Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XX. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1892.

The Ram Merrimac. Detailed accurate history of her plan and construction. The great day in naval history.

A Graphic account of the Battle—Sinking of the Cumberland and thrilling story of the Congress.

[The Richmond Dispatch, February 21 and 28, 1892.]

The thirtieth anniversary of the engagements of the Merrimac in Hampton Roads is near at hand. Those of us who were lads at that time are nearing the fifties—have passed into ‘the sere and yellow leaf’k—and a few more years will have gathered the last survivors to the silence of the ages. Having your encouragement, and having been an eye-witness and participator as an officer of the Confederate States Navy in these eventful actions, I shall attempt, briefly, to place before your readers such facts as came within my observation, which to-day seem as fresh and as vivid as they did thirty years ago. May I ‘nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice?’

During the night of April 20, 1862, the United States forces, with a haste that is inexplicable, and a panic that cannot be excused, abandoned the Norfolk navy-yard after a partial destruction of the ships, stores and cannon at that depot. It is estimated that the Confederate Government by this blunder came into possession of over $4,000,000 of property, priceless to it in value, and obtainable from no other place within its limits. The cannon and material of war here found, subsequently did good service in the coast and inland defences of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

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