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From the North.

[The following interesting statement of the great naval battle in Hampton Roads was prepared for Monday's paper, but unavoidably postponed until this morning. It was furnished to the New York World by A. B. Smith, pilot on board the Cumberland at the time of the battle, and is by far the most candid account that has yet been received from a Yankee source.]

The battle of Hampton Roads.

On Saturday morning the U. S. sloop-of war Cumberland laid off in the Roads at Newport News, about 800 yards from the shore, the Congress being 200 yards south of us. The morning was mild and pleasant, and the day opened without any note worthy incident. About 11 o'clock a dark looking object was descried coming around Craney Island, through Norfolk channel, and proceeding straight in our direction. It was instantly recognized as the Merrimac. We had been on the lookout for her for sometime, and were as well prepared then as we could have been at any other time, or as we have been during the last six months.

As she came ploughing through the water right on wards toward our port bow, she looked like a huge half submerged crocodile. Her sides seemed of solid front, except where the guns pointed from the narrow ports, and rose stintingly from the water like the roof of a house or the arched back of a tortoise. Probably the extreme, height of the apex from the water's edge, perpendicularly, was ten feet. At her prow, I could see the iron projecting straight forward, some what above the water's edge, and apparently a mass of from Small boats were along or fastened to her sides, and the Confederate flag blasted from one stag, while a pennant was fixed to another at the stern. There was a smokes stack or pipe near her middle, and she was probably a propeller, no side-wheels or machinery being visible. She is probably covered with railroad iron.

Getting ready for action.

Immediately on the appearing of the Morrimad the command was given to make ready for instant action. All hands were ordered to their places, and the Cumberland was sprung across the channel, so that her broadside would bear on the Merrimac. The armament we could bring to bear on the Merrimac was about eleven nine and ten-inch. Dahlgren guns and two pivot guns of the same make. The gunners were at their posts and we waited eagerly for her approach within range. She came up at the rate of four or five knots per hour.

Opening the battle.

When the Merrimac arrived within about a mile we opened on her with our pivot guns, and as soon as we could bear upon her, our whole broadside commenced. Still she came on the balls bouncing from her mailed sides like India rubber, apparently making not the least impression, except to out off her flagstaff, and thus bring down the Confederate colors. None of her crew ventured at that time on her outside to replace them, and she fought thenceforward with only her pennant flying. She appeared to obey her helm and be very readily handled, making all her movements and evolutions with apparent facility and readiness. We had probably fired six or eight broadsides when a shot was received from one of her guns which killed five of our marines.

It was impossible for our vessel to get out of her way, and the Merrimac soon crashed her iron horn or ram into the Cumberland just starboard the main choice; under the bluff of the port bow, knocking a hole in the side, near the water line, as large as the head of a hogs head, and driving the vessel back upon her anchors with great force. The water came rushing into the hold. The Merrimac then backed out and discharged her guns at us, the shot passing through the main bay and killing five sick men. The water was all the while rushing in the hole made by the ram, so that in five minutes it was up to the sick bay on the berth deck. In the meantime her broadsides swept our men away, killed and maimed, and also set our vessel on fire in the forward part. That fire was extinguished. I cannot tell how many were wounded. The sick bay, berth deck and gun desk were almost literally covered with men killed and wounded; but the surviving ones still fought well, and every one, officers and men, displayed the utmost heroism.

The fight lasted about three-fourths of an hour, the Cumberland firing rapidly and all the time, the water pouring in the hold, and by and by the ports, as her how kept sinking deeper and deeper. Near the middle of the fight, when the berth deck of the Cumberland had sunk below water, one of the crew of the Merrimac came out of a port to the outside of her iron-plated roof, and a ball from one of our guns instantly cut him in two. That was the last and only Confederate that ventured within sight, the rest remained in their safe, iron-walled enclosure. We fired constantly, and the Merrimac occasionally, but every shot told upon our Wooden vessel and brave crew. Her guns being without the least elevation, pointed straight at us along the surface of the water, and her nearness, she being much of the time within three hundred yards, made it an easy matter to send each ball to its exact mark. Probably her guns would be useless at a considerable distance, as it appears impossible to elevate them.

Finally, after about three-fourths of an hour of the most severe fighting, our vessel sunk, the Stars and Stripes still waving.--That flag was finally submerged but after the hull grounded on the sand, fifty four feet below the surface of the water, our pennant was still flying from the topmost above the waves. None of our men were captured, but many were drowned as the vessel went down. 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. Lieutenant George V. Manrice was in command of the vessel, Captain Radford being absent on the Roanoke, at a Court of Inquiry; and, though he hurried back to reach his vessel, he could not arrive till after she had sunk — 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 flag-staff were shot away in the commencement of the action.

Engagement with the Congress.

The Merrimac then turned her attention 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 Merrimack 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 Minnesotans, 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 half an hour, when the white flag was run up. During that night some sailors and men of the Congress returned and set fire to her, and she blow up about twelve o'clock. Neither the shot of the Cumberland or Congress appeared to have any effect on the Merrimac, bounding off harmlessly, with a load ringing sound from the iron plates.

How many killed on the Minnesota.

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 it juried. She was off, and steaming down about six o'clock Sunday night.

Fight between the Monitor and Merrimac.

The Monitor came in Saturday night, and proceeded up past the Minnesota. The Confederate 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 quarterly 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. Captain Worden is confident that he put three shot through the ball of his antagonist — probably through the ports.

