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[318] the Virginia, the Federals made no attempt to molest her, but, on the contrary, as she approached them they steamed away from her. They left off firing at Sewell's Point immediately on sighting her coming from Norfolk.

The Virginia having driven the Federal fleet away, returned and anchored under Sewell's Point, where she now remains.

The information conveyed by the captain of the tug J. B. Wite, relative to the evacuation of Norfolk, enabled General Wool to hasten it by landing a force on the Bay Shore, about ten miles distant from the city. This occurred on Saturday, the 10th of May, two days after the bombardment of Sewell's Point. The Virginia was then lying in the river near Craney Island, and Commodore Tatnall, in his report of the Virginia's destruction, made in Richmond on the 14th of May, states that he did not learn of the withdrawal of the troops and the destruction of the navy-yard until 7 o'clock in the evening (May 10th). He then recites how he lightened the Virginia for the purpose of taking her up the James River, and after she had been so lightened until she was vulnerable, he was informed by his lieutenant that the pilots reported that the vessel could not reach the desired point up the river on account of a west wind, which had prevailed for several days. He then determined to destroy her, which he did by causing her to be set on fire. His reports says: ‘The ship was accordingly put on shore as near the mainland in the vicinity of Craney Island as possible, and the crew landed. She was then fired, and after burning fiercely for upwards of an hour, blew up a little before 5 o'clock on the morning of the 11th.’ This report can be found on pages 335-6-7. Thus ended the career of the Virginia, which had lasted but two months. Never at any time, until the last visit to Hampton Roads, may 8th, was she capable of doing what was first expected of her—that of passing Fort Monroe and the Rip-Raps—and when she reached her perfect condition the changes of her surroundings were such that she had no base of supplies and was confined to Hampton Roads.

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