previous next

[36] and went up off Newport's News, evidently to witness the serious engagement, which we, at least, expected. Their crews repeatedly waved their hats and handkerchiefs to our vessels as we passed and repassed them during the day.

The Merrimac, with her consorts, held possession of the Roads, and defied the enemy to battle during the entire day, and for several days after—the Federal fleet lying in the same position below Old Point. Towards sunset of the first day the Merrimac fired a single gun at the enemy; it was immediately replied to by the Naugatuck, lying, I think, inside Hampton Bar.

I do not know what Commodore Tattnall thought about attacking the Federal fleet as it stood, nor do I know what his instructions were, but I do know that our officers generally believed that torpedoes had been placed in the channel between Old Point and the Rip-Raps; indeed, we supposed that to be the reason why Flag-officer Goldsborough declined to fight us in the Roads; moreover, fighting the entire fleet, Monitor, Naugatuck, Vanderbilt, and all in the Roads, was one thing, and fighting the same under the guns of Old Point and the Rip-Raps, was another.

II. The Merrimac remained for some days in this position, offering battle, and protecting the approaches to Norfolk and Richmond, and then went up to the Navy Yard to water. I think it was on the 8th day of May that Flag-officer Goldsborough took advantage of her absence to bombard Sewell's Point with a number of his vessels—the Monitor, Galena, and Naugatuck included—all three ironclads. When the fact was known in Norfolk, the Merrimac cast off from her moorings and steamed down to take a hand in the fight. As soon as her smoke was seen the entire fleet fled, and again took refuge below the guns of Old Point, where the Merrimac declined to pursue, for reasons satisfactory to her gallant commander.

III. From this time, until the 10th of May, the Merrimac maintained the same attitude. On that day she was blown up by her commander in consequence of the evacuation of Norfolk by the Confederates. Then, and not till then, Commodore John Rodgers was sent up the James river with the Galena, Monitor, and Naugatuck, all iron-clads, to attack Drewry's Bluff or Fort Darling, and make an attempt on Richmond.

IV. The above facts go to show what Flag-officer Goldsborough thought of the Merrimac, and in citing them, I wish it to be understood that I intend to cast no imputations upon him and his gallant officers. I have been told by some of them that he had positive



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.
Old Point (North Carolina, United States) (8)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (6)
Sewell's Point (Virginia, United States) (2)
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (2)
Drewry's Bluff (Virginia, United States) (2)

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.
Goldsborough (6)
Vanderbilt (2)
Tattnall (2)
John Rodgers (2)
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 10th (2)
May 8th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: