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[19] aboard. A new prow of steel and wrought-iron was fitted to her stem. A course of two-inch iron for one hundred and eighty feet was put on her hull below the casemate. The revolution of the turret of the Monitor, which effectually closed her gun-port when the gun was being loaded, suggested the necessity of adopting some plan to protect those of the Merrimac. The attempt was made to fit them with wrought-iron shutters, but the device was not satisfactory, and but few of her ports were so protected. These changes brought the ship a foot deeper in the water, making her draught now twenty-three feet. Commodore Buchanan being still disabled by his wounds, Commodore Josiah Tatnall was placed in command. There was at no time any question in the minds of the Confederate authorities, or amongst the officers of the Merrimac, but that the enemy must again be offered battle at the earliest moment. On April 1st the Secretary of the Confederate Navy wrote Commodore Tatnall: ‘You will leave with your ship and attack the enemy when, in your judgment, it may seem best.’ On April 4th: ‘Do not hesitate or wait for orders, but strike when, how, and where your judgment may dictate.’ The Secretary of the United States Navy had, on March 10th, telegraphed: ‘The President directs that the Monitor be not too much exposed,’ in the same breath in which her victory was claimed.

The Confederate Secretary and the Confederate naval officers well knew the many defects and vulnerability of the Merrimac. So doubtful were we of success in the next engagement that upon certain information of the exterior and interior structure of the Monitor, which Secretary Mallory had obtained, we organized an expedition of the smaller gunboats in the fleet—the Beaufort, Raleigh, and two others—known as

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