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vacuation was expected to be accomplished in two weeks. The citizens at first would not believe the reports of the intended abandonment of the department, but they were soon convinced of their truth. The work had been progressing several days when, on May 8th, an incident occurred that hastened matters and brought about results that were far-reaching in their importance. Captain James Byers, of the tug J. B. White, had been instructed to proceed to Sewell's Point early on the morning of the 8th, and tow to Norfolk a barge containing the most valuable gun at that place, an 1-inch Columbiad. He certainly made an early start, as the records show that he reached Old Point before eight o'clock. By this desertion General Wool learned that Norfolk was being evacuated, and shortly after 12 o'clock the same day a squadron, composed of the ironclads Monitor and Naugatuck, gunboats Seminole and Dakotah and sloops-of-war Susquehanna and San Jacinto commenced to bombard the batteries at Sewell
January 25th (search for this): chapter 1.35
er the Merrimac and the two other steamers headed for my ship, and I then felt to the fullest extent my condition. The language of Captain Van Brunt, although differently expressed, is in substance the same as that of Lieutenants Catesby Jones and Hunter Davidson—that the Monitor retired from the engagement before the Virginia did. The following items as to the anchor and beams of the first iron-clad, which revolutionized naval warfare, may be of interest to add: Norfolk, Va., January 25.—As the result of her mud hook getting afoul of something in Hampton Roads yesterday a fishing schooner was the innocent cause of the discovery of the lost anchor and chain of the Confederate armor clad Merrimac, or Virginia . The stock in the anchor is black walnut. Live Oak was generally used, but this material ran out during the war, and other kinds of wood had to be used. The stock is of two pieces, shaped in the centre to fit around the shank, between the shoulders, and the two
tem, and become an easy prey to the enemy, and in consideration also that the Monitor was drawn off and sought safety in shoal water and that the Minnesota was crippled beyond the hope of safety, induced you, by the advice of the lieutenants whom you consulted, to return to Norfolk. I still think, as I then thought, that it was the proper course for you to pursure, and that you had made the best fight of the two days engagement. From the other side. Lieutenant Greene, on March 12th, three days after the Sunday engagement between the ironclads, reported to Secretary Gideon Wells: Captain Worden then sent for me and told me to take charge of the vessel. We continued the action until 12:15 P. M., when the Merrimac retreated to Sewell's Point and we went to the Minnesota and remained by her until she was afloat. Evidently Lieutenant Greene, at the time this report was made, had been relieved of his command, as on page 92, in a report made to Secretary Wells by Captain John Mars
guns, one at bow and the other aft, and eight 9-inch Dahlgren guns, four on each side. Two of the latter were disabled March 8th, and they were replaced by two 6-inch rifled guns. The hopes that the Virginia inspired in the South and the fears tng in protection for eight of her ten guns. Second day's fight. Relative to the first day's engagement, that of March 8th, there has been no dispute, but on the second day, March 9th, the failure of Lieutenant Jones to destroy the Minnesota ng it alone. The Virginia on this last occasion was not accompanied by the small squadron that operated with her on the 8th and 9th of March, and on the 11th of April. She was alone, and had she been as vulnerable as Chief Engineer Stimer assertnant Catesby Jones to Captain Buchanan, is very brief. Captain Buchanan's report embraced the operations of both days, March 8th and 9th. It is dated Naval Hospital, March 27th, 1862, and was forwarded to Secretary Mallory, who turned it over to J
fight. Relative to the first day's engagement, that of March 8th, there has been no dispute, but on the second day, March 9th, the failure of Lieutenant Jones to destroy the Minnesota after the Monitor retired to shallow water, when Lieutenant, The Virginia on this last occasion was not accompanied by the small squadron that operated with her on the 8th and 9th of March, and on the 11th of April. She was alone, and had she been as vulnerable as Chief Engineer Stimer asserted, and as Asds, two sloops-of-war and two gun-boats to retire to shelter as they did. The report of the second day's engagement, March 9th, made by Lieutenant Catesby Jones to Captain Buchanan, is very brief. Captain Buchanan's report embraced the operations of both days, March 8th and 9th. It is dated Naval Hospital, March 27th, 1862, and was forwarded to Secretary Mallory, who turned it over to Jefferson Davis, and was by the latter submitted to the Confederate Congress on the 10th of April, 1862.
