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the knowledge of the General command- tion is given by the commander of the ing, will be punished with the extreme Confederate army." Neither side, it penalty of military law. Exceptions will be observed, positively denied the may undoubtedly occur, as we have allegations of the other. That atrocimurderers in all communities, but the ties, beyond the inevitable cruelties of employment of Indians involves a prob- war, were committed, there can be little ability of savage ferocity which is not doubt. That the probability of their regarded as an exception to the rule. commission would be vastly increased Bloody conflicts seem to inspire their by bringing Indians into battle, hardly ancient barbarities ; nor can we expect admits of question. Once begun, they civilized warfare from savage foes. If would be perpetuated on both sides, and any presumption has been raised in their arrested only by the strong hand of milfavor on the score of civilization, it has itary discipline and authority. certainly been demolished by the use of On the 11th of March, General Halthe tomahawk, war-club, and scalping- leck was assigned to the enlarged comknife at Pea Ridge." The letter of Gen- mand of the Department of the Missiseral Sigel, referred to, called the atten- sippi, including the recent departments tion of General Curtis to information of Kansas and Missouri, the Department which had been received of certain gun- of Ohio, and country west of a north ners having been surrounded and shot and south line drawn through Knoxville, dead by the rebels after their pieces of Tennessee, and east of the western bounartillery had been captured, although daries of the States of Missouri and Arseeking refuge behind their horses. kansas. This brought under his com“When such acts are committed,” he mand the armies of Buell and Grant, added, “it is very natural that our sol- gathering in Tennessee for the expulsion diers will seek revenge, if no satisfac- l of the Confederates from that State.
THE MERRIMAC AND MONITOR, MARCH 8TH AND 9TH, 1862.
WHILE the enemy were breaking up scene where it occurred, the novelty of at Manassas, preparatory to their gen- the contest, its striking conclusion, its eral leave-taking of the ground before immediate fatal results, and its lasting Washington which they had so long consequences as a new development of occupied, an event occurred in sight of warfare, the engagement will ever be Fortress Monroe, which fairly divided the ranked as one of the most extraordinary attention of the public with the exten- and interesting in naval annals. sive military operations on the Potomac The Merrimac will be remembered as and along the vast line of the enemy. one of the ill-fated vessels which was This was the sudden dash of the iron- scuttled in the harbor of Norfolk at the plated Merrimac, or, as she was now time of the destruction of the navy yard christened by her rebel owners, the Vir- and its abandonment to the insurgents ginia, upon the United States vessels upon the open breaking out of the rebelblockading the entrance to Norfolk and lion in Virginia. She was subsequently the mouth of the James river. In the raised and placed in the dry dock, and extent of the action which ensued, the efforts made to fit her with a formidable
armament and prepare her for sea. Her a grave in her ; Jones is less confident, hull was cut down and a bomb-proof coy- but says she is as good a place to die in ering of wrought-iron put over her main as a man could have. The objection to deck. Her bow and stern were sharp- her, and it is a serious one, is the fact ened and clad in steel, with a projecting that she is entirely dependent on her angle of iron to pierce any adversary machinery ; if that gets out of order she she might encounter. A letter-writer becomes a mere log in the water. But from Richmond to the New Orleans Cre- if that holds out, it is fair to expect that scent, furnishes us with an account of she will do some damage to the two these equipments when the vessel was Yankee frigates now lying off Newport completed, and exhibits something of the News before this week ends. Let us not spirit of her officers in carrying her into be too sanguine, but hope for the best. action. “As it is almost certain," he She may help to help us out of our great says, “that the Merrimac will either difficulty.” have proved a brilliant success or a mis- Various reports reached the North erable failure before this reaches you, it while these preparations were going on. will not be improper in me to give your At one time everything was expected readers a few facts in regard to her. In from the vessel ; then rumors came of a the first place, her engines are five hun- miscalculation in her reconstruction, by dred and ten horse power; and, in spite which the displacement of water renof her great weight, it is thought she dered her unfit for sailing ; then that the will make from twelve to fifteen miles an defect was remedied, that she was ready hour. She does not draw by a foot and for sea and would come out, attack the a half as much water as was expected. United States vessels at the station, and When afloat she presents to the enemy break up the blockade. Some newspaper only a roof above the water. All of her writers went so far, in their anxiety, as machinery is below the water line. Her to calculate the means of resistance at sides and roof are composed of oak hand, should she escape the blockade and twenty-eight inches thick, covered with suddenly make her appearance in New six inches of plate and railroad iron. York harbor. The officers at Newport She has an apparatus for throwing hot News and Fortress Monroe were well water on boarders. Her armament con- advised of her state of preparation. sists of ten guns only, all rifled. The General Wool had sent word to Washguns in her sides—four in number—are ington that she was ready to move, and 80-pounders. Those at the bow and the Government had responded by orderstern throw a 100-pound solid shot, or a ing the iron gunboat Monitor, just com120-pound shell, and these guns have pleted by the eminent inventor, Ericsson, three ports, which enable her to give a at New York, and the frigate St. Lawbroadside of six guns. She has furnaces rence to that station. for heating shot. Her crew consists of At length, on the 8th of March, a fine ten lieutenants and three hundred and sunshiny day at Hampton Roads, with fifty picked men, and among them are the water quite smooth, the Merrimac, the best gunners in the old navy. She shortly after mid-day, was seen, accomhas under water a wedge-shaped prow panied by two small gunboats—the of oak and iron thirty-three feet long. Beaufort, Lieutenant-Commanding ParkCommodore Buchanan commands her, er, and the Raleigh, Lieutenant-Comand the second in command is Catesby manding Alexander, each of one gunJones—both men of the highest order slowly working her way out of Elizabeth of courage. Buchanan has confidence river. She passed around Craney Island in her, and says he is going to glory or through the channel by Sewall'š Point, and stood toward Newport News. On the Cumberland by Lieutenant George her approach to this point she was joined M. Morris, in the absence of Captain by several armed steamers from James Wm. Radford, who was attending a court river—the Patrick Henry, Commander of inquiry on board the Roanoke. LieuTucker, of six guns, the Jamestown, tenant Morris, a native of Massachusetts Lieutenant-Commanding Barney, of two and citizen of New York, entered the guns, and the Teazer, Lieutenant-Com- service in 1846, and had received his manding Webb, of one gun.
present commission but a few months beThe appearance which the Virginia fore. His second in command, Lieutenant presented on coming in sight of the Thomas 0. Selfridge, Jr., a native and vessels on the lookout was that of a sub- citizen of Massachusetts, had been but merged house, with the roof only above ten years in the service. By the numerwater, surmounted by her short smoke- ous defections of the Southerners in the stack, and the rebel flag flying from a navy of older date, it was noted that staff. She steamed directly for the frig- these officers had risen in a year a hundate Congress and the sloop-of war Cum- red or more steps in the ladder of proberland, which were stationed off James motion. Their antagonist, the confederriver to guard the blockade and as a ate commander of the Merrimac, Flagprotection to the camp on the shore at Officer Franklin Buchanan, was a native Newport News. Both of these were of Maryland, who, after having seen sailing vessels, and had consequently no forty-five years' service in the navy of opportunity of manuvering in presence the United States, had, at the outbreak of so formidable an antagonist. The of the rebellion, abandoned his post as other vessels in the roads were some commandant of the Washington Navy. eight or nine miles off, at Fortress Mon- yard and accepted employment in the roe, and immediately on the appearance Rebel States. of the Merrimac had been signaled to As the Merrimac approached, she was the aid of the Congress and Cumberland. greeted, at a distance of about a mile, 1199 They were the flag-ship Roanoke, Captain with a discharge from the powerful pivot
cm Lonestam ine John Marston, the frigate Minnesota, Cap- guns of the Cumberland. Some of the
the honom some of the tain Van Brunt, and some half dozen shots struck, but evidently produced no gunboats, which were employed in towing effect. The iron-roofed monster came the frigates into position—the Minnesota steadily on-her ports closed till within not having full steam on at starting, and a hundred yards. She received full the Roanoke being disabled by a broken broadsides from her two antagonists, unshaft. While the latter were getting checked and apparently uninjured. The under way, the Merrimac was slowly stout defence upon which the gallant moving onward, as the iron-clad rebel sailors relied for the protection of their steamers Yorktown and Jamestown were ships had seemingly as little power of hastening to meet her from James river. annoyance as so many “peas from a The Congress and Cumberland were, pop-gun.” The balls from the monster meantime, prepared for action. The for- discharges of the Dahlgrens glanced on mer mounted fifty guns; the latter, twen- the mailed roof and bounded away. The ty-four of heavy calibre-eleven 9-inch Cumberland had thus fired five or six and 10-inch Dahlgrens on a side and two broadsides, when a single shot from the pivot-guns of the same make fore and Merrimac killed five of her men. The aft. The Congress was commanded by Merrimac then drew off and ran violentLieutenant Joseph B. Smith, a native of ly down upon her, striking her heavily the state of Maine, the son of a veteran on the port bow, knocking a hole in the of the service, Commodore Joseph Smith; side near the water-line as large as the
FATE OF THE CUMBERLAND.
