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[71] Ericsson. We were therefore not surprised in the morning to see the Monitor at anchor near the Minnesota. The latter ship was still aground. Some delay occurred from sending our wounded out of the ship; we had but one serviceable boat left. Admiral Buchanan was landed at Sewell Point.

At eight A. M. we got under way, as did the Patrick Henry, Jamestown and Teaser. We stood towards the Minnesota and opened fire on her. The pilots were to have placed us half-a-mile from her, but we were not at any time nearer than a mile. The Monitor1 commenced firing when about a third of a mile distant. We soon approached, and were often within a ship's length; once while passing we fired a broadside at her only a few yards distant. She and her turret appeared to be under perfect control. Her light draft enabled her to move about us at pleasure. She once took position for a short time where we could not bring a gun to bear on her. Another of her movements caused us great anxiety; she made for our rudder and propeller, both of which could have been easily disabled. We could only see her guns when they were discharged; immediately afterward the turret revolved rapidly, and the guns were not again seen until they were again fired. We wondered how proper aim could be taken in the very short time the guns were in sight. The Virginia, however, was a large target, and generally so near that the Monitor's shot did not often miss. It did not appear to us that our shell had any effect upon the Monitor. We had no solid shot. Musketry was fired at the look-out holes. In spite of all the care of our pilots we ran ashore, where we remained over fifteen minutes. The Patrick Henry and Jamestown, with great risk to themselves, started to our assistance. The Monitor and Minnesota were in full play on us. A small rifle-gun on board the Minnesota, or on the steamer alongside of her, was fired with remarkable precision.

When we saw that our fire made no impression on the Monitor, we determined to run into her if possible. We found it a very difficult feat to do. Our great length and draft, in a comparatively narrow channel, with but little water to spare, made us sluggish in our movements, and hard to steer and turn. When the opportunity presented all steam was put on; there was not, however, sufficient time to gather full headway before striking. The blow was given with the broad


1 She was 173 feet long and 41 feet wide. She had a revolving circular iron turret eight inches thick, nine feet high and twenty feet inside diameter, in which were two eleven-inch guns. Her draft was ten feet.

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