The Monitor fired 178-pound cast iron shot. The wrought-iron shot were not used, because their great weight and peculiar construction render the guns much more liable to burst.--The Merrimac fired about forty shots on the Monitor, which replied unrapidly as possible, but so far as is known, neither vessel is damaged. Those on board on 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 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, but it is very difficult to man 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 of Newport News and vicinity were crowded with spectators, earnestly watching the progress of the fight.

War Gazette.

Executive Mansion, Washington, January 27th, 1862.
President's General War Order, No. 1.

Ordered, that the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces.

That especially,

The army at and about Fortress Monroe,

The army of the Potomac,

The army of Western Virginia.

The army near Munfordsville, Ky.,

The army and flotilla at Cairo,

And a naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready for a movement on that day.

That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given.

That the heads of departments, and capitally the Secretaries of War and of the Navy; with all their subordinates, and the General-in-Chief, with all other commanders, and subordinates of land and navel forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order.

Executive Mansion,Washington, March 2, 1862.

    President's General War order, no. 2.

  1. Ordered, I. That the Major-General commanding the army of the Potomac proceed forthwith to organize that part of said army, destined to enter upon active operations, (including the reserve, but excluding the troops to the left in the fortifications about Washington,) in four army corps, to be commanded according to seniority of rank, as follows:
    1st corps, to consist of four divisions; and to be commanded by Major-General I. McDowell. 2d corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General E. V. Sumner. 3d corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General S. P. Heintzelman. 4th corps, to consist of three divisions, and to be commanded by Brigadier-General E. L. Keyes.
  2. II. That the divisions now commanded by the officers above assigned to the commands of corps shall be embraced in and form a part of their respective corps.
  3. III. That forces left for the defence of Washington will be placed in command of Brigadier-General James Wadsworth, who shall also be Military Governor of the District of Columbia.
  4. IV. That this order be executed with such prompters and dispatch as not to delay the commencement of the operations already directed to be undertaken by the army of the Potomac.
  5. V. A Fifth army corps, to be commanded by Major-General N. P. Banks, will be formed from his own and Gen. Shields's, late General Lander's, division.

Executive Mansion,Washington, March 11, 1862.
President's War Order, No. 3.

Major-General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the army of the Potomac until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered further, That the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck and Hunter, together with so much of that under General Buel as lies west of a north and a north and south line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tenn, be consolidated and designated the Department of the Mississippi, and that until otherwise ordered, Major-General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered, also, That the country west of the Department of the Potomac, and east of the Department of the Mississippi, be a military department, to be called the Mountain Department, and that the same be commanded by Major-General Fremont.

That all the commanders of Departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them. Abraham Lincoln.

Another attack on Gen. M'Clellan.

The Washington correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune, of the 10th, is awfully server on McClellan. He says:

‘ "The grand army of the Potomac, after drilling and trimming, and parading and reviewing, for seven months, under its Major-General Commanding, goes down to Aquia, and up to Leesburg, and out to Manassas, and finds deserted mud banks and a score or so of spiked guns. So, much for 'strategy!' So much for the comprehensive 'plans' of George B. McClellan! So much for the terrible 'anaconda' which was to crush rebellion in its fold! How long the foe has been gone, nobody can conjecture. But for the fact that the President and the Secretary of War fairly drove him into a movement, on pain of wresting from him his bottom, it is doubtful whether McClellan would have discovered the absence of the enemy till midsummer."

Bloody fight in Mexico — the Texans Victorious.

The following is the Yankee version of the battle in New Mexico, heretofore alluded to, in which a decided success attended the Confederate arms:

St. Louis, March 13.
--The Republican has advices from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to February 23d, giving details of a recent battle at Fort Craig. The figat commenced on the morning of the 21st, between a portion of our troops, under Col. Roberts, and the enemy, across the Rio Grande, with varied success, until 2 o'clock, Col. Canby then crossed the river in force with a battery of six pieces, under Capt. McCray of the cavalry, but detailed in command of the battery — He had also a small battery of two howitzers. The enemy are supposed to have had eight pieces. The battle was commenced by the artillery and skirmishers, and soon became general. Towards evening most of the enemy's guns were alleged. They however, made a desperate charge on the Howitzer battery, but were repulsed with great loss.

Captain McCray's battery was defended by Captain Plumpton's company of United States infantry, and a portion of Colonel Pino's regiment of Mexican volunteers. The Texan rebels charged furiously and desperately with their picked men about six hundred strong. They were armed with carbines, revolvers, and long seven pound bowie-knives. After discharging their carbines at close distance, they drew their revolvers and reached the battery amid a storm of grape and cannister. The Mexicans of Pino's regiment now became panic stricken and ingloriously fled. Captain Plumpton and his infantry bravely stood their ground and fought nobly until more than one-half of the company were numbered with the dead. With his artillerymen cut down, and his supports reported killed, wounded and flying from the field, Captain McCray six down calmly and quietly on one of his guns, and with revolver in hand refused to fly or desert his flag. He thus fought to the last, and gloriously died like a hero, the last man by his guns.--The Texans suffered terribly in this charge. Many of our officers distinguished themselves. Major Donaldson, who was the chief aid of Colonel Canby, acted bravely, and was conspicuous in every part of the field. His horse was wounded, but the Major was not injured. Kit Carson, in command, of a regiment of volunteers, deployed as skirmishers, did good service during the action, and behaved well. We have to name the loss of Lieuts. Micellar and Stone, who, like Captain McCray, nobly and bravely maintained the honor of our flag to the last. Many other officers were wounded. Our loss is about two hundred killed and wounded; that of the enemy is bell eyed to be much greater.

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