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[94] effect. The guns of the Congress were almost entirely disabled, and her gallant commanding officer, Lieutenant Joseph B. Smith, had fallen at his post. Her decks were strewn with the dead and the dying, the ship was on fire in several places, and not a gun could be brought to bear upon the assailants.

In this state of things, and with no effectual relief at hand, the senior surviving officer, Lieutenant Pendergrast, felt it his duty to save further useless destruction of life by hauling down his colors. This was done about 4 o'clock P. M. The Congress continued to burn until about eight in the evening, then blew up.

From the Congress the Merrimac turned her attention to the remaining vessels of the squadron. The Roanoke had grounded on her way to the scene of the conflict; and although she succeeded in getting off, her condition was such, her propeller being useless, that she took no part in the action. The St. Lawrence also grounded near the Minnesota, and had a short engagement with the Merrimac, but suffered no serious injury, and on getting afloat, was ordered back to Fortress Monroe.

The Minnesota, which had also got grounded in the shallow waters of the channel, became the special object of attack, and the Merrimac, with the Yorktown and Jamestown, bore down upon her. The Merrimac drew too much water to approach very near; her fire was not, therefore, particularly effective. The other steamers selected their position, fired with much accuracy, and caused considerable damage to the Minnesota. She soon, however, succeeded in getting a gun to bear on the two smaller steamers, and drove them away, one apparently in a crippled condition. About 7 P. M. the Merrimac also hauled off, and the three stood towards Norfolk.

All efforts to get the Minnesota afloat during the night and into a safe position were totally unavailing. The morning was looked for with deep anxiety, as it would, in all probability, bring a renewed attack from the formidable assailant.

At this critical and anxious moment the Monitor, one of the newly-finished armored vessels, came into Hampton Roads from New York, under the command of Lieutenant John L Worden, and a little after midnight anchored alongside the Minnesota. At 6 o'clock the next morning the Merrimac, as anticipated, again made appearance and opened her fire upon the Minnesota. Promptly obeying the signal to attack, the Monitor ran down past the Minnesota and laid herself close alongside the Merrimac, between that formidable vessel and the Minnesota. The fierce conflict between these two iron-clads lasted for several hours. It was, in appearance, an unequal conflict, for the Merrimac was a large and noble structure, and the Monitor was, in comparison, almost diminutive. But the Monitor was strong in her armor, in the ingenious novelty of her construction, in the large caliber of her two guns, and the valor and skill with which she was handled. After several hours fighting the Merrimac found herself overmatched, and, leaving the Monitor, sought to renew the attack on the Minnesota; but the Monitor again placed herself between the two vessels, and reopened her fire upon her adversary. At noon,

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