head of a hogshead and driving the ves- ing overboard. Timely notice was given sel back upon her anchors with great and all the wounded who could walk force, while the water ran into her hold. were ordered out of the cock-pit ; but As the Merrimac retired, she discharged those of the wounded who had been carher guns at the sinking vessel, with dead- ried into the sick-bay and on the berthly effect. Still the powerful battery of deck were so mangled that it was imposthe Cumberland, sinking though she was, sible to save them. *** I can only kept steadily pouring its impotent fire say, in conclusion, that all did their duty, upon her assailant, who in her turn sent and we sank with the American flag her furious cannonade to add the agonies flying at the peak." * When the Cumof wounds to the fate of the drowning. berland went into action there were three To heighten, if possible, the scene of ter- hundred and seventy-six souls, officers ror, the vessel was set on fire in the for- and privates, on board ; of these one ward part. Still officers and men stood hundred and seventeen were known to be by their guns in the fast-settling ship, lost, about twenty-three were missing, surrounded by the wounded and the and the rest were saved. | The Chapdying. For three-quarters of an hour lain, the Reverend John L. Lanhart, who this was continued, till the water reached had seen fifteen years' service in the the ports, yet the Cumberland did not navy, was drowned. . surrender. As she sank, while her men. The courage with which the Cumberwere firing her last battery, her flag was land was fought to the last, her gallant still flying, and when the hull grounded, officers and crew preferring death to sur. fifty-four feet below the surface, the pen- render, secured the admiration alike of nant was still streaming at the topmast friend and foe. The simple story of her above the waves, and there it remained resistance and final destruction is the best long after the enemy had departed.* The eulogy of her defenders. Though sadly men, at the last extremity, saved them- perishing by brutal wounds inflicted by selves as they best could. Some, unable rebel officers, once sworn to her protecto reach the spar-deck, leapt from the tion, her history and fate will be proudly port-holes, others sought the boats and cherished among the most inspiring recspars in the water, and others ascended ords of our naval history. Well did her the rigging. None were captured, but officers and crew earn the grateful acnany were drowned before the small knowledgement awarded to them by the steamer sent from Newport News came Secretary of the Navy in behalf of the to their relief.
country. Addressing Lieutenant Morris, “At half past three o'clock,” says from the Navy Department, March 21st, Lieutenant Morris, in his report of the the Honorable Gideon Welles wrote, “In action, “the water had gained upon us, the calamitous assault of the armed notwithstanding the pumps were kept steamer Merrimac upon the sloop Cumactively employed, to a degree that, the berland and frigate Congress, on the 9th forward magazine being drowned, we had inst., which were comparatively helpless, to take powder from the after magazine the Department has had occasion to adfor the 10-inch gun. At thirty-five min-mire the courage and determination of utes past three the water had risen to the yourself and the officers and meń associmain-hatchway and the ship canted to ated with you, who, under the most disport, and we delivered a parting fire, astrous and appalling circumstances, each man trying to save himself by jump
| * Geo. M. Morris, Lieutenant and Executive Officer, to
Commander Wm. Radford, Newport News, Va., March 9, * Statement of Mr. A. B. Smith, pilot on board the Cum. 1862. berland at the time of the engagement.-The World, March List of Mr. Hugh Nott, Paymaster's Clerk of the Cum 11, 1862.
