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[273] from the topmast above the waves. None of our men were captured, but many were drowned as the vessel went. We had about four hundred on board, and I suppose from one hundred and fifty to two hundred were killed during the engagement and drowned at the sinking. Lieut. George M. Morris was in command of the vessel, Capt. Radford being absent on the Roanoke at a court of inquiry. Very few of our men swam ashore, most of those who were rescued from the water being saved by small boats. The Merrimac seemed to be uninjured, although her small boats and flagstaff were shot away in the commencement of the action.

The Merrimac then turned to the Congress, which lay probably two hundred yards to the south of where the Cumberland was. The Merrimac came up under her stern, and her crew fired their pistols into the ports of the Congress as she approached. I saw her fire on the Congress. The sailors of that vessel say that the Merrimac struck her; but of this I am not sure. The Congress had a good crew of fifty men from the Cumberland, previously taken on board; fifty from the Minnesota, fifty of the Naval Brigade, fifty from the Roanoke, and some others. Lieut. Joseph Smith, who was in command, was killed by a shot. A great many of the Naval Brigade were also killed. The entire command seemed to have acted bravely during the engagement, which probably lasted not over a half an hour, when the white flag was run up. During that night, some sailors and men of the Congress re turned and set fire to her, and she blew up about twelve o'clock. Neither the shot of the Cumberland nor Congress appeared to have any effect on the Merrimac, bounding off harmlessly, with a loud ringing sound from the iron plates.

The engagement with the Minnesota resulted in the killing of four men on the latter vessel, which was aground. The Merrimac did not seem to like to go near her, perhaps on account of her large armament of heavy guns, but more probably because she was afraid also of getting aground, the water being quite shallow in that neighborhood. The Minnesota is not much injured. She was off, and steaming down about six o'clock Sunday night.

The Monitor came in Saturday night and proceeded up past the Minnesota. The rebel steamers Jamestown and Yorktown were not iron-plated, or at any rate, only partially so. They came down in the daylight, making for the Minnesota, but to their surprise found the Monitor ready to receive them. On Sunday morning the Monitor moved close up to the Merrimac, and, side by side, engaged her for four hours and twenty minutes. Once the Merrimac dashed her iron prow squarely against the Monitor, but did not injure that vessel in the least. The Monitor in turn determined to try her force in a similar operation, but in some unaccountable manner the wheel or other steering apparatus became entangled, it is said, and the Monitor rushed by, just missing her aim. Capt. Worden is confident that he put three shot through the hull of his antagonist — probably through the ports. The Monitor fired one hundred and seventy-eight pound cast-iron shot. The wrought-iron shot were not used, because their great weight and peculiar construction renders the guns much more liable to burst. The Merrimac fired about forty shots on the Monitor, which replied rapidly as possible, but, so far as it is known, neither vessel is damaged. Those on board the Monitor say the balls rattled and rang upon both vessels, and seemed to bound off harmless. The Merrimac is probably not injured, at least more than the starting of a plate or so of her iron covering, and her machinery being uninjured, she is probably fit to come out again. It is impossible to keep the Merrimac from coming out. She can sail three knots an hour faster than the Monitor. From her evolutions, I should judge she can go at the rate of eight or nine knots per hour. It is impossible to board the Merrimac. Should she come out again, she will be obliged to pass within range of the Union gun at the Rip Raps, and a shot from it might perhaps crush her sides, but it is very difficult to manage so heavy a piece of artillery, and the Union gun, in all probability, might be fired fifty times without touching her. I do not think the Merrimac is calculated to carry much coal, and that might have been a reason for her retiring from the contest. The Monitor perhaps might follow up the rebel steamers and disable them, but if she gets among the rebel batteries a heavy fire might be concentrated on her from different points, and she be thus injured, or possibly she might be grappled to and towed ashore. These and other reasons may suffice to show why the Monitor did not follow among the batteries of Craney Island and Norfolk. Gen. Wool, I understand, has ordered all the women and children away from Fortress Monroe, in anticipation of the Merrimac's reappearance.

During all Sunday morning, while the battle was raging between the two iron-clad vessels, the high cliffs at Newport News and vicinity were crowded with spectators, earnestly watching the progress of the fight.


Baltimore American account.

The Merrimac made her appearance, coming out from Elizabeth River about noon on Saturday. She stood directly across the roads toward Newport News. As soon as she was made out and her direction ascertained, the crews were beat to quarters on both the Cumberland and Congress, and preparations made for what was felt to be an almost hopeless fight, but the determination to make it as desperate as possible. The Merrimac kept straight on, making, according to the best estimates, about eight miles an hour. As she passed the mouth of Nansemond River, the Congress threw the first shot at her, which was immediately answered. The Merrimac passed the Congress, discharging a broadside at her, (one shell from which killed and disabled every man except one at gun No. Ten,) and kept on toward the Cumberland, which she approached at full speed, striking her on the port side near the bow,

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