plit the stem, and become an easy prey to the enemy, and in consideration also that the Monitor was drawn off and sought safety in shoal water and that the Minnesota was crippled beyond the hope of safety, induced you, by the advice of the lieutenants whom you consulted, to return to Norfolk. I still think, as I then thought, that it was the proper course for you to pursure, and that you had made the best fight of the two days engagement. From the other side. Lieutenant Greene, on March 12th, three days after the Sunday engagement between the ironclads, reported to Secretary Gideon Wells: Captain Worden then sent for me and told me to take charge of the vessel. We continued the action until 12:15 P. M., when the Merrimac retreated to Sewell's Point and we went to the Minnesota and remained by her until she was afloat. Evidently Lieutenant Greene, at the time this report was made, had been relieved of his command, as on page 92, in a report made to Secretary Wells by Captain
claims were made for the Monitor, and later on that such claims were not founded upon fact. Chief Engineer Stimers, of the Monitor, in a letter to Commodore Joseph Smith, under date of March 17th, page 27, says: We fired nothing but solid cast-iron shot, and when we were directly abeam of her (Merrimac) and hit her our shot went right through her. Assistant Secretary of the Navy, G. V. Fox, in a telegram to Major-General George B. McClellan, at Fairfax Courthouse, dated Navy Department, March 13th, page 100, says: The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac, but she might be disabled in the next encounter. * * * The Monitor may, and I think will, destroy the Merrimac in the next fight, but this is hope, not certainty. Despite these expressions, which are about the strongest that are to be found in the volume of records, the claim is here made that— 1. The monitor on the 9th of March, 1862, was the first to retire from the engagement with the Virginia. 2. That the Mon
inia had met the Monitor in conflict and that the Minnesota had not been destroyed by the former, as was expected would be the case at the close of the engagement of the 8th, but it does not justify claims that cannot be sustained by the records. The student of these records will find that very extravagant claims were made for the Monitor, and later on that such claims were not founded upon fact. Chief Engineer Stimers, of the Monitor, in a letter to Commodore Joseph Smith, under date of March 17th, page 27, says: We fired nothing but solid cast-iron shot, and when we were directly abeam of her (Merrimac) and hit her our shot went right through her. Assistant Secretary of the Navy, G. V. Fox, in a telegram to Major-General George B. McClellan, at Fairfax Courthouse, dated Navy Department, March 13th, page 100, says: The Monitor is more than a match for the Merrimac, but she might be disabled in the next encounter. * * * The Monitor may, and I think will, destroy the Merrimac in t
rate gunboat Virginia, or Merrimac, the first iron-clad warship the world has ever known. The operations of General Burnside in North Carolina, in the rear of Norfolk, and the transfer of General McClellan's army from the neighborhood of Washington to the Virginia Peninsula, between the York and James rivers, in the spring of 1862, caused the Confederate authorities to determine to evacuate Norfolk and vicinity to prevent the capture of the 15,000 troops in that department. As early as March 26th the commandant of the navy-yard was confidentially informed of the intended action, and ordered to quietly prepare to send valuable machinery to the interior of North Carolina. The peremptory order of General Joseph E. Johnston for the abandonment of the navy-yard was communicated to Capt. S. S. Lee by Secretary Mallory, in a letter dated Richmond, May 3, 1862. The work of evacuation was expected to be accomplished in two weeks. The citizens at first would not believe the reports of the
e taken from under the guns of Fortress Monroe and towed to Norfolk. 3. That on the 8th of May, 1862, when the Monitor and five other vessels were bombarding Sewell's Point, just two days before the evacuation of Norfolk, the entire squadron retired to Old Point as soon as the Virginia made her appearance near Craney Island. Going it alone. The Virginia on this last occasion was not accompanied by the small squadron that operated with her on the 8th and 9th of March, and on the 11th of April. She was alone, and had she been as vulnerable as Chief Engineer Stimer asserted, and as Assistant Secretary Fox hoped, surely there was no need for two iron-clads, two sloops-of-war and two gun-boats to retire to shelter as they did. The report of the second day's engagement, March 9th, made by Lieutenant Catesby Jones to Captain Buchanan, is very brief. Captain Buchanan's report embraced the operations of both days, March 8th and 9th. It is dated Naval Hospital, March 27th, 1862,
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