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Another correspondent of the Dispatch, who witnessed the terrific engagement, sends a long and interesting account, a portion of which we append. After describing the successful attack upon the Cumberland and the Congress, the writer proceeds. It was now about 8 o'clock P. M., when the Confederate steamer Patrick Henry, Capt. Tucker; the Jamestown, Lieut. Barney, and the Teazer, Lieut. Webb, which had been lying near the Rocks on James river, and were attracted by the cannonading, appeared on the scene, and were ordered at once by Commodore Buchanan to open upon the Congress and the perfidiens shore batteries; and never was order more daringly executed, as these slight vassals dashed up to the enemy and literally vomited fire upon them. How they escaped destruction in this unequal conflict, it is impossible to explain, especially as at this hour the Minnesota, the heaviest steamer in the Federal navy, came up from Old Point, and opened upon our squadron, about a mile off. It soon appeared that she had grounded; but still her position and immense battery made her more than thrice a match in number and weight of metal for our whole fleet. But the Virginia took a position as near as she could approach her, and, aided by the other vessels, poured an incessant fire into her, enflaming her several times, and rendering her condition almost hopeless.--She returned our courtesies with much skill and power; and now, whilst the contest was hottest between the Minnesota, several gunboats, and the shore batteries, on their part, and the Virginia, Patrick Henry, and Jamestown, on our side, Buchanan, who had too daringly exposed his person on the elevated deck during the whole action, was wounded in the leg by a Minie ball, and was forced to go below, leaving the active command to Lieut. Catesby Jones, than whom none could be more worthy of the perilous office. Surely the Commodore must have borne a charmed life, for all this time shot of every description, from ship and shore, had passed and fallen like rain at his feet, whilst the smokestack, near which he stood, was pierced by at least two hundred balls. It was now between 5 and 6 o'clock P. M., when the Federal steamer Roanoke was seen approaching from Old Point, and following her the St. Lawrence and a large gunboat, and the hearts of the thousands who looked on from the surrounding shores of those magnificent roads trembled at the seemingly unequal war. But the Roanoke, the St. Lawrence and the gunboat, when about half way between the Rip Raps and New port News, changed their minds and their course, and returned to the guns of. Fortress Monroe--why we know not; but as they were fired upon by the great rifled battery at Sewell's Point, it may be that in spite of the distance, they may have been damaged, though it is more probable that they were appalled by the fate of the Cumberland and the Congress. As the night spread over the Roads, the Virginia, with the other vessels, passed over and anchored near Sewell's Point, leaving the Minnesota aground, and the Congress in flames — up to midnight, the guns of the latter ship were heavily discharged as the fire approached them, and at about one o'clock A. M., her magazine exploded, illuminating the whole panorama, and causing the windows to rattle through the city. Commodore Buchanan, and the brave Lt. Minor, who had been sharply wounded on board the Virginia, were landed at Sewell's Point, during Saturday night, and on Sunday morning the Virginia crossed and recommended the firing upon the Minnesota, which was still ashore and greatly shattered. She was defended by her crew most pertinaciously and by the iron cased steamer Monitor, and, after a conflict of several hours, the Monitor steamed off to Old Point, and the Virginia, from her draft, being unable to approach any nearer to the Minnesota, returned to Sewell's Point, and with the other steamers, returned at 2 o'clock P. M., to Norfolk welcomed by the grateful cheering of a whole population. The damage to the Virginia is not material. Her killed is but two, and five or six wounded. The Patrick Henry lost five men killed, four by scalding, from the passage of a shot through one of her hollers. The Jamestown and Teaser lost none that I hear of, and were not damaged. The Patrick Henry, with the exception mentioned, and come eight or nine balls which passed through the upper works, to as sound as before the action. Greater skill or greater courage was never exhibited by any dy of men than the officers, pi ts, and crews of our fleet. They have rendered eminent service to their country, and are panting to render more. They will be marked men in our history, and to have fought in this battle should be a passport for all time to the affections of their countrymen; for let it be remembered, that until the demonstration of the 8th of March, the Virginia was an experiment. I ought not to close this communication without a passing tribute of admiration and gratitude to the gallant Capt. Kevill, of the United Artillery of Norfolk, and a detachment of thirty of his most expert gunners, who gloriously shared the perils of the contest and the honors of these memorable days. A Spectator.
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