berland.--New York Herald, March 16, 1862
boldly fought your formidable assailant, The story of the equally ill-fated conexposed as you were to an opponent sort of the Cumberland, the Congress, secure in his armour while attacking the may be told in the official report of LieuCumberland. To your honor, and that tenant Pendergrast, who succeeded to of those associated with you, the guns the command on the fall of Lieutenant were coolly manned, loaded, and dis- Smith. That officer, in his report to charged while the vessel was in a sinking flag-officer Marston, states, that " when condition, and your good ship went down the Merrimac, with three small gunboats, with the flag at the gaff, and its brave was seen steaming down from Norfolk, defenders proved themselves worthy of and had approached near enough to disthe renown which has immortalized the cover her character, the ship was cleared American navy. The gallant service of for action. At ten minutes past two, the yourself and the brave men of the Cum- Merrimac opened with her bow gun with berland, on the occasion, is justly appre- grape, passing us on the starboard side ciated by a grateful country, and the at a distance of about three hundred Department, in behalf of the Govern- yards, receiving our broadside and givment, desires to thank you and them for ing one in return. After passing the the heroism displayed and the fidelity Congress she ran into and sunk the with which the flag was defended." Cumberland. The smaller vessels then
The gallant action was everywhere attacked us, killing and wounding many recorded with fervor, but nowhere with of our crew. Seeing the fate of the more taste and feeling than in a little Cumberland, we set the jib and topsail, poem entitled “The men of the Oum- and, with the assistance of the gunboat berland," written by the Rev. R. T. S. Zouave, ran the vessel ashore. At balfLowell :
past two the Merrimac took a position Cheer! cheer ! for our noble Yankee tars,
astern of us at a distance of about one That fought the ship Cumberland !
hundred and fifty yards, and raked us Not a sigh for these, with their maims and scars,
fore and aft with shells, while one of the Or their dead that lie off the strand ! Who whines of the ghastly gash and wound,
smaller steamers kept up a fire on our Or the horrible deaths of war?
starboard quarter. In the meantime the Where, where should a brave man's death be found ? | Patrick Henry and the Thomas JefferAnd what is a true heart for ?
son, rebel steamers, appeared from up Cheer! cheer! for these men! Ah! they knew when Was the time for true hearts to die!
the James river, firing with precision How their flag sank, apeak, will flush the brave cheek and doing us great damage. Our two While this earth shall hang in the sky!
stern guns were our only means of deIn the bubbling waves they fired their last, Where sputtered the burning wad :
fence. These were soon disabled, one And fast at their post, as their guns were fast, being dismounted and the other having Went a hundred and more before God.
its muzzle knocked away. The men Not a man of all but had stood to be shot,
were knocked away from them with (So the flag might fly,) or to drown; The sea saved some, for it came to their lot,
great rapidity and slaughter by the terAnd some with their ship went down.
rible fire of the enemy." Then cheer for these men ! they want not gold ; Lieutenant Pendergrast first learned
But give them their ship once more,
of the death of Lieutenant Smith at halfO'er their dead by that faithless shore.
past four o'clock. "The death happened Our sunken ship we'll yet weigh up,
ten minutes previous. Seeing that our And we'll raise our deep-drowned brave, Or we'll drain those Roads till a baby's cup
men were being killed without the prosMay puddle their last shoal wave.
pect of any relief from the Minnesota, And we'll tell in tale, and sing in song,
which vessel had run ashore in attemptHow the Cumberland was fought
ing to get up to us from Hampton Roads, By men who knew that all else was wrong But to die when a sailor ought.
not being able to get a single gun to