorious and unopposed and unopposable Merrimack from opening the blockade of the coast, or shelling Washington, New York, and Boston, after first devastating our camp and destroying its soldiery? That was the issue; such might have been the result, smile now who will. Believe me, there were prayers offered—many and fervent—that Sabbath, along the shore and from the Fortress

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.
Sewell's Point (Virginia, United States) (1)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)

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.
Arthur Fuller (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.
March 15th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: