to Norfolk for supplies, a squadron, consisting of the Monitor, Naugatuck, and Galena (iron-clads), and five large men-of-war commenced to bombard our batteries at Sewell's Point. The Merrimac immediately left Norfolk for the scene of conflict. As she approached the squadron at full speed, the Vanderbilt, one of the fastest steamers then afloat, which, we understood, had been fitted with a prow especially for ramming us, joined the other ships. We regarded the attack as an invitation to come out, and we expected a most desperate encounter. Much to the disappointment of our commodore, and greatly to the relief of many others besides myself, as soon as the Merrimac came within range they seemed to conclude that Sewell's Point was not worth fighting about, and all hurried below the guns of Fortress Monroe and the Rip-Raps. The Merrimac pursued at full speed, until she came well under the fire of the latter fort, when she returned to her moorings at the mouth of the river. After the evacuation of Norfolk the Merrimac was taken above Craney Island and blown up, on the 11th of May. * * * She (the Monitor) had refused the gage of battle offered her by the Merrimac daily since the 11th of April.
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