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[246] rence and Roanoke slipped away to safety under the guns of Fort Monroe. But we continued to fire on the Minnesota until darkness stopped the fighting.

Let me say right here that the gallant heroes of the Cumberland should be honored in the pages of history. On the other hand, however, the crew of the Congress and the men manning the shore batteries should be termed in history cowards. They not even respected their white flag and fired on us when we were conveying wounded prisoners of war to safety.

The following day, Sunday, we began the day with two jiggers of whiskey and a hearty breakfast. Then we steamed within a mile of the Minnesota and commenced firing on her again. We blew up a steamer alongside of the frigate, and shortly afterwards we first knew of the famous fighter, the Monitor. General Sherman's remark, “War is hell,” was amply illustrated when the Virginia and the Monitor met in Hampton Roads.

After the Minnesota incident, the Monitor hove in view and at once attacked.

We could see nothing but the resemblance of a large cheese box, and when the turret revolved we could see nothing but two immense guns. On firing thus the turret revolved and the guns could not be seen until they were ready to fire again. We could hardly get aim at the Monitor's guns, as they were in sight only when being fired, and would disappear immediately thereafter. At times the vessels were hardly twenty feet away from each other. Every officer and gunner on board the Virginia was puzzled to know how to disable the curious little craft. The truth, however, was that we could do nothing with her just then. After sparring to and fro for better position and looking for deeper water (the Virginia drew twenty-three feet and the Monitor only ten), we finally made our way into deep water and the Monitor tried to run across our bow or stern. Had she succeeded in these attempts the history of the famous fight would have been differently recorded, for we would sunk and lost all hands on board. After these failures, our executive officer, Captain Catesby P. Jones, deemed it best to ram the Monitor. We made two efforts to do this, but as we had lost our steel prow the day before in sinking the Cumberland, we could not harm the Monitor.

Neither vessel succeeded in accomplishing the other's ruin. While fighting the Monitor we were under heavy fire from the beached Minnesota, although it had no effect. We could not get



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