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[653] of his people off. In order to avoid a fatal collision between the two vessels, the tow-cable had to be cut, and before the launches returned for a second load the fires of the Monitor were extinguished. The vessel, utterly uncontrollable, was tossed about by the waves, and the launches were unable to approach the submerged hull, over which the sea was breaking as upon a rock. Bankhead bethought himself of casting anchor. This manoeuvre succeeded in putting the bow of the ship to windward, thus facilitating the work of saving the crew. There were only thirty men left on board. The commander, crossing the deck with them, while the waves were sweeping over its entire length, reached the launches of the Rhode Island, but some of his companions were carried off by the sea and drowned; some, being afraid to leave the turret, also perished. Twelve men and four officers were missing at the roll-call, when at midnight the sailors of the Monitor who had taken refuge on board the Rhode Island, beheld the red light suspended over the turret of their gallant little craft sink into the waters.

The two actors of the famous drama of Hampton Roads had disappeared before the close of the year; the Virginia had been set on fire by her own crew; the Monitor was the victim of those who sought to convert her into a sea-going vessel.


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