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[23]

3. On May 8th the Merrimac drove the Monitor, Naugatuck, and six other United States war vessels from Sewell's Point to within one and a half miles of Fort Monroe, and seeing no disposition to engage returned to anchor. On this occasion, the Federal fleet declined the action, says Commodore Goldsborough, United States Navy, ‘because the Merrimac did not place herself in deep water, nor in a position of advantage,’ to be attacked by the Monitor, Naugatuck, Minnesota, Illinois, San Jacinto, and to be run down by the Baltimore, Arajo, Vanderbilt, and all other vessels that might be on hand to coach the Monitor. The Merrimac drew twenty-three feet of water, and with the exception of the Minnesota, there was no vessel in the Federal fleet that drew as much as fifteen feet. Moreover, they claimed the superiority of the Monitor over the Merrimac—a tact we admitted then, and admit now. Comment is unnecessary. Like Jack Bunsby, let us say: ‘The bearings of this observation lays in the application on it,’ and dismiss the subject with the ‘observation’ of the Marquis of Montrose

He either fears his fate too much,
     Or his deserts are small
That dares not put it to the touch,
     To gain or lose it all.


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