Going it alone.
The Virginia on this last occasion was not accompanied by the small squadron that operated with her on the 8th and 9th of March, and on the 11th of April.
She was alone, and had she been as vulnerable as Chief Engineer Stimer
asserted, and as Assistant Secretary Fox
hoped, surely there was no need for two iron-clads, two sloops-of-war and two gun-boats to retire to shelter as they did.
The report of the second day's engagement, March 9th, made by Lieutenant Catesby Jones
to Captain Buchanan
, is very brief.
's report embraced the operations of both days, March 8th and 9th.
It is dated Naval Hospital, March 27th, 1862, and was forwarded to Secretary Mallory
, who turned it over to Jefferson Davis
, and was by the latter submitted to the Confederate Congress on the 10th of April, 1862.
The report of Lieutenant Jones
was as follows.
‘At daylight on the 9th we saw that the Minnesota
was still ashore, and that there was an iron battery near her. At 8 o'clock we ran down to engage them (having previously sent the killed and wounded out of the ship) firing at the Minnesota
and occasionally at the iron battery.
The pilots did not place us as near as they expected, the great length and draft of the ship rendered it exceedingly difficult to work her. We ran ashore about a mile from the frigate and were backing fifteen minutes before we got off. We continued to fire at the Minnesota
and blew up a steamer alongside of her, and we also engaged the Monitor
, sometimes at very close quarters.
We once succeeded in running into her and twice silenced her fire.
The pilots declaring that we could get no nearer the Minnesota
, and believing her to be entirely disabled, and the Monitor
having run into shoal water, which prevented our doing her any further injury we ceased firing at 12 o'clock and proceeded to Norfolk