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 iron-clads. 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. 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, was Commodore John Rodgers 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.From the above mentioned facts we think it clearly appears (1) that the Monitor, after her engagement with the Merrimac on the 9th of March, never again dared encounter her, though offered frequent opportunities; (2) that so much doubt existed in the minds of the Federal authorities as to her power to meet the Merrimac, that orders were given her commander not to fight her voluntarily; that the Merrimac, so far from being seriously injured in her engagement, efficiently protected the approaches to Norfolk and Richmond until Norfolk was evacuated; that the Merrimac could not have gotten to Washington or Baltimore in her normal condition; that she could not have gone to sea at all; that although she could have run by the Federal fleet and Old Point (barring torpedoes in the channel) and threatened McClellan's base at Yorktown, in exceptionally good weather, yet would have had to leave the James River open. It may be proper to recur again to the testimony of Captain Byers, and to say that it is only necessary to read his statement to come to the conclusion that it cannot be relied on, and that his important statements are not sustained by the weight of all the other testimony, and that he held no position or advantage by which he could have possibly obtained much of the information which he gives. As his testimony, however, has been relied upon to sustain the claim of the petitioners, it is, perhaps, proper to give it some further notice. There is no evidence that he had any position, either officially or otherwise, to entitle him to the confidence of the officers of the Merrimac so as to induce them to show him over their ship at such a
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