This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 exposing her to the projectiles which would have been hurled against her, had she ventured outside of Cape Henry, she would have inevitably foundered. On the other point, all of the evidence leads us clearly to the opinion that the Monitor, after her engagement with the Merrimac on the 9th of March, declined again to engage her, though offered the opportunity, and that so great doubt existed with the United States naval and military authorities as to the power of the Monitor to successfully meet the Merrimac, that orders were given to her commander by the President not to bring on an engagement. It also appears that the Merrimac, so far from being seriously injured, was enabled after the engagement to protect the approaches to Norfolk and Richmond until after the evacuation of Norfolk. If, then, it be proven that the destruction of the Merrimac was not the result of injuries inflicted by the Monitor, which we assume to be true, what claim have the memoralists for compensation? It is not pretended that they are entitled to compensation in the nature of prize money. The act of June 30, 1864, sec. 10 (vol. 13, page 309), provides for the payment of bounty money to the officers and crew of United States naval vessels, who sink or otherwise destroy vessels of the enemy in engagements, or which it may be necessary (for the captors) to destroy in consequence of injuries received in action; but the case presented does not, in our opinion, come within the meaning of the statute. In the report made to the Forty-seventh Congress it is stated that inquiry discloses the existence of numerous precedents for the payment of such claims as the one before the committee. It gives a number of cases, which we have examined carefully, and we find that in every case, without a single exception, where bounty or prize-money has been voted by Congress, the vessel has been either captured and properly and legally adjudicated in a court of admiralty, or it was destroyed by the officers and crew claiming the bounty. We have given our careful attention to a pamphlet submitted to the committee, entitled ‘The Monitor and the Merrimac (Senate bill 369, and House bill 3840). A statement of the reasons for making a grant in the nature of prize-money to the officers and crew of the United States iron-clad steamer Monitor, for damages to the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac, March 9, 1862, and her subsequent destruction.’ A careful reading of this pamphlet has failed to disclose any
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.