Second Naval Battle

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“Second naval battle in Hampton Roads- fight between the Federal ironclad Monitor, of two guns, and the Confederate iron-plated steamers Merrimac, Yorktown, and Jamestown, carrying twenty-four guns, March 9th, 1862. But the gloom that had begun to settle on the fort was greatly dispelled when, toward midnight, an iron marine monster, unlike anything that had ever before been seen on the ocean, made its appearance off the forts. It proved to be the Ericsson iron floating battery of two guns, just from new York. The state of affairs was hastily explained to her commander, and she steamed off to the rescue of the deserted Minnesota. When day dawned the Confederate flotilla, flushed with the success of the previous day, bored down on what was supposed to be an easy prey. the Yorktown and Jamestown drawing least water (The Merrimac evidently afraid of grounding) were ahead, when their course was suddenly stopped by the strange craft, which seemed to have dropped from the clouds. They thought to overcome her easily, and opened fire confidently; but a few of the heavy shot of the Monitor, which battered through and through their iron sides, drove them back in panic behind the gigantic Merrimac, against which the Monitor advanced in turn. And then commenced the most extraordinary naval contest known to history- the first battle between ironclad steamers every fought, and one in which all the appliances of modern skill were brought in conflict. The fight lasted for nearly five hours, when the Yorktown and Jamestown fled up the James River, and the Merrimac, disabled, and in a sinking condition, retreated into Norfolk. The Minnesota, having grounded, was then got off, and the Mintor, a proud proof of the designer’s genius and skill, rode undisputed monarch of Hampton waters.” — Frank Leslie, 1896


Frank Leslie Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War (New York, NY: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1896)


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