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General McClellan, in a dispatch from Fairfax Courthouse, dated March 12, 1862, to Captain G. V. Fox, Fort Monroe, says:

Can I rely on the Monitor to keep the Merrimac in check, so that I can make Fort Monroe a base of operations? Answer at once.

To which Captain Fox, in a dispatch dated March 13, replied:

The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac, but she might be disabled in the next encounter. I cannot advise so great dependence on her. Burnside and Goldsborough are very strong for the Chowan River route to Norfolk, and I brought maps, explanations, &c., to show you. It turns everything, and is only twenty-seven miles to Norfolk by two good roads. Burnside will leave New Berne this week. The Monitor may, and I think will, destroy the Merrimac in the next fight, but this is hope, not certainty. The Merrimac must dock for repairs.

We here give a dispatch from J. G. Barnard, Chief Engineer, to G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, dated Fairfax Courthouse, March 12, 1862, which says:

The possibility of the Merrimac appearing again paralyzes the movements of this army by whatever route is adopted. How long a time would it require to complete the vessel built at Mystic River, working night and day? How much time would Stevens require to finish his vessel, so far as to enable her to contend with the Merrimac?

General M. C. Meigs, in dispatch to Captain Dahlgren, dated War Department, March 13, 1862, says:

I would not trust this city and the fleet you see coming into the river to the strength of a single screw-bolt in the Monitor's new machinery. If one breaks the Merrimac beats her.

On March 14, 12 M., General Meigs telegraphed to Captain Dahlgren:

I have seen nothing yet to satisfy me that in the next engagement the Monitor will not be sunk.

On March 14, General Wool telegraphed to Hon. E. M. Stanton from Fort Monroe:

I beg you will send me more troops. The Merrimac is preparing, and they are strengthening her weak points. It is thought she will

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