The late Naval engagement between the sea Bird and nine Yankee gun-boats.
--Com. Lynch's Official Report.
--The following is an extract from the report of Capt. Lynch
to the Navy Department, of the recent naval engagement near Newport News:
The water being too low in the Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal
for this vessel (the Sea Bird
) to proceed to Roanoke Island
, we last evening steamed down and anchored in the height of Craney Island
This morning, a little before daylight, we weighted anchor and stood across to Newport News.
About 7.30 A. M. an enemy's steamer passed out of James river
, with a schooner in tow, and steered for Fortress Monroe
We immediately gave chase, when she cut the schooner adrift, and carried a heavy head of steam, in order to get under the cover of numerous men of war lying off the Fortress.
We were last closing in with her, however, when the explosion of our second shell set her on fire.
Believing her destruction was certain, knowing that her crew could be rescued by boats from the vessels not far distant from her, and it being unusual for this vessel to approach her, we steered for and took the abandoned schooner in tow. In the mean time one large steamer from Newport News, and ten others from Hampton Roads
and the Fortress, were making their way towards us, when an exciting scene took place; we endeavoring to carry the prize into port, and they making every effort to intercept and, by constant firing, disable us. Many shells from the ships and the Fortress exploded quite near us, and four or five passed immediately over the deck.
We succeeded in fighting our way through, with the prize in tow, without the slightest injury to either, and gratefully attribute our escape to something more than chance or human agency.
We know that a large steamer was struck once and a smaller one twice, by our shot; the former was reported to be seriously injured.
The prize is a large schooner, her hold coated with zinc and filled with water for Fortress Monroe