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THE ROANOKE GOKS IN".
by the Rebel gunboats, and was battling them to the best of her ability, until, seting the fate of the Cumberland, she set her jib and topsail, and, with the assistance of the gunboat Zouave, ran aground not far from our batteries at Newport News, where she was soon again assailed by the Merrimac, which, taking position about 150 yards from her stern, raked her fore and aft with shell, wliile one of the smaller steamers from Norfolk kept up a fire on her starboard quarter; while the Patrick Ilenry and Thomas Jefferson—Rebel steamers from up the James-—likewise poured in their broadsides with precision and effect. The hapless Congress could only reply from her two stern guns, whereof one was soon dismounted and the other had its muzzle knocked off. Her commander, Lt. Joseph B. Smith, ActingMaster Thomas Moore, and Pilot William Rhodes, with nearly half her crew, having been killed or wounded, the ship on fire in several places, without a gun that could be brought to bear on her destroyers, Lt. Pendergrast, on whom the command had devolved, at 4:30 p. M. hauled down our flag. She was soon boarded by an officer from the Merrimac, who took her in charge, but left shortly afterward; when a small Rebel tug came alongside and demanded that her crew should get out of the ship, as her captors intended to burn her immediately. But our soldiers on shore, who had not surrendered, and who regarded the Congress as now a Rebel vessel, opened so brisk a fire upon her that the tug and her crew suddenly departed; when the Merrimac again opened on the luckless craft, though she had a
white flag flying to intimate her surrender. Having fired several shells into her, the Merrimac left her to engage the Minnesota, giving opportunity for her crew to escape to the shore in small boats, with their wounded. About dark, the Merrimac returned and poured hot shot into the deserted hulk, until she was set on fire and utterly destroyed, her guns going off as they became heated —a shell from one of them striking a sloop at anchor at Newport News, and blowing her up. At midnight, the fire had reached her magazines, containing five tuns of powder, and she blew up with a tremendous explosion Of her crew of 434 men, 218 answered to their names at rollcall at Newport News next morning.
Capt. John Marston, of the steamship Roanoke, whereof the machinery was disabled, being off Fortress Monroe, was in command of our fleet, when, at 1 p. M., one of his look-out vessels reported by signal that the enemy was coming. Signaling the steam-frigate Minnesota to get under way, and slipping his cable, he had the Roanoke taken in tow by two tugs, and started for the scene of action; but, before he reached it, he had the mortification of seeing the Minnesota hard aground. Continuing on his course, but unable to make tolerable headway, he came in sight of the Cumberland, only to find her virtually destroyed; having soon alter the further mortification of seeing the Congress haul down her flag. Continuing to stand on, he was soon himself aground astern, in 3£ fathoms, and was obliged to be hauled off by one of his tugs; when he decided to come to the relief of the stranded Minnesota, hoping with assistance to pull her off; but found himself unable to do so. Meantime, at 5 P. M., the frigate St. Lawrence, towed by the Cambridge, passed them, and soon also grounded, but was hauled off by the Cambridge, when she returned to the harbor of the fort.
The Minnesota, Capt. Van Brunt, having, in passing Sewell's Point, received and returned a fire from the Rebel battery, which crippled her mainmast, had approached within a mile and a half of Newport News, when i she grounded, with an ebbing tide, and was still hard at work trying to get off, when, at 4 p M., the Merrimac, Jamestown, and Patrick Henry, having finished their work at the News, bore down upon her. The shallowness of the water forbade the Merrimac to come within a mile of her, from which distance she fired for the next two or three hours, but once hulling the Minnesota by a shot through her bow. The Jamestown and the Patrick Henry, taking position on the port bow and stern of the Minnesota, where only her heavy pivot-gun could be brought to bear upon them, kept up a vigorous and effective fire on her, by which several of her crew were killed and wounded; but they finally desisted and retired, one of them apparently crippled. At 7 r. M., the Merrimac hauled off also, and all three steamed toward Norfolk, leaving the Minnesota deeply imbedded, by the fire of her broadside guns, in the mud-bank on which she rested; so that it was impossible, even at high tide, by the help of steam-tugs and hawsers, with all hand3 at work through the night, to haul her off.
