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[104]

We also give extract from a telegraphic dispatch sent by G. V. Fox to Hon. Gideon Welles:

Fortress Monroe, March 9, 1862.6.45 p. m.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
The Monitor arrived at 10 p. m. last night, and went immediately to the protection of the Minnesota, lying aground just below Newport News. At 7 a. m. to-day the Merrimac, accompanied by two wooden steamers and several tugs, stood out towards the Minnesota, and opened fire. The Monitor met them at once and opened her fire, when all the enemy's vessels retired excepting the Merrimac. These two iron-clads fought, part of the time touching each other, from 8 a. m. to noon, when the Merrimac retired. Whether she is injured or not it is impossible to say.


The next day the Secretary of the Navy telegraphed as follows:

Navy Department, ,March 10, 1862.
Captain G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Fortress Monroe.
It is directed by the President that the Monitor be not too much exposed, and that in no event shall any attempt be made to proceed with her unattended to Norfolk. I vessels can be procured and loaded with stone and sunk in the channel it is important that it should be done. The San Jacinto and Dakota have sailed from Boston to Hampton Roads, and the Sabine in tow of the Baltic and a tug from New York. Gunboats will be ordered forthwith. Would it not be well to detain the Minnesota until the other vessels arrive?


The memorialists claim that the Monitor so disabled the Merrimac as to make her destruction necessary, and, further, that she prevented the Merrimac from going below Old Point, thus saving Baltimore and Washington from capture, and even New York city from menace. The testimony which has been set out at length does not, in the opinion of the committee, sustain either of these opinions, but quite the contrary. It is only necessary to refer to the full description of the Merrimac to show that, without greatly lightening her, which could not have been done without impairing her power to fight, and

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