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sides from the enemy with apparent indifference. She plied her shot with great assiduity, seeking to drive them through the port-holes of her gigantic enemy. This extraordinary encounter lasted some hours, presenting the strange spectacle of two vessels, thirty or forty yards apart, armed with the most destructive weapons of modern warfare, pounding away at each other, without being able to inflict material injury. The shots, any one of which would have been fatal to the best wooden ship afloat, rolled off from each combatant like dewdrops from a leaf. From that hour the naval history of the world The relative military strength of nations was dates a new era. changed. Navies, blockades, defences, and even commerce, as an element of naval strength, were henceforth to assume new characters and to change their relative importance. As the thunder of those guns rolled across the Atlantic, foreign powers at once perceived that the day of wooden vessels had passed away, and that iron-plated ships were to replace the enormous three-deckers that had previously been their bulwarks of defence on the sea.

The question of vulnerability being sufficiently tested, the Merrimac no longer fired upon the Monitor, but turned her attention to the Minnesota, which delivered without the slightest effect, though every shot hit, a broadside which would have sufficed to blow out of water the most formidable timber-built ship in the world. The Merrimac in return fired one shell from her rifled bow gun, which knocked four rooms into one, exploded some charges of powder, and set the ship on fire. The second went through the boiler of the gunboat Dragon, which was attempting to tow the ship off. The boiler exploded, blowing up the vessel, and killing and wounding six men. All the guns of the Minnesota were actively employed, together with those of the Monitor, and the gunner reported that sixty shot had struck and rolled harmlessly from the sides of the enemy, which now got aground through the ebb of tide. In this position she withstood the utmost efforts of the combined fire. Soon she got off and stood down the bay, followed by the Monitor. She suddenly turned, however, and ran full speed into her diminutive antagonist, inflicting no perceptible damage, and receiving from her a shot which penetrated the roof. The fierce conflict between the two was then renewed until the Monitor hauled off for the purpose of hoisting more shot into her turret. This was practically the termination of the fight, as the Merrimac retired soon after towards Craney Island, apparently in a disabled condition. Thus closed one of the most remarkable naval actions in the history of the world, when the amount of damage done is taken into consideration. Two frigates carrying seventy-two guns were destroyed; two others carrying ninety guns, and several gunboats were disabled, and a number of men were killed and wounded at the shore batteries. The loss in killed, wounded, and missing, was two hundred and sixty men. This havoc displayed the capabilities of an iron-clad steamer of ten guns; and the vessel of such capabilities was withstood for two hours by a much smaller one of two guns. Five times did the Merrimac attempt to ram the Monitor, but the low deck of the latter caused the iron prow of her assailant to run over

it, and did not, therefore, meet solid resistance. The tower of the Monitor was struck nine times. The vessel received in all twentytwo shot, one of which damaged the pilot-house, breaking a bar nine by twelve inches of the best wrought iron, and wounding Captain Worden. Three men were knocked down by the concussion of the shot against the aides of the turret. The uproar on board the Monitor was terrific; when the guns recciled, the noise of the massive pendulums, swinging by and closing the ports, reverberated throughout the vessel; the striking of shot against the sides and the turret, the awful noise of her own guns, the whizzing of shot over the decks, and the explosion of the enormous rifle-shells when they struck, made a terrible din.

The timely appearance of this steamer, in defence of the fleet, gave great cause of rejoicing. The consequences which might have fol lowed from the success of the Merrimac strongly impressed all military men. General McClellan telegraphed to have the defences of the cities of Long Island Sound and other places immediately looked to, and General Wool telegraphed that the timely appearance of the Monitor had saved Fortress Monroe. Daily expectations were entertained of her reappearance, but she had sustained damage in the collision with the Monitor and from the bursting of one of her guns, which required repair, and it was not until the 11th April that she again left port. On that day, at 7 A. M., she passed out of the Elizabeth River, accompanied by the Yorktown and Jamestown, and four other gunboats. When half way between Sewell's Point and Newport News, the fleet stopped, with the exception of the Yorktown and Jamestown and a tug: these continued their course, and taking · possession of two brigs and a schooner, towed them off without the slightest resistance being offered. The other vessels in the harbor made all sail to escape. The fleet remained stationary until four o'clock, when the Merrimac fired three shot, which were replied to by the Naugatuck and Octorara. Soon afterwards the fleet returned up the Elizabeth River. This exploit created much feeling in the North, since it was evident that if the enemy could come out and capture Union vessels under the guns of Fortress Monroe, without any resistance from our fleet, the great resources of the Army of the Peninsula were at his mercy. It began to be evident, however, that the Merrimac drew too much water to be very efficient in the waters around Fortress Monroe, where the other iron-clads began to assemble in strength, and by the close of April there were so many formidable vessels there concentrated with the object of engaging and running her down, that she became very wary in her movements.