The prospect for the coming day
was dark enough, until, at 10 p. M., the new iron-clad Monitor, 2 guns, Lt. John L. Worden, reached Fortress Monroe on her trial trip from New York, and was immediately dispatched to the aid of the Minnesota, reporting to Capt. Yan Brunt at 2 A. M.m Though but a pigmy beside the Merrimac, and an entire novelty for either land or water—" a cheese-box on a raft"—the previous day's sore experience of the might and invulnerability of iron-clads insured her a hearty welcome. Never had there been a more signal example of the value of a friend in need.
At 6 A. M., the Rebel flotilla reappeared, and the drums of the Minnesota beat to quarters. But the enemy ran past, as if heading for Fortress Monroe, and came around in the channel by which the Minnesota had reached her uncomfortable position. Again all hands were called to quarters, and the Minnesota, opening with her stern guns, signaled the Monitor to attack, when the undaunted little cheese-box steamed down upon the Rebel Apollyon and laid herself alongside, directly between the Minnesota and her assailant. Gun after gun from the Monitor, responded to with whole broadsides from the Merrimac, seemed to produce no more impression than a hailstorm on a mountain-cliff; until, tired of thus wasting their ammunition, they commenced maneuvering for the better position. In this, the Monitor, being lighter and far moro manageable than her foe, had decidedly the advantage; and the Merrimac, disgusted, renewed her attentions to the Minnesota, disregarding a broadside which would have sunk any unplated ship on the globe, and put a shell from her rifled bow-gun through the Minnesota's side, which tore four of her rooms into one and Bet her on fire; but the flames were promptly extinguished. The Merrimac'a next shot pierced the boiler of the tug-boat Dragon, which was made fast to the port side of the Minnesota, to be ready to assist in towing her off; killing or badly wounding 7 of her crew and setting her on fire. By this time, the Minnesota was raining iron upon her assailant; at least 50 solid shot from her great guns having struck the Rebel's side without apparent effect. Now the little Monitor again interposed between the larger combatants, compelling the Merrimac to change her position; in doing which she grounded; and again a broadside was poured upon her at close range from all the guns of the Minnesota that could be brought to bear. The Merrimac was soon afloat once more, and stood down the bay, chased by the Monitor; when suddenly the former turned and ran full speed into her pursuer, giving • her a tremendous shock, but inflicting no serions damage. The Rebel's prow grated over the deck of the Monitor; and was badly cut by it; so that she was not inclined to repeat the experiment. The Monitor soon afterward stood down the Roads toward Fortress Monroe; but the Merrimac and her tenders did not see fit to pursue her, nor even to renew the attack on the now exposed Minnesota; on the contrary, they gave up the fight, which they were destined never to renew, and steamed back to
TM Sunday, March 9.
FIGHT OF THE MERRIMAC AND MONITOR.
"A letter from Petersburg, March 10, to the Raleigh Standard, says: "The Merrimac lost her enormous iron beak in the plunge at tho Erics
Norfolk. The Minnesota, despite persistent efforts, was not fairly afloat until 2 o'clock next morning.
In this memorable fight, the turret of the Monitor was struck by Rebel bolts nine times, her side armor eight times, her deck thrice, and her pilothouse twice—the last being her only vulnerable point. One of these bolts struck her pilot-house squarely in front of the peep-hole through which Lt. Worden was watching his enemy, knocking off some cement into hi3 face with such force as utterly to blind him for some days, and permanently to destroy his left eye. Three men standing in the turret when it was struck were knocked down, one of them being Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers, who managed the revolving of the turret. The Merrimac had her prow twisted in her collision with the Monitor, her anchor and flag-sttiff shot away, her smokestack and steam-pipe riddled, 2 of her crew killed and 8 wounded, including her commander, Buchanan. The Patrick Henry was disabled by a shot through one of her boilers, by which 4 of her crew were killed and 3 wounded. The other Rebel gunboats reported an aggregate loss of only 6 men.
