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Late from the North.

We received last night a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer, of the 11th inst., which gives full accounts of the recent battle in Hampton Roads, as reported by the Federals.

Official Dispatch.

U. S. Steamer Roanore, Hampton Roads, March 9, 1862.
To Hon. Gidcon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
I have the honor to inform you that yesterday, at 1 o'clock, one of the look-out vessels reported by signal that the enemy was coming out. I immediately ordered the Minnesota to get under weigh, and as soon as the two tugs appointed to tow this ship came alongside -ripped our cable.

The Merrimac was soon discovered passing out by Sewell's Point, standing up toward Newport News, accompanied by several small gunboats. Every exertion was made by us to get all the speed on the Roanoke that the two tugs were capable of giving her, but in consequence of our bad steerage, we did not get ahead as rapidly as we desired to.

The Merrimac went up and immediately attacked the Congress and Cumberland, but particularly the latter ship, which was hid from us by the land. When about seven or eight miles from Fortress Monroe, the Minnesota grounded. We continued to stand in, and when we came in sight of the Cumberland we saw that she had careened over, apparently full of water. The enemy, who had been joined by two or three steamers from James river, now devoted themselves exclusively to the Congress; but she being aground, could bring but five guns to bear on them, and at ten minutes before four o'clock we had the mortification of seeing her haul down her flag.

I continued to stand on till we found ourselves in 8½ fathoms of water, and were on the ground astern. Finding that we could go no further, I ordered one of our tugs to tow us round, an as soon as the Roanoke's head was pointed down the boy, and I found the was a float again, I directed the tugs to go to the assistance of the Minnesota, under the hope that, with the two others which had accompanied her, they would be able to get her off. But up to the timed now write they have not succeeded in doing so.

At 5 o'clock the frigate St. Lawrence, in tow of, the Cambridge, passed us, and not long after she also grounded; but, by the aid of the Cambridge she has got a float again, and being unable to render any assistance to the Minnesota, came down the harbor.

In passing the batteries at Sewell's Point, both going and returning, the rebels opened their fire on us, which was returned from our pivot guns; but the range was too great for them, while the enemy's shot fell far beyond us. One shot went through our foresail, cutting away two of our shrouds, and several shells burst over and under the ship, scattering their fragments on the deck.

Between seven and eight o'clock we discovered the rebels had set fire to the Congress, and she continued to burn until one o'clock, when she blew up. This was a melancholy satisfaction to us, for as she had fallen into the hands of the enemy, it was far better to have her destroyed than that she should be employed against us at some future day.

It was the impression of some of my officers that the rebels hoisted the French flag. I heard that the monitor had arrived, and soon after Lieut. Comd'g Worden came on board, and I immediately ordered him to go up to the Minnesota, hoping that she would be able to keep off an attack on the Minnesota, till we had got her a float again.

This morning the Merrimac renewed the attack on the Minnesota, but she found, no doubt greatly to her surprise, a new opponent in the Monitor. The contest has been going on during the day between these two armed vessels, and most beautifully has the little monitor sustained herself, showing herself capable of great endurance. I have not received any official accounts of the loss of the Congress and Cumberland, but no doubt shall have them soon, when they will be transmitted to you.

I should do injustice to the Military Department did I not inform you that every assistance was freely tendered to us. They sent five of their tugs to the relief of the Minnesota, and offered all the aid in their power. It would also beg leave to say that Captain Poor, of the Ordnance Department, kindly volunteered to do duty temporarily a board his ship, from whom I received much assistance.

Your obedient servant,

John Marston,
Capt. in and Senior Officer.

Statement of an eye witness.

We had an interview last evening with one of the crew of the "Congress," who escaped being captured in the action with the "Merrimac" on Saturday last, by jumping overboard and swimming to Newport News. He states that about one o'clock on Saturday, the "Merrimac." followed by two other gunboats, was observed approaching Sewell's Point, passing close by the shore towards Craney Island. The crew of the "Congress" did not expect that she was about to attack them; but perceiving that such was the case, prepared to engage her. The "Merrimac" at once came directly between the "Congress" and the "Cumberland," when the latter vessel immediately opened fire on her.