Evacuation of Yorktown.-Retreat of the Enemy.-Pursuit.-Battle of Williamsburg. -West Point.-Advance of McClellan.-Fort Darling.-Repulse of the Gunboats.

Ax event now occurred which changed the current of interest, and which was fraught with the gravest consequences. The city of New Orleans was mainly defended by the formidable batteries of Fort Jackson, on the south side of the Mississippi River, and Fort St. Philip on the opposite side, by rafts laden with pitch and turpentine, and intended to be fired, and by chains across the river. It was deemed quite impossible for gunboats to pass; but on the 25th April, news was received that the Union gunboats had, on the previous day, forced their way up the river, and it became at once apparent to the rebels that the York River, although defended by the Yorktown and Gloucester batteries, was no longer safe. The Monitor, the new ironclad Galena, the Naugatuck, and other impervious vessels, could force the passage, and, as a consequence, Yorktown, how well soever it might be able to hold out against the land force, was no longer tenable. It was in fact turned. The Confederate generals, Davis, Lee, and Johnston, decided upon the evacuation, although General Magruder opposed it. The movement commenced May 1st, and continued through Friday and Saturday, under cover of a heavy cannonade, and the fact of the evacuation was disclosed only by some deserters who came into camp on Sunday morning, May 4th, when the following dispatches were sent to Washington:


"To Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

"We have the ramparts.

"We havn guns, ammunition, camp equipage, &c.

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"We hold the entire line of his works, which the engineers report as being very strong. "I have thrown all my cavalry and horse artillery in pursuit, supported by infantry.

"I move Franklin's Division, and as much more as I can transport by water, up to West Point to-day.

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No time shall be lost.

"The gunboats have gone up York River.

"I omitted to state that Gloucester is also in our possession.

"I shall push the enemy to the wall.

"GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General."

This dispatch was followed by two more of the same day :

May 4-11.30 A. M.

"To Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

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"An inspection just made shows that the rebels abandoned in their works at Yorktown, two three-inch rifled cannon, two four-and-a-half-inch rifled cannon, sixteen thirty.

two-pounders, six forty-two-pounders, nineteen eight-inch columbiads, four nine-inch Dahlgrens, one ten-inch columbiad, one ten-inch mortar, and one eight-inch siege howitzer, with carriages and implements complete, each piece supplied with seventysix rounds of ammunition. On the ramparts there are also four magazines, which have not yet been examined. This does not include the guns left at Gloucester Point, and their other works to our left. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General."


"To Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

"Our cavalry and horse artillery came up with the enemy's rear-guard in their intrenchments about two miles this side of Williamsburg.

"A brisk fight ensued. Just as my aide left, Smith's Division of infantry arrived on the ground, and I presume carried the works, though I have not yet heard.

"The enemy's rear is strong; but I have force enough up there to answer all purposes.

We have thus far taken seventy-one heavy guns, large amounts of tents, ammunition, &c.

"All along the lines their works prove to have been most formidable, and I am now fully satisfied of the correctness of the course I have pursued.

"The success is brilliant, and you may rest assured that its effects will be of the greatest importance.

There shall be no delay in following up the rebels.

"The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct, in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works, near wells and springs, and near flagstaffs, magazines, telegraph offices, in carpet-bags, barrels of flour, &c.

"We have not lost many men in this manner-some four or five killed, and perhaps a dozen wounded. I shall make the prisoners remove them at their own peril. "GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Major-General"

The Federal army had just been thirty days before Yorktown, which time the enemy had gained for the perfection of the defences of Richmond. It had also prolonged operations into the hot season, which to unacclimated persons is often fatal amidst the swamps of the Peninsula.

The pursuit of the enemy was at once commenced. Generals Heintzelman, Hooker, and Kearny, with their commands, preceded by artillery and cavalry, started in pursuit on the road to Williamsburg, hoping to overtake them before reaching that point. The swampy roads were, however, almost impassable, and the enemy's rear-guard availed itself of every favorable opportunity for a stand; at the same time the gunboat flotilla passed up the York River to overtake the enemy at West Point, at the junction of the Rapidan and Pamunkey Rivers. The division of General Franklin was already embarked, with a view to land in the enemy's rear. General McClellan remained at Yorktown to send forward these troops, who, it was hoped, might be able to perform the duty originally intended for McDowell. They had not been disembarked since their arrival. The iron-clad steamer Galena, with the Aroostook and Port Royal, passed up the James River, pressing the enemy on his left flank. General Heintzelman was charged with the pursuit on the Yorktown road. Casey and Couch, of Keyes's Corps, went forward by the road from Warwick Court-House.

General Stoneman's cavalry brigade came up with the enemy's rear-guard two miles and a half from Williamsburg, at the junction

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