The battle of Hampton Roads.
[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
The excitement occasioned by the great naval victory of Saturday, has nearly subsided.
So decisive a triumph and so important results, naturally caused much joyous agitation of the public mind here and perhaps in many other places.
A thrill of profound delight will, doubtless, be felt in every part of the South
on account of the very satisfactory achievements of the Confederate
were, no doubt, taken by surprise; the officers and men on board the Federal
frigates were almost bewildered with astonishment, and the terror occasioned by the death-dealing balls of the Virginia
was in tense.
The whole affair was so sudden and violent that the consternation was beyond description.
As the Virginia
neared the blockading frigates, it is said by prisoners who were on board, that the strange looking war steamer called forth many derisive remarks.
They looked upon her with contempt, not dreaming that she could withstand the broadsides of the big Yankee frigates.
The shots from her rifled guns, crashing through the timbers, and the storming jar and smash from her prow, sending the Cumberland
quickly to the bottom, roused all hands up to a vivid and terrible evidence of the tremendous power of the great chattering ram which they had derided and laughed at.
The bodies of the men plain and drowned in the battle will probably float ashore in a day or two.
Occasionally a mattress floats ashore.
One has been found apparently much stained with blood.
Two suits of sailors clothes have also floated ashore at Sowell's Point
In the pockets were found letters written by the friends of those who had worn the clothes.
Other articles have gone ashore from the Cumberland
, whose master and spires now mark the location of the fierce engagement.
I regret to state that the Yankees
succeeded in getting off the Minnesota
, and towing her round to Fort Monroe
She is in a specially bad condition — her masts shivered; her hull riddled, and large timbers having been knocked from her upper and lower works.
If she should be carried North for repairs, the work of months will be required to put her in a seaworthy condition.
The villainy and treachery of the officers and men on board the Congress
, in firing upon our gunboats while approaching after she had raised the whits flag, is denounced in strong terms.
By this perfidiens conduct valuable lives were lost, and among them that of Lieut. J. L. Taylce
, of Virginia
, who died yesterday; Midshipman Hutter
, who was killed in the action.
, and Lieut. Minor
, were also shot under the white flag.
I am glad to state that they are both improving.
It is probable that not more than two hundred and fifty to three hundred Yankees of the Cumber and were killed and drowned — The statement that there were four hundred, is doubtless an over-estimate.
Those on board the Virginia
state that when she fired at the iron battery Erricson her tower revolved with great rapidity, and that when the ball struck, the sound was like the ringing of an immense gong.
has a revolving circular tower, in which there are two powerful guns worked by an engine.
The machinery, gun tables, and all the apparatus for working them, are said to be remarkable and complete.
The guns being elevated, the balls probably struck the iron roof of the Virginia
at nearly right angles, but the powerful timbers of our great marine battery resisted the well directed and powerful blows of her antagonist.
It is reported that, in addition to the consternation and terror on board the Congress
, there was mutiny among the crew, and that the scenes of violence, slaughter, blood, and death, are unparalleled in the history of naval warfare.