The Rebel vessel went astern of the Cumberland and ran her bow into her, and then poured in a broadside, the Cumberland firing all the while. The Cumberland commenced to sink immediately on coming in collision with the Merrimac, and went down twenty minutes afterwards. The Merrimac then went towards Richmond, not yet having attacked the Congress. She soon returned with the Jorktown and Jamestown, and attacked the Congress. The latter vessel fired six or eight broadsides into her, but without effect.

The Merrimac came astern of the Congress, and fired a raking shot, killing nearly all the men who were at the guns, on the port side. The Rebel vessel then came around to the larboard side, when the Captain appeared and demanded a surrender, which was positively declined by the Captain of the Congress.

To this the "Merrimac" replied by firing a broadside, which killed Lieut. Joseph Smith, he being cut in two by a ball. The "Congress" was then surrendered. During the action, the two vessels were at times in contact. Our informant judges that about three hundred were killed on board the "Congress;" the rest with the exception of those who escaped, being taken prisoners. When he and some others reached the shore, by swimming, they were shelled by one of the rebel vessels, but escaped.

More men were drowned on the "Cumberland," by the sinking of the vessel, than were killed; she went down rapidly, and her crew, fighting to the last, were drawn under with her. She had six boats. The batteries at Newport News opened on the "Merrimac," but without effect.

About half-past 2 in the afternoon, the "Minnesota" left her anchorage opposite Fortress Monroe, to assist the "Congress." She reached a point opposite Newport News, and ran aground. She was within range of the Merrimac, but that vessel kept such a position that she could not be fired at without the Congress being endangered.

The Merrimac and the Minnesota were in action up to 5 o'clock in the afternoon. The Minnesota was also engaged with two other rebel vessels.

The Erricason arrived at Fortress Monroe about 11 o'clock on Saturday night, and received orders to proceed to the relief of the Minnesota.

She anchored all night at a point between the Minnesota and Newport News, out of sight of the rebel vessels, which were lying under the guns of the Sewell's Point battery. On Sunday morning the attack on the Minnesota was resumed, the rebels not being aware of the proximity of the Ericsson.

An engagement immediately took place between the Merrimac and the Ericsson, the latter vessel making the attack. The batteries at Sewell's Point opened upon the Ericsson. The fire of the Ericsson was repiled to steadily by the Merrimac. The latter vessel finally retreated up the river to a point opposite Craney Island where she was met by two other vessels, and towed towards Norfolk.

During the engagement the parapet at Fortress Monroe was crowded with spectators. The Union gun was twice fired at the "Merrimac," the shofs falling near the vessel, but doing her no damage. General Wool and his staff were on the parapet observing the action, and dispatches and signals were constantly being received between General Wool and General Mansfield at Newport News.

A tugboat, called the "Dragon," was sunk by the "Merrimac," a ball being fired through her boiler, which exploded, killing twenty men who were on board. She also sunk four schooners at Newport News. The fighting ceased about five o'clock on Sunday afternoon. The "Minnesota" had been removed from where she grounded, and was being towed to Fortress Monroe.

Latest from Fortress Monroe.

Captain Radford was engaged in a Court-Marital, and not on board the Cumberland, and is therefore safe. Lieut. J. B. Smith, son of Commodore Smith, was on board the Congress, and was killed. The loss in killed, drowned and missing is supposed to be about 100.

The Monitor was honored with salutes and cheers, both from the fort and the fleet, on her return. Everybody was enthusiastic in her praise for the good services she rendered yesterday.

The battle in Arkansas.

It appears by the following official dispatch that the Yankees claim a victory over the Confederate forces in Arkansas:

The army of the Southwest, under Gen. Curtis, after three day's hard fighting near Sugar Creek, Arkansas, has gained a most glorious victory over the combined forces of Van-Dorn, McCallech, Price, and McIntosh.

Our loss is estimated at one thousand killed and wounded. That of the enemy is still larger.

Guns, flags, provisions, &c., have been captured in large quantities.

Our cavalry are in pursuit of the flying enemy.

[Signed,] H. W. Halleck,
Major-General Commanding

St. Louis, March 10.
--The expedition sent out from Sedalla, by Brig-Gen. McKean, into Bates county, has just returned with 40 prisoners of war — recruits for Price's army — and a quantity of arms and ammunition.

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