The Merrimac was undoubtedly disabled" in this t wo-days' conflict, or she would not have closed it as she did, or would have renewed it directly afterward.
Our total loss by this raid, beside the frigates Cumberland and Congress, with all their armament, tho tug Dragon, and the serious damage inflicted on the Minnesota, can hardly have fallen short of 400 men, includ
son, and damaged her machinery, and is leaking a little." It was probably this leak which constrained her to abandon tho fight as sho did.
ing 23 taken from the Congress and carried off by the gunboat Beaufort.
Gen. McClellan left Washington on the 1st of April, arriving next day at Fortress Monroe. Of his army, 58,000 men and 100 guns were there before him, andnearly as many more on the way. Gen. Wool's force, holding the Fortress, is not included in these numbers.
Gen. J. B. Magruder, at Yorktown, watched this ominous gathering in his front at the head of a Rebel force officially reported by him at 11,000 in all: 6,000 being required to garrison Gloucester Point, Yorktown, and Mulberry Island; leaving but 5,000 available for the defense of a line of 13 miles. Gen. McClellan says his information placed Magruder's command at 15,000 to 20,000 men, aside from Gen. Huger's force at Norfolk, estimated by him at 20,000. Feeling the importance of dealing decisively with Magruder before he could be reenforced by Johnston, McClellan ordered an ad
"Called by Gen. McClellan, Lee's Mill. "Pollard says:
"General Magruder, the hero of Bethel, and a commander who was capable of much greater achievements, was left to confront the growing forces on the Peninsula, which daily menaced him, with an army of 7 500 men, while the great bulk of the Confederate forces were still in motion in the neighborhood of the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, and ho had no assurance of reenforcements. The force of the enemy was ten times his own; they had commenced a daily cannonading upon his lines; and a council of general officers was convened, to consult whether the little army of 7,500 men should maintain its position in the face of tonfold odds, or retire before the enemy. The opinion of the council was unanimous lor the latter alternative, with the exception of one officer, who declared that every man should die in the intrenchments before the little army should fall back. 'By G—, it shall be sol' was the sudden exclamation of Gen. Magruder, in sympathy with the gallant suggestion. The resolution demonstrated a remarkable heroism and spirit Our little force was adroitly extended over a distance of several
vance on the morning of the 4th; and, before evening of the next day, Gen. Heintzelman, in front of Yorktown, and Gen. Keyes, before Winn's Mill," on the Warwick, were brought to a halt by the fire of Rebel batteries." Gen. McClellan had been misled with regard to the topography of the country as well as the number of his foes. On his map, the Warwick was traced as heading in or very near Skiff's creek, directly up the Peninsula from its mouth, some six or eight miles west of Yorktown; whereas it actually heads within a mile of that post, running diagonally and crookedly nearly across the Peninsula, while it was in good part navigable by Rebel gunboats. His false information regarding it was furnished, he states, by Gen. Wool's topographical engineers; though there must have been a hundred negroes about the Fortress, each of whom could and gladly would have corrected it. Our ships of war —what the Merrimac had left of them—were intently watching for
miles, reaching from Mulberry Island to Gloucester Point, a regiment being posted here and there, in every gap plainly open to observation, and on other portions of the line tho men being posted at long intervals, to give the appearance of numbers to the enemy. Had tho weakness of Gen. Magruder at thin timo been known to tho enemy, ho might have suffered the consequences of his devoted and self-sacriticing courage; but, as it was, he held his lines on the Peninsula until they were reenforced by the most considerable portion of Gen. Johnston's forces, and made the situation of a contest upon which the attention of the public was unanimously fixed as the most decisive of the war."
Col. Fremantle, of the British Coldstream Guards, in his "Throe Months in the Southern States," says:
"He [Magruder] told me the different dodges he resorted to to blind and deceive McClellan as to his strength; and he spoke of tho intense relief and amusement with which he at length saw that General, with his magnificent army, begin to break yround before miserable earthworks defended only by 8